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I remember buying the Celtic Frost album ‘Into the Pandemonium’ back in 1987 and being mesmerised by all the differing styles at play. The world of extreme metal music seemed so different then. All a bit more naïve, and the boundaries were just in the infancy of being pushed. The track that really stood out for its sheer power and presence was ‘Rex Irae (Requiem)’. It felt so ominous and heavy and probably helped shape how metal was to have an ongoing relationship with bombastic classical music. Looking back, this track was quite raw, especially with how bands from Therion to Septicflesh have taken and developed this style. But with this performance piece being performed all these years later, I was heartened to hear none of the original rawness was dissipated. I think a lesser innovator than Tom G Warrior would have been tempted to change and tinker too much with the original flavour. But its power, grace and sheer ominous pleasure are just enhanced by Triptykon joining forces with the Metropole Orkest and Safa Heraghi.

Just hearing that track alone done this way would have been amazing, but with the completion of the full ‘Requiem’, this was a release to really look forward to. The final piece, ‘Winter’, was expected as it had originally appeared on the final Celtic Frost album ‘Monotheist’ and, as a full classical piece in its own right, always felt like a closing piece. But, for me, the most telling piece for the whole endeavour was always going to be the middle piece, ‘Grave Eternal’, as this is a wholly new. All 32 minutes and 28 seconds of it. This is where I feel the heart of what ‘Requiem’ brings to music is captured. The emotions are taut from the first beats of the drums, with the orchestra swaying around a hypnotic Triptykon beat. Soon, this breaks into an almost Pink Floyd solo from V Santura, leading into the vocals of Safa Heraghi, and when Tom’s voice comes in again, it just grasps you.

I know this sounds like there are a lot of conflicting styles but it just works. It really, really works! Although each individual track can stand up on its own merits, the ‘Requiem’ as a whole is just so damn powerful and full of emotion. I look forward to being able to watch through the full concert on DVD but I am so jealous of the audience at Roadburn who saw this live. I am sure Tom G Warrior and Triptykon will have many more interesting releases in the future for us, but this is certainly one of the finest hours in a long and illustrious career. This is music with power, presence and finesse.
Century Media
Review by Paul Sims
15th May 2020
1) Rex Irae - Chapter One: Overture
2) Grave Eternal - Chapter Two: Transition
3)Winter - Chapter Three: Finale
"...certainly one of the finest hours in a long and illustrious career. This is music with power, presence and finesse."