Stills from “Shatter” video
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One under-appreciated side of Tom G. Warrior is his sense of visual aesthetics. Starting with his crude drawings for Hellhammer, his discography consistently shows a knack for the memorable. (See Celtic Frost’s discography visually here.) His catalogue has a few visual clunkers, like Parched with Thirst Am I and Dying and Apollyon Sun’s Sub, but I’d guess that those stemmed from outside control. Assuming that he approved the majority of the visuals in his catalogue, his eye is as sharp as his ear.
This is evident in the video below for Triptykon’s “Shatter”. It makes an interesting contrast with the previous video for his music, that for Celtic Frost’s “A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh”. That video feels organic, with swaying human forms and earthy paint caking the band members. It is also mostly white.
The video for “Shatter”, on the other hand, is mostly black and gray. (Warrior developed the concept; Philipp Hirsch, whose videography includes Amon Amarth and Samael, directed.) Its lines are clean, extremely and Germanly so. In fact, it reminds me of the Holocaust Tower in Berlin’s Jewish Museum. The Holocaust Tower is a bare room 24 meters high, lit only by a slit in the ceiling. (You can see a photo here.) It is meant to portray the loneliness of Holocaust victims cut off from the outside world. After experiencing the room, even thinking of it gives me chills.
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“Shatter” indeed portrays loneliness, that of rejection – in both directions vis-à-vis the “you” in the song. (See lyrics here.) The words seemingly refer to romantic love, but the video’s image of Warrior shrinking from a cross suggests otherwise. Perhaps the song is an inversion of the Christian pop convention in which seemingly romantic song lyrics actually refer to God. Another inversion is the song’s end, which refers to “a bottomless pit of pain”. The video avoids the obvious choice (black) and fades to white, as the song hangs on a deliciously unresolved minor third.
Another narrative in the video is the very existence of Warrior’s bandmates. Virtually all of the press surrounding Triptykon has focused on Warrior’s personal circumstances, and rightfully so. That he signed away his financial stake in Celtic Frost in order to escape the trauma he experienced in it – that is no small story. So until now, for me at least, his bandmates in Triptykon have been little more than promotional photos. In this video, they come to life and hold prominent positions. Judging from the myriad reports of Triptykon’s current US tour (see dates below), this is also the case in real life. I look forward to seeing that for myself.
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Triptykon – “Shatter” (official video)
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TRIPTYKON w/ 1349 & Yakuza
10/19 – The Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
10/21 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
10/22 – Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
10/23 – Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
10/24 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
10/25 – The Rock – Tucson, AZ
10/27 – The Marquee – Tulsa, OK
10/28 – Ridglea Theatre – Fort >Worth, TX
10/29 – Emo’s – Dalls, TX
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