Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Metal & Hardcore Albums

3. Triptykon
Melana Chasmata
(Century Media)

Triptykon have only existed for a few years, conceptually since 2008 and physically since their debut full-length, Eparistera Daimones, was released in 2010, but this project from Tom G. Warrior (aka Tom Gabriel Fischer) has always possessed more weight and gravity than its relatively short history would suggest, functioning as the spiritual successor to his longest-running project Celtic Frost and seminal extreme metal band Hellhammer. The weight of that history, experience and aesthetic mastery made Eparistera Daimones an exceptional debut, and now that the band has had time to cohere and solidify creatively, it's made sophomore effort Melana Chasmata something beautiful.

The lyrics are personal, even intimate, with Warrior giving over more of himself in the writing while also loosening his grip on the project, allowing more creative contributions from other members. There is something grand, almost baroque to the emotional landscape the record explores, which is illuminated exquisitely by sweetly darker numbers like "In The Sleep of Death" and blasted apart by the thunderous "Tree of Suffocating Souls." The combination of rich history, genuine emotion and absolutely massive compositions make Melana Chasmata a towering triumph. (Natalie Zina Walschots)