Friday, August 1, 2014


Triumphator - Wings of Antichrist
Necropolis Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Infernal Divinity
2. Conquered Light
3. Heralds of Pestilence
4. Burn the Heart of the Earth
5. Crushed Revelation
6. Redeemer of Chaos
7. The Triumph of Satan
8. Goathorned Abomination

Following up the two song teaser from 1998 Triumphator release their first full-length in 1999.  I remember one of the main reasons I picked this up, aside boasting a member of Marduk was that it was also released on Necropolis Records, who had a pretty good track record of releasing solid Black Metal bands. Furthermore having this recorded in the Abyss Studios seals the deal that this is an album that must be heard.

This is sort of an odd release, in the sense that I like it, but I do understand why it got plowed under as a Marduk rip-off in a lot of respects. Triumphator definitely hits the marks for writing fast and crushing Black Metal and "Wings of Antichrist" comes of as being quite the unrelenting release in the grand scheme of things. While the guitar work is clearly influenced by the pages of Marduk, it is not entirely a direct rip-off either. The only reason this sounds just like "Panzer Division Marduk" is because of Fredrick Anderssons unrelenting drum performance. Even when the guitar work slows down in sections, he's still blasting away with that same tried and true pattern he's been playing since "Heaven Shall Burn..." I think "Wings of Antichrist" could have had a really different feel if the drum arrangements weren't so painfully Marduk, then I think the differences in the guitar lines would have stood out a lot more. The guitar riffs both try to hook you in and try to have some really chaotic elements behind them. You hear these little solo-ish flares cut through the music real fast then disappear to leave the rhythm section as the focus. This is something Marduk never really does. But the overall punishing attitude of the riff arrangements makes it hard to see beyond the comparison.

In looking through the liner notes it's interesting to see that despite the fact that Arioch plays guitar on this album, he actually only composed two of the songs. I imagine this is because he is very focused on his other project Funeral Mist, which is, frankly, markedly better than Triumphator.  These songs are really the only moments when we are exposed to an utterly dark atmosphere. Instead the vast majority of the album is composed by Tena, who is only credited with playing bass on the album. Arioch also contributed only one song of lyrics to this album, the rest are written by a veritable who's who of the Swedish Black Metal scene. Morgan of Marduk contributed a song, Mörk from Malign contributed a lot, Belfagor from Ofermod put pen to paper for this and Nattfursth of Sorhin contributed a song. That being said, Arioch delivers his, now, signature performance which no other vocalist has ever emulated as far as I know. I mean, not even close... very few vocalists out there have been able to evoke this level of power and terror through uttered and screamed words. The tonal quality behind is voice is just utterly chilling and this is what makes this album work well for me.

In the end, I imagine this album doesn't really stand up to overall Black Metal test of time. It serves as an interesting what-if scenario in the context of "what if Arioch sang for Marduk?", but that's about it. For me, I think this holds up over the years on sheer sentimental value alone. I remember sitting in awe of the vocal performance, which is really what made the album for me. At this time I hadn't heard Funeral Mist yet, so this was all I had from Arioch and that's probably one of the main reasons it stood out so much in my mind.

Triumphator - The Ultimate Sacrifice
Holycaust Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Redeemer of Chaos
2. Heralds of Pestilence

When I was in my later High School years, I was actually fairly in tune with what was going on in the Black Metal scene. When I heard members of Marduk were involved with the project Triumphator, I jumped at the chance to pick up everything I could find from them. Triumphator would would also introduce me to a Black Metal musician that would swiftly become one of the most influential musicians in my own career. Triumphator didn't really change the way I think about Black Metal music, but it was Arioch's other projects that really influenced me more. Triumphator was just my introduction to Arioch, which I am still thankful for. It turns out that Triumphator started out in 1996 and I'm sure that original one song demo tape is long lost to history. Perhaps one day I will find a copy, but since 1996 the project has been silent until 1999 when they released this EP. Prior to this it was released as a 7" from 1998.

The only member of Marduk Triumphator features if Frederik Andersson on drums and his involvement I think is what got this project labeled more as a Marduk clone. He has a very specific approach to blasting that just makes everything sound like Marduk, because it keeps us tuned into a specific type of beat in all the songs. Arioch and Tena's guitar work certainly fall in the typical approach of the late 90's. There weren't many bands out there really pushing the envelope and instead they fell back on just relentless tremelo picked power chords, which didn't generate much of an atmosphere. The real part of this Triumphator release that shines through is Arioch's vocals. I have really never heard such an immense and terrifying vocal approach. It truly is something to behold. However, with the seemingly traditional riffing it feels somewhat a wasted effort at times. However, I cannot fault the band for introducing me to new ideas vocally and that is why this deserves some recognition. It is in Funeral Mist that we would really see the music shine though...

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