A conversation with Tom G. Warrior on Triptykon’s ‘Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019)’

Posted by on May 15, 2020


Triptykon just released their live record, Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019), and we spoke with Triptykon and Celtic Frost main man Tom G. Warrior about the new release.

Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019)(46:00 min.) is composed of three chapters:
01) “Rex Irae” (06:34 min.) (First appeared on 1987’s “Into The Pandemonium” album by Celtic Frost)
02) “Grave Eternal” (32:28 min.) (Newly written middle part)
03) “Winter” (06:54 min.) (First appeared on 2006’s “Monotheist” album by Celtic Frost)



What is it about these three songs together that has so much meaning for you? What makes them so important?

I don’t really know really if there is anything about these three songs that has any extraordinary amount of meaning. If you look at the history of the world or at the process of the universe, in our tiny little horizon maybe they are somewhat important but I’m under no illusion really that my Requiem has any type of significance in the world at large or in the universe. This is a piece that we started in 1987 whereby Martin Eric Ain and Celtic Frost intended to finish one day. It took far, far longer, but now it’s finished. Martin has died and I continued to do it in his memory and I tried to do it as honest and authentically as humanly possible.

I’m very careful with words like “important.” I don’t view myself that serious as other protagonists do (in the scene)…It’s other people who have elevated our music, it’s not ourselves. We’ve been granted this and this is a huge privilege. We never thought we were anything special or that we knew something others didn’t know or that we had a secret recipe. As a matter of fact we were outcasts for a very long time and our music was ridiculed, brutally, when we started out. The only reason all these things (positive things) happened is because the audience granted us this chance and took a chance to buy our records. And that’s not any reason to let that go to your head. I remember very well how it was in our wet, mildew-y rehearsal bunker and I would still be there if it wasn’t for our audience listening to us. It’s important never to forget that. Now, there are people, unfortunately, I had to work with somebody like that last year – there are people who forget something like that – and it’s a very unpleasant thing.


The three songs are familiar but yet also new. Safa Heraghi’s vocals are really beautiful. How did this all come together?

Her (Safa) voice is really extraordinary and truly very emotional. It’s an emotional experience to hear her sing. Her true emotions within her singing are truly amazing. I first encountered her when she was doing some vocals for the German band Dark Fortress. When Dark Fortress played in my hometown I went to see them. Safa came on stage for this one song and it was an astonishing experience so I went backstage to talk to her. I asked her if she would be interested one day in collaborating with Triptykon. Happily she said yes. When the Requiem project started I asked her about doing the co-lead vocals on the record. She also got some songwriting credit. She had an active part in the some of the vocal lines. We were very fortunate.


How did you go about creating the new material in the song “Grave Eternal?”

The orchestra part was nothing new for me. I’ve been working with classical musicians since the first Celtic Frost album since 1984. I didn’t want to go the cliché path – sometimes when a band works with an orchestra and its such an expensive undertaking – a lot of bands are tempted to use them all the time because they are sitting there. But a piece with Requiem I didn’t want to have the orchestra playing for a full 45 minutes. I wanted to have a piece that has a lot of dynamics, a lot of changes – some extremely quiet parts – some quite powerful parts – lots of mountains and valleys.


You have a new record coming out, can you tell us what’s on tap for the future and what you’ll be working?

I don’t try to photocopy myself. Every new album I do is a very big personal involvement. I try to be very honest and pure in what we’re creating. I try to do something new for better or for worse. That’s what we’re trying to do now with the new album. As long as I’m alive and able to do albums that’s the approach I will pursue. To me, this is an enormous gift that I was once only able to dream about so I try and work accordingly. I really don’t like people who start to believe their own myth and lose their connection to the ground. It was very unfortunate that in one of my bands I had to work with somebody like that in my recent past. It’s a stark reminder that you should treat this gift that the fans give you with utmost care and utmost respect. It can end at any time and it’s something very special to create music. I simply try to do it justice

I definitely would like to finish it (the new Triptykon record) this year and I will do whatever I can to finish it this year. The album itself will come out next year. Once its finished we will likely release one or two new songs this year. This is going to be the last of the three albums, the triptych, that H.R. Giger and the band designed together and it’s the very last album in the musical history of this planet that Giger approved. He was very involved in it and approved it before his death. This is the very last record sleeve where Giger had a personal involvement. That is quite an honor and something I am trying to do justice with.


Requiem is out now and can be ordered here.


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