One of the greatest losses to both the art world and the entertainment industry occurred last week when innovative Swiss artist H.R. Giger passed away at the age of 74. While principally known for creating the Alien creature in the 1979 film of the same name, the artist also was known as being one of the most prolific album cover creators of his generation. He created the artwork from the iconic Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery to metal band Celtic Frost’s underground classic To Mega Therion. Due to the overwhelming circumstance of Giger’s death, the ex-Celtic Frost mainman, Thomas Gabriel Warrior, has announced that his current band, Triptykon, has canceled their exclusive appearance at the Maryland Deathfest this Thursday.
Warrior for almost 30 years was not only one of Giger’s key collaborators, but he was one of the late artist’s best friend. As such, the Triptykon frontman posted a statement on his band’s Facebook page that he would have to bow out of the Maryland Deathfest. He is not bowing out only due to the loss of one of his best friends, who he calls his mentor, but because he is assisting Giger’s widow, Carmen, with funeral arrangements.
The relationship between Warrior and Giger started in 1985 when Celtic Frost released their iconic album To Mega Therion. Warrior was so impressed with the dark, satanic bend of the cover, he collaborated with him on several future projects including the first two Triptykon albums.
Giger, whose imagery was iconic and often melded horror and science fiction themes, was incredibly humble. As Warrior pointed out in his statement, he would often fight Giger due to the artist declining greater monetary compensation for his work. While Giger helped the musician, Warrior would give back by acting as an assistant to him and his wife for the past seven years.
In the statement Warrior said that it is unfortunate that Giger’s death happened so unexpectedly. Due to his great relationship with the late artist and that he is part of an integral group that was close to Giger, he could not let down the man he considered to be his mentor.
It was not an easy decision for the metal musician though. Warrior stated he did not like to cancel appearances. In fact, it still irks him to this day when he had to cancel three dates during his initial run with Celtic Frost in 1985 because his vocal chords were strained. As such, he has not canceled a single performance since — until now.
Another untimely aspect to the cancellation is that it is Triptykon’s first appearance in the U.S. since the tour cycle for their first album, Eparistera Daimones, in 2010. Furthermore, early this year Triptykon released their second album, the highly praised Melana Chasmata.
H.R. Giger completed over 20 album covers in 30 years. However, unlike many album artists, his pieces were typically not created specifically for an album. The late artist also put out approximately 20 books of his works. He also had his pieces exhibited in many museums throughout the world, including the Gruyères museum, which Giger opened in 1998. His contributions as a collaborator with the Alien movies also continued through the years, including 2012’s prequel Prometheus.
Thomas Gabriel Warrior and H.R. Giger can be described as two gothic peas in a pod. The surrealistic and disturbing images of the late artist worked seamlessly with the dark, complex and influential music of Celtic Frost and Triptykon. Unfortunately though, due to the untimely death of Giger, Warrior’s current band Triptykon have had to cancel their appearance at Maryland Deathfest. While Warrior and company may come back to the U.S., metal fans will have to wait for now.
By Simon Mounsey