You have to get used to Celtic Frost, especially if you’re idea of metal is closer to Guns ‘n Roses or Motley Crew. CF’s brand of grinding, battering thrash was a revelation way back in ‘87. The guitars are super-distorted and the drums have a grumbling kinda washy reverb over them that makes these cuts sound like they were recorded in a castle on top of the Himalayas. Tom Warrior gargles most of the lyrics up from a cancerous sounding voicebox, every one of them unintelligible. But you know what? I LIKE it! There’s a dark feel to the whole thing…the guy who said turn off the lights and listen got the nail right on the head. Visions of the fall of some empire from the Bronze Age, impaled horsemen, Mongol hordes all come to mind. “The Usurper”, “Eternal Summer” and “Circle of the Tyrants” are all standouts. CF should get some kind of medal for their time changes and *tempo* changes alone, but their command of atmosphere is what makes this record a classic. For the uninitiated, give it a few spins before you decide. These songs paint terrible pictures, and the music is unforgettable.
Reissue of ’85 album. Remastered, with all the original artwork, lyrics and never-before-seen photos. Includes the previously unavailable remix of ’Jewel Throne’ and the bonus track ’Return To The Eve’ (1985 Studio Jam). 1999 release. Standard jewel case.
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This album ushered in the NEW, more cohesive Celtic Frost sound (circa 1985). Nearly gone are the fast, hard-core influenced songs like “Into the Crypts of Rays” and “Morbid Tales.” After the ‘Emperor’s Return’ recording sessions, the band briefly toured, lost their bass player Martin Ain, and headed back into the studio to record the DARKEST, most GOTHIC, EVIL, SLOW-PACED deat metal album ever put on wax. Every song on this disc is terrific. The sound is still ahead of it’s time, and it sounds like TG Warrior is playing 8 guitars at once. Mixed into the album are three tracks from the “Tragic Serenades” recording sessions (‘86), where Martin Ain joins back up with the band and they re-do a few of the songs.
The ONLY negative I can say about the CD is that Ain only plays bass on the ‘Tragic Serenades’ tracks: “The Usurper,” “Jewel Throne” and “Return to The Eve.” He is such an important part of the band–lyrically and musically. In fact, this is the only CF album I would advise buying that he doesn’t play on.
Highlights? ALL OF THEM! To point at a few stand outs though: “The Usurper” (they used to open with this song in concert back in the late 80’s…probably their best song), “Circle of the Tyrants” (another CF classic), “Eternal Summer,” “Necromantical Screams” (which made the set list on their current 06-07 tour) and of course “Jewel Throne.”
Taking the terror a step further, Frost has included a couple of chilling, evil instrumentals again, but also they are starting to incorporate string orchestra instruments, tympanies and female backing vocals, all of which are gothic influences, and all of which make the songs that much scarier. It’s not contrived, or “just for show,” like King Diamond. It’s very integral, and the lyrics prove they are intellegent and well researched. They take this all to a new level on their next album, “Into the Pandemonium,” which in my opinion is the best metal album of all time.
This is Celtic Frost’s second album. Released in 1986, this album was set with intrigue right from the beginning. Co-founder and bassist, Martin Eric Ain, was dismissed from the group two weeks prior to the recording of this album. Despite the fact that Ain had helped arrange most of the songs for this album, a replacement was found in Dominic Steiner. The band entered the studio in early 1986 and began recording this album. About half-way through the recording, Ain had been able to get his head together and patch things up with the other members. Ain finished the recording for this album. Did the distractions make this sophomore outing suffer? Here are my reviews of the songs based out of 5 *****:
“Innocence and Wrath” – A funeral dirge sounding instrumental opens this album and tells the listener right away that this album is going to take you to purgatory and back. French horn and gong crashes really help to set the mood.
“The Usurper” – Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s graveled “OOOOH!” punches the listener in the stomach as heavy double-bass drumming and thumping bass lines kick in this Slayer-esque tune. The tempo changes to a thrash style and ends with another “OOOOH!” from Warrior. Rating – ****
“Jewel Throne” – Chugging guitar and thick bass lines punctuated with Warrior’s gravel-throated vocals introduce a pounding/pummeling sludgefest. Tempo changes are incorporated throughout this song. Guitar solo reminds me of KK Downing with the heavy whammy-bar and distortion. fantastic lyrics help add the flavour of mysticism to the tune….”As I gaze from the jewel throne to the portal of infinity. Fallen have the ‘Chosen Ones’. Debris remains in the dust.” Tell me about it! Awesome song! Rating – *****
“Dawn Of Meggido” – Sabbath like fuzzbox guitar and a slow, pounding tempo intros this piece. The french horn is back helping to add color and tension. Multiple tempo changes throughout this song. “We’ll never be reborn. Prenatal death’s redeemed our lives. (Into his hand) we demand our hearts. The lord and we are one.” And so it is. Another tremendous song! Rating – *****
“Eternal Summer” – Galloping guitar and drum rolls propel this thrashed out tune into being. Superheavy double-bass kicking pounds your senses. The tempo slows to a quagmire like pace and slowly resumes it’s thrashy speed for the final few bars. Another song with mystical lyrics…”The Gods wince. Human pride and megalomania. The Titans watched it all. The trace led to nowhere. Wrath had to come.” Those bastards! GREAT TUNE! Rating – *****
“Circle Of The Tyrants” – This song also opens with Warrior pounding you in the gut…”OOOOH!” bellows out Warrior and a very heavy bass and double-bass drum thumping then whallops you in the head. The tempo changes to thrashed-out guitar during the vocals. Garbled, Satanic sounding effects and numerous drum rolls really flattens the listener into submssion. Another tune with thoughtful lyrics…”After the battle is over and the sands have drunken the blood. All that remains is the bitterness of delusion.” Ain’t that the truth. Will we EVER learn? Fantastic piece! Rating – *****
“(Beyond The) North Winds” – Fast and fat double-bass kicks and high-hat cymbal playing, along with a thumping bass is all you need to know. Great lyrics abound. Rating – ****
“Fainted Eyes” – Opens very fast! Uber bassing from Dominic Steiner (he hits his bass so hard it sounds like he is clanging a bell!) This piece feels like your in the middle of Tiger tank panzer steamroller! Makes Hulk want to SMASH! Again, multiple changes in the tempo and Warrior’s “OOOOOH!” shouts punctuate this piece. A true classic! Rating – *****
“Tears In A Prophet’s Dream” – Another spooky/eerie instrumental dotted with distorted cymbal, Bass and guitar effects. Background howls and feedback makes one feel like they’re in Satan’s torture room.
“Necromantical Screams” – Sabbath like intro gives way to high pitched female vocals giving this piece an etheral quality. French horns make their third appearance on this album, and they are accompanied with the Slayer “Reign In Blood” guitar intro/riff (I wonder who came up with this riff fist?) Once again, numerous tempo changes abound. Great song with interesting lyrics. Rating – *****
This album has the added bonus of being decorated with HR Geiger’s drawings! Sadly, this album was overshadowed by Slayer’s “Riegn In Blood” that was released the same year. This is a definite classic that helped to transcend the “metal” genre and spawn a new “Gothic” metal style. This is a GREAT piece of MUSIC that deserves to be in any serious music fan’s collection. Feed your soul. Get this album!
I consider Celtic Frost one of the biggest influences of the “Death Metal” scene period. They had more raw power, and more dreamy-evil than any band during it’s time. They were completely over the top with this release….A MUST!!There is not one single song on here that wont scare the **** out of you. That’s what kept me coming back to it, and eventually turned me into a Frost fan. They are so unpredictably cool. Talk about chilling!!!When I first heard this, I was a long-hair headbanger kid who loved bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest…..Frost was a complete change for me. I first had it on tape, and this tape was no ordinary tape….It called to me. This is some of the most possessive music ever made by anybody. I know, and love good “Death Metal”, but this is something from beyond the doors of the dark. It stands alone, along with Morbid Tales/Emperors Return, I consider them two of the most important releases in the history of “Death Metal”….Back in the mid-80’s, there was nothing even close to this when it comes to darkness. This is nothing short of genius.Even today, this is very enjoyable. My personal favorite DM band from the 80’s no doubt. Celtic Frost will unchain the wild beast that lurks inside of you, and all of us. Give it a shot, and if you don’t like it, just wait, it’ll be back in your head before you know it…..YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN FAIR WARNING.Frost Rules!!!!
True Metal. 100,000,000% metal. In many of my reviews concerning Metal albums, I usually save some space to trash the current so called “nu-metal” trend/travesty, but here, I won’t bother. You have only to listen to this disk and you’ll realize that this is INFINITELY cooler than any Limp Bizkit/Mudvayne/POD/Slipknot/Linkin Park cd you might own. The music can be described in one word. Apocalyptic. Yes, this is the music of Armageddon. Simultaneously Medieval and Futuristic. Barbaric and cruel, yet containing a sophisticated, poetic “artsy-ness”. Heavy beyond belief. And utterly DARK. I would definitely put Tom Warrior up there with Tony Iommi and others as one of the Great Riffmeisters. And his voice! Sure it’s a gruff bark, but I’ve never heard that vocal style used with such emotion and commanding authority. Like the booming voice of Thor as he thunders through the sky throwing his lightening and waging war with the frost giants. Not all the music on this album is fast and furious. About half of the time CF actually takes the music on a slower, plodding path, only to suddenly burst forth in a fury. They knew the value of creating atmosphere and feeling rather than pure speed. The lyrics are obviously influenced by horror/fantasy writers such as Lovecraft/Howard/Derleth etc… Listen to any Darkthrone or Obituary album to see how influential this band is. This album even pioneered symphonic Metal as well as black metal, with it’s use of horns and kettle drums. This seemed a bit odd at the time, but it completely enhanced the dark epic sound. So, if you consider yourself a True Metal fan, you simply cannot live without this cd. Nor can you live without their debut Morbid Tales, or the follow up to TMT, Into The Pandemonium.