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.