Celtic Frost - Four classic albums (Re-Issues)

July 3rd 2017
(CD Albums Review)


A touch of Frost

Morbid Tales ***** / To Mega Therion ***** / Into The Pandemonium *** / Vanity/Nemesis ****

Celtic Frost need no introduction. The band paved the way for Black Metal as we know today alongside Bathory, Mercyful Fate and Venom. They were also a massive influence on the early Death Metal releases as well as Doom and Gothic Metal for that matter. In other words these albums are bloody important.

With the Noise Records archive getting reissued a bit at a time, we saw some great reissues from Voivod earlier in the year as well as the first four Kreator albums last month. Now we are on to the first three and fifth albums from Celtic Frost. (Tom G Warrior is doing his best to erase the fourth album from history). 'Morbid Tales' as most people know it is actually the band’s first two EP’s 'Morbid Tales' and 'Emperor’s Return' combined. It’s a terrific album. 

It’s raw and dark and its influence on Black Metal bands and even bands like Goatwhore can be felt today. It just has that urgency and hunger and naivety that every great debut has. The band I feel hit their peak on 'To mega Theron'. Everything the band had done up to this point through their early incarnation as Hellhammer to the first album, with every step they chipped away and it all led to this masterpiece.

Everything the band had threatened had come together. It had everything from the H. R Giger artwork, the perfect production for the band’s sound and the band firing from all cylinder creatively. Tracks such as 'The Usurper' and 'Cycle of the Tyrants' are still played today by Triptykon. These two album’s just fit together. Like 'Iron Maiden' and 'Killers' or 'Ride the Lightening' to 'Master of Puppets' you can see how 'Morbid Tales' leads into 'To mega Therion'.

Next we have 'Into the Pandemonium' this is the album that divides opinion amongst Celtic Frost fans. Some consider it a masterpiece others hate it. Me personally I find the album a bit of a mess and too weird for its own good but the album has plenty of merit. The band branch out in a number of directions. I hate to say experimental but the band really were fearless with trying different things on this album. When it works it’s great but it’s just not consistent and it branches off in too many directions.

However, I do enjoy as part of the body of work that is Celtic Frost. It was a necessary album for the band to make and it has its place in the collection. Whatever your opinion on the album it’s essential to listen to it in order to have one! This is however the most interesting of the reissue’s. Tom G Warrior has expressed in the past about the track listing on this album and it is slightly adjusted here. It still opens with the 'Mexican Radio' cover mind.

'Vanity / Nemesis' see the band trying to recover damage caused by the album that should not be named. I think it was too late at that point but the album has aged really well. It’s the band a more straight forward Metal approach with a slight Goth edge. There is a great Sisters of Mercy on steroids feel to 'Wings of Solitude'. Manga fans will delight at the opening section of 'The Heart Beneath'. This is a great album and an overlooked one that’s well worth a revisit.

All in all it’s a double edged sword. On one hand music wise yes it’s remastered but in terms of extras, over the four albums there is a EP’s worth of tracks that are previously unreleased and they are mainly rehearsal tracks. However they are beautifully presented they are packaged in a casebook with tons of photos and Liner notes from Malcom Dome all designed by Tom G Warrior. If you are new to the band or don’t have the albums then without question or hesitation definitely pick these new versions up. However if you do already have them it questionable if it’s worth the reinvestment.

There is however for the diehard fans a two CD compilation that has also come out also called 'Innocence and Wrath' so you get the remastered sound, the notes, the photos and so forth. Whatever you decide to do it’s a great time to revisit these great albums. 'Morbid Tales' and 'To mega Therion' and essential Metal albums but all four are essential Celtic Frost albums and are the pillar to one of Metal’s most creative, pioneering and brave catalogues.

Review by Joe Denby 

Check Out! the Video for the single 'Wine in my Hand (Third from the Sun)' taken from 'Vanity Nemesis' Below...


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