Celtic Frost Switzerland

A27 Non-Prog17
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Review by Mike published
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S Bleak Epic Prog Black Metal

"This is my favorite Celtic Frost album. I know that some will always prefer their classic releases, but Monotheist is so fresh and inspired from a songwriting perspective, combined with great production and musicianship. The perfect package, and quite eclectic and dark."

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A Progeny 5:02
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A Ground 3:55
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A Obscured 7:05
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S Ain Elohim 7:33
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Review by Time_Signature published
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A Non-Prog Metal/Black

"Just like "Morbid Tales", "Emperor's Return" is a pivotal album in relation to the development of both black metal and death metal (and certainly a major source of inspiration for the likes of Obituary). Indeed, the type of dark and primitive thrash metal on this album would later be considered a type of proto-black metal.

The opening track "Circle of Tyrants" is an all time classic, which combines heaviness with primitive thrash metal, while "Dethoned Emperor" (charmingly pronounced 'DEY-throned em-PEH-ror' throughout the song) is event heavier and doomier. Both tracks contain riffs which are very similar to the main riff of Obituaty's "The End Complete" (which is a great death metal track, by the way). "Morbid Tales" strikes me as being more inspired by traditional heavy metal, and sounds like a mix of heavy metal and punk music. "Visual Aggression" is an insanely fast (for its time) thrash metal song which contains elements from hardcore and early death metal. "Suicidal Winds" is also dirty and primitive, albeit more of a midtempo track.

As with "Morbid Tales", fans of death metal and black metal should check out "Emperor's Return" because of its major influence on black metal and death metal. I think that fans of crustpunk, hardcore punk, and crossover thrash might also like it.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

Review by Time_Signature published
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S Weird Ambient Exp Prog Doom/Soundscape

"The Journey of Celtic Frost has been a long and rugged one, going through very different lands. The band started out, back in the Hellhammer days and also at the "Morbid Tales"/"Emperor's Return" era, playing a sort of primitive and sloppy thrash metal which was very much one of the earliest incarnations of black metal. Then, on "To Mega Therion" and "Into the Pandemonium", they developed a dark and dirty type of avant-garde metal, making use of elements from all over the musical palette before going in a more traditionalist heavy/glam metal direction on the much despised "Cold Lake" before entering into thrash metal territory with the midpaced still thrashy "Vanity/Nemesis". And now they have reached the end of their journey (they are not likely to release an album again unless Tom G. returns to the band) on a very dark and depressive note, as they venture into the territory of doom and gothic metal, producing perhaps the ugliest [in a positive sense] swansong ever.

The music on "Monotheist" is unmistakably Celtic Frost: the dirty guitar sound is instantly recognized and the sense of darkness that has "haunted" the band since their first releases is still there. Most of the tracks are dark and heavy and doom-ladden, and many, such as the "Triptych" suite, also include amusical dark soundscapes. Some of the more upbeat tracks (if "upbeat" is even applicable here) like "Progeny", are slightly groovy, making use of riffage that reminds me of Sepultura's "Roots Bloody Roots". While not as slow as a lot of modern doom metal, "Monotheist" is just as bleak and hope-crushing, and I've even read a review somewhere describing it as scary, which is actually a quite good description. I mean just check out "A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh" and the "Triptych" tracks, for instance, and hear how dark and gloomy they are.

While not funeral doom or sludge doom, "Monotheist" displays the same sort of bleakness, and I think it will appeal to fans of doom metal along with long time Celtic Frost fans.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

Review by Time_Signature published
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A Non-Prog Thrash

"To those who hated "Cold Lake" (which means about 99,9999% of the population of the earth), "Vanity/Nemesis" was, if not a glorious return, then at least a decent return to form, as the style is more thrashy than on the aforementioned album. Certainly, it was my favorite Celtic Frost album while their previous releases were still sinking in into my head.

The style is mostly a midtempo type of thrashy metal with only very few avant-garde elements ("Wings of Solitude" may be the only kind of avant-ish track with its overlaid acoustic guitars and semi-whispered female vocals). "A Kiss or a Whisper" and "Wine in my Hand (Third from the Sun)" contain some fast parts. Production-wise, the album has a very crisp and polished sound, compared to all of the previous releases - including "Cold Lake", whose production is actually quite sloppy.

I think that fans of the slower 90s style of thrash metal (before Pantera injected the groove into it) might like this album

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

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A Vanity 4:25
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S Nemesis 7:48
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S Heroes Bonus 3:47
Review by Time_Signature published
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S Dark Prog Avant Metal

"One of the most influential, yet generally very underrated, avant-garde metal albums, "Into Pandemonium" is really something else. First off, it starts out with a cover track and contains a Motown-funk-meets-metal tracks in "I Won't Dance". Secondly, there is the proto-industrial metal track "One In Their Pride" which makes use of electronic drum beats and samples. Thirdly, there's the classical peace with spoken French language lyrics "Tristesses De La Lune". Fourthly, there are Tom Fischer's moaning vocals on the melancholic "Mesmerized", "Sorrows of the Moon" (given its name, there must be some conceptual connection between this track and "Tristesses De La Lune"), and "Caress Into Oblivion (Jade Serpent II)" and the use of percussion in the sections ("Caress Into Oblivion" eventually morphs into a more straight metal tune ... with some spacey effects though). Fifthly, there's the use of timpani, violin and female operatic vocals on the dark and doomy "Rex Irae (Reqiuem)" which also features Tom Fischer's more mournful vocals. "Oriental Masquerade" is stylistically similar, making use of a dark classical ensemble. There are also the more all out metal tracks like "Inner Sanctum", "Babylon Fell (Jade Serpent)" and "In the Chapel, In the Moonlight", "The Inevitable Factor" (which does feature some spacey effects, though).

This album is not for everyone. It took me a loooong time to be able to appreciate it, because its dark avant-garde nature was something I simply wasn't prepared for back then. But once, it gets under one's skin, it becomes obvious that "Into the Pandemonium" is an early avant-garde metal masterpiece.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

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S Mesmerized 3:24
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Review by Time_Signature published
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S Dark Prog-Adj Avant Metal

""To Mega Therion" starts out with the dark and heavy avant-garde instrumental "Innocence and Wrath" which also feature a dark Frensh horn section and a slave-galley style timpani, befire exploding into the dark midtempo thrasher "The Usurper". The doomy "Dawn of Meggido" is similar in athmosphere to "Innocence and Wrath", while "Eternal Summer" does not live up to its happiness-encouraging name, being an uptempo thrash-ish track. This album also contains a rerecording of "Circle of the Tyrants", now spiced up with special effects and female vocals - just to give it a slightly avant-garde touch."(Beyond the) North Winds" is a quite heavy track which also seems slightly inspored by more traditional heavy metal, while "Tainted Eyes" is more uptempo, featuring a wee bit of slap bass (well, pull bass, really). "Tears in a Prophet's" dream is an avant-garde instrumental, which perhaps qualifies more as soundscape than music. "Necromantical Screams" features eerie female operatic vocals and some strange sound effects. If "Into the Pandemonium" is the birth of avant-garde metal, then "To Mega Therion" constitutes the conceivement thereof. Its dark style may not be for everyone, but if you're into gothic metal and darker thrash metal and don't mind a bit of artifartiness, then I'd recommend that you give "To Mega Therion" a listen.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

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Review by Time_Signature published
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- Classic Non-Prog Black/Thrash

""Morbid Tales" offers the listener a type of old school thrash metal which would eventually be considered both a type of proto-black metal and proto-death metal (it is certainly very obvious where Obituary's main source of inspiration lies).

The production and performance are sloppy (but nowhere near Hellhammer sloppiness), which suits this type of raw and dark primitive thrash metal very well. "Into the Crypt of Rays" is a fast paced thrasher, while "Visions of Mortality" starts out at a slower pace, but picks up in tempo. "Procreation (of the Wicked)" contains some pretty heavy riffage, and there's an almost punky edge to "Return to the Eve" and the very fast and simple "Nocturnal Fear". "Danse Macabre" is weird and arty a sort of precursor to Celtic Frost's future avant-garde style.

"Morbid Tales" is an important heavy metal album and crucual in to the history of both death metal and thrash metal, so I think it should interest fans of those genres. Also, if you like dark and primitive thrash metal, "Morbid Tales" is the way to go.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)"

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- Massacra 2:50
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- Messiah 4:35
Review by Time_Signature published
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Cold Lake 1989
B Non-Prog Metal

""Cold Lake" is the album that everybody loves to hate (the band were so ashamed of it that they didn't reissue it, when they reissued their back catalogue in 1999). It is normally categorized as glam metal, and certainly, the pink cover, and even more so, the photographs of the band members - where they are styled in typical glam metal fashion - would suggest that "Cold Lake" is a run-of-the-mill glam metal release.

However, musically, "Cold Lake" is more of a dark heavy metal release, which even contains a number of thrashy elements. It is not a typically dark and experimental, but it's NOT Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Poison. Firstly, the music is too dark, and there are more musical references to traditional 80s heavy metal than glam metal. The main riff of "Cherry Orchards" even sounds a bit like like Metallica's "Search and Destroy" while "Little Velvet" reminds me of 80s Judas Priest. Even "Dance Sleazy" and the bonus track "Tease Me" with their glammy titles sound more like Motörhead than Crüe or Ratt.

I won't recommend this album to anyone, because everybody hates it. Well, I like it, and **** you if you hate me for liking it :-P"

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