Celtic Frost basically invented metal. Period
Ok, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but it does hold a lot of truth. Having listened to this band over and over again, with each of there albums being a different and new experiment, it's funny to hear other bands make a living out of one style or sound that Celtic Frost. While listening to this album, I automatically could hear bands like My Dying Bride and Therion's sound coming into view. It's funny how small glimpses from this band where able to be the sounds that some bands would build careers on.
This album is a bit different to its predecessor, and thankfully is a lot different to what was to become of Celtic Frost (I don't even need to describe Cold Lake, it's critically and universally panned). After grabbing the attention of the metal underworld with the early Hellhammer demos, and the first album being a metal classic, Celtic Frost could have played it safe and wrote the “Ride The Lightening” that would follow the “Kill Em All”, but instead, Celtic Frost went even further than that. So far that it nearly destroyed the band. But luckily enough, metal audiences took to the band, which made the album a success and a metal classic.
Personally, I prefer To Mega Therion, mainly because it has some of my favourite Celtic Frost songs, but to be honest, everything bare Cold Lake in my opinion are metal classics, including this album.
The album, which has a lot of experimental moments, with the use of female vocals, orchestration, electronics, cheesy pop covers and a lot of stuff that will keep you interested throughout. There still is the odd jump back to the thrashier sounds on To Mega Therion, but the album does show a very different and more avante garde approach to Celtic Frost's music. Lyrically the album is a lot more poetic, taking some lyrics even from some poetry. The album, like To Mega Therion seems to be a concept album, with lyrical and musical themes coming up now and again. The vocal approach is also rather different, with Tom actually singing some bits, rather than having his traditional gruff vocals. Production wise, the album is a lot better sounding as well.
The version of the album that I have is the remastered version with bonus tracks. Usually bonus tracks don't do it for me, but on this one, there is some songs that I'm surprised didn't make the album. In fact, if these songs where in the album, this would probably be my favourite Celtic Frost album, so instead I will just say how much I love these bonus tracks.
1. Mexican Radio – An odd cover to do, but it is rather funny, and they put there own spin on it. I do prefer the Dean Martin cover a little bit more, but this is a rather good cover. Especially when you compare it to the original. 9/10
2. Mesmerized – The first ever Gothic doom song. There probably was more before this, but all I could think of in this song was “this sounds like My Dying Bride”. I like Tom's almost spoken word bits on the song as well. 8/10
3. Inner Sanctum – The first time I heard this song was on Grand Theft Auto 4, oddly enough. A harken back to there early sounds, with thrashy riffs, twists and turns. Tom also shows off some amazing guitar playing on this song. 8/10
4. Tristesses De La Lune – I'm guessing the band got bored, and wanted to write a song in French, and have it sung by a woman. A rather dark and sexy song. It's very weird, especially for a Celtic Frost song, but meh, it's enjoyable nonetheless. 8/10
5. Babylon Fell (Jade Serpent) – One of the songs with some of the most kick ass riffs. One of the best choruses on the album too. 8/10
6. Caress Into Oblivion – A long version of the song Mesmerized. One of Celtic Frosts better lyrical moments. Doomy, gloomy and metal as hell. 8/10
7. One In Their Pride – An electronic experiment inspired by space and stuff. It works...for some reason, but it does feel rather out of place. The remix found in the bonus tracks does have better sounds, but is a bit too long for me. 7/10
8. I Won't Dance (The Elder's Orient) – This is a very odd song. But it works so right. It's almost like Pop Thrash Metal. I would think this was almost an experiment that wouldn't work, but it so does. I love the use of female vocals on the song as well. 10/10
Bonus Tracks that I like:
Rex Irae (Requiem) – Why wasn't this song put on the album? This is probably the first ever symphonic metal song. It almost sounds like Therion just stole this sound, and made a living off of it. Very progressive in nature, it does sound very bombastic and over the top, but I think its one of there crowing achievements. 10/10
Oriental Masquerade – A short and bombastic instrumental. Very epic and a bit over the top. Its a bit too short as well, because its so kick ass. Shame its just and interlude though. 10/10
In The Chapel, In The Moonlight – How they took a Dean Martin song and made it metal, I'll never know. But they did, and its kick ass. Should have replaced Mexican Radio in my opinion. Even the title of the song is rather “metal”.
CONCLUSION: Not there best in my opinion, but definitely a crowning achievement. Celtic Frost are one of the most underlooked bands in metal. They get a good bit of attention, but they don't get enough. They are true pioneers, and even though this album is rather aged and the band have broken up, the influence of there greatness carries on. Long live the Frost!