CELTIC FROST — Morbid Tales (review)

CELTIC FROST — Morbid Tales album cover EP · 1984 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Several years ago I was thinking about where my musical preferences would take me next, and as nothing presented itself, I began considering buying some of the old albums I once owned on cassette in CD version. While Quiet Riot, Ratt, and Motley Crue left me thinking, “Nah,” I soon found myself excitedly checking out more extreme metal bands on Amazon. Celtic Frost’s “Morbid Tales” and “To Mega Therion” were top contenders in the shopping cart.

I used to love going to the local record shop and seeking out new metal releases. Heavy metal was rather popular in my city and the store had created a heavy metal corner, and releases on Banzai Records were sure to hold material worth snatching up. Thus it was that I found the septagram with five swords and a skull adorning the cover of “Morbid Tales”, an album that was soon home with me and in my cassette stereo.

Man, what a sound! Celtic Frost crossed the speed of thrash (or at least speed metal) with slow, heavy riffs, and a vocal style that was even more gravelly than Lemmy or Chronos. Thomas Gabriel Warrior had a voice that, in its efforts to follow in the bellowing roar of Motorhead and Venom, came across even deeper, more ominous, more forbidding, and more sinister.

My favourite song back in the day was “Procreation of the Wicked” for its positively heavy and doomy, sluggish, anvil-pounding pace; however, recently I have been enjoying “Nocturnal Fear” for Warrior’s diaphragm-forced “Oogh!” which actually gets revived in the throat of Mikael Akerfeldt on some Opeth songs. It seems, though, that the song with the most influence here must be “Dethroned Emperor” as I recently discovered on YouTube cover versions by at least 46 different bands!

It’s interesting now to look back 30 years and more and see how Celtic Frost could be so influential in the forth-coming black metal and death metal scenes. The music is a bit loose, the vocals off due to their brutishness, the solos unvarying high-speed wha-wah pedal assaults, and the double bass kick drumming not used to full capacity. But the album is just so good in all its brutal honesty. Celtic Frost were going to make their statement in metal and by all things dark and barbarous, they did it!
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