CELTIC FROST — Morbid Tales

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CELTIC FROST - Morbid Tales cover
3.84 | 27 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 1984

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Into the Crypts of Rays (4:15)
2. Visions of Mortality (4:46)
3. Procreation (Of the Wicked) (3:59)
4. Return to the Eve (4:01)
5. Danse Macabre (3:43)
6. Nocturnal Fear (3:42)

Total Time: 24:26


- Tom Gabriel Fischer / guitars, vocals
- Martin Eric Ain / bass
- Stephen Priestly / drums

About this release

EP, Noise Records, 1984

The American version contains "Dethroned Emperor" and "Morbid Tales" as additional tracks.

Released with "Emperor's Return" in 1999 as "Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return" with the following tracklist:

1. Human (intro) (0:41)
2. Into the Crypts of Rays (3:39)
3. Visions of Mortality (4:49)
4. Dethroned Emperor ( 4:37)
5. Morbid Tales (3:29)
6. Procreation (Of the Wicked) (4:04)
7. Return to the Eve (4:07)
8. Danse Macabre (3:51)
9. Nocturnal Fear (3:36)
10. Circle of the Tyrants (4:27)
11. Visual Aggression (4:10)
12. Suicidal Winds (4:36)

Thanks to Time Signature, UMUR, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

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!
Celtic Frost are a real head-scratcher to categorise, because they arose at a time before the various subgenres of extreme metal became categorised and at points resembled more or less all the different varieties out there. Take their debut, which my gut tells me is mostly in the proto-death camp but could equally be regarded as proto-thrash or proto-black metal. Recorded mere months after the demise of Hellhammer, the material is clearly helped by the improved production values on offer, but whilst most of the songs are decent (aside from the irritating avant-garde dirge Danse Macabre) few stand out beyond the opening Into the Crypt of Rays. Overall there's a sense that the band were still feeling their way at this point; the best was very much still to come.
Time Signature
Visions of "metallity"...

Genre: thrash metal / (early) black metal

"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.

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