Celtic Frost
Morbid Tales


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew Buckley USER (16 Reviews)
August 17th, 2010 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: *constipated-sounding Tom Warrior grunt*

Review re-written from my material on www.globaldomination.se

Switzerland's Celtic Frost had but a brief period of glory back in the mid-80’s (not counting their ’06 comeback Monotheist), ultimately crashing-and-burning with the hair metal trappings of 1988’s disastrous Cold Lake, but still managing to leave behind a big footprint on the metal world (specifically, the black metal world) nonetheless. Morbid Tales, their debut, was released just a month after the band came into being, but still shows a group very much accomplished within their own unique sound, and would provide a dark, daring new vision for the future of heavy metal as well…

Intro track “Human” lets you know right away that Frost isn’t just another run-of-the-mill metal band, since, instead of starting off with proper “music”, the track is instead nothing more than forty seconds of uninterrupted, demonic screaming, setting up a uniquely dark atmosphere for the album. When “Human” ends, there's an immediate transition to the speedy “Into Crypts Of Rays”, a track that familiarizes us with Frost’s musical conventions on Tales; the rhythm guitar tone is raw and muddy, the drumming is endlessly energetic, and sounds wonderful with its emphatic "thudding", the lead solos are some of the most hyperactively twitchy you’ll hear in your life (and is one of the most memorable aspects of Tales), and vocalist Tom Warrior sticks with a gruff, grunting style pretty much every time he opens his mouth. Overall, “Rays” is a great slice of thrash metal/proto-black metal, with a bit of sludge and doom metal thrown in for good measure, and it is this sub-genre cocktail that Frost will be using in various quantities for the remainder of Tales.

From there, “Visions Of Mortality”, “Nocturnal Fear”, “Visual Aggression”, and others continue to deliver the primal, unrelenting punch that “Crypts” started, while still maintaining a nice balance between a sluggish, sludge metal tempo, and a raw thrash metal speed. But despite the overall rough sound of Tales, there remains an underlying sophistication about it, with Frost writing some damn intelligent, logical song compositions, and also giving every instrument its own place within the scheme of things, even the bass (which could’ve easily been lost under the sea of aggression going on here).

And I better not neglect to mention the experimental edge Frost shows off here either, even if it isn’t as prominent as it would become on later releases. Along with the surprising “Human”, there's the demonic. spoken-word interlude on “Procreation (Of The Wicked)”, the eerie female vocalist cameo (courtesy of Hertha Ohling) on “Return To The Eve”, and most memorably, the hellish instrumental “Danse Macabre”, which I would be doing a dishonor to if I tried to describe it with mere words. I’ll just say that “Macabre” is one of the few songs to ever have truly scared me as I listened to it, and leave it at that.

So overall, the raw aggression, dark atmosphere, and rough vocal work of “Morbid Tales” (not to mention Celtic Frost’s half-assed corpse paint jobs) would go on to influence an entire generation of black metal in the 90’s. Not counting the crappy original version of “Circle Of The Tyrants” (taken from 1985’s Emperor’s Return EP and put on the re-release of Tales, along with two other, much better tracks), every song here has something to offer, and is a worthwhile listen. I do admit, the heaviness of “Tales” can become a bit tiresome if you’re listening to it all the way through, so the record isn’t an everyday listen for me, but regardless, “Morbid Tales” is still a pretty ambitious, well-formed debut album, and a very important one in the history of metal as well. Check it out.



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user ratings (402)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Countorus (5)
are you morbid?...

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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
kount
August 17th 2010


1279 Comments


5 or die

FadeToBlack
August 17th 2010


10926 Comments


are you morbid?

Counterfeit
August 17th 2010


17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this needed a review.

maidenpmccc
August 17th 2010


89 Comments


the real count reviewed it last year dumby

Eclectic
August 17th 2010


3302 Comments


Never got into this all that much, should probably try again sometime soon.

Smalley
August 17th 2010


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"this needed a review."
Thanks.
"the real count reviewed it last year dumby"
Well, it's not here anymore...

Terrifyer
August 17th 2010


3403 Comments


its on the Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return page. I asked the mods to merge the pages, but itt they're too lazy

sorry no offense to you. this is a good review

Smalley
August 17th 2010


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^Thank you.

eggsvonsatan
August 18th 2010


1087 Comments


How the fuck has this never been reviewed. Thanks!
I don't listen to this much just because I almost always blast To Mega Theion, but its still a fun spin.

eggsvonsatan
August 18th 2010


1087 Comments


Now that i say that, it looks like To Mega Therion could use a better review.

Smalley
August 18th 2010


108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're welcome eggs. And I'll see if I can finish a TMT review tomorrow some time...

pissbore
February 8th 2013


9935 Comments


bump in honor of black metal history month

NeroCorleone80
January 28th 2014


29089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best ever summary

NeroCorleone80
April 10th 2014


29089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[2]

FearTomorrow
April 10th 2014


1828 Comments


OOOooooo



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