Celtic Frost
Monotheist


2.5
average

Review

by RYMsfullofscenesters USER (5 Reviews)
October 21st, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Monotonist

Monotheist is pretty tedious and misguided, but I'm not gonna piss on it as much as I could, because it's at least brave. Celtic Frost are one of the few bands I would have given a pass for resting on their laurels at this point in their career, because they're one of the few bands who embody a virtually "lost" sound. See, if you told a metal neophyte the truth of the matter that Hellhammer/Celtic Frost were a groundbreaking force that helped set the rules for extreme metal in its infancy, you could hardly blame 'em for not really hearing it, because by the late 90s there was barely a molecule left of Tom and co's direct influence in death or black metal; their immediate disciples like Darkthrone were ultimately most influential in ways that had nothing to do with the crusty classic-metal-takes-a-dump sound they expanded on. After the genres' expiration dates death metal became rigid mathematical junk, black metal became saccharine drone music, and Celtic Frost were left somewhere in the middle, neither having much to do with that, or what your mom imagines when she hears the word metal.

So after decades of not having released anything halfway decent, they could've done a modern retread of Morbid Tales, and people would be satisfied because a unique band returned to a unique sound they're at home with. Instead, they attempted to modernize their churlish dinosaur-like 80s sound in a way that's not quite an abandonment, but makes more sense in the context of a new wave of angsty "pissed off" bands while beating many of them at their own game. It's almost like Celtic Frost took cues from nu-metal, and their immune system protected them from nu-metal's ***tiness virus because they're one of the bands nu-metal got their downtuned groove from in the first place. When they work in electronic elements they're way more tasteful than a metal band has any right to be, and lilting goth rock moodiness abounds. That's normally a red flag indicating commercial pandering in metal, but remember CF had goth elements from the start--Christian Death were a huge influence on their unorthodox atonal riff constructions, for example. So again, this is one of those weird cases where they "payed their dues" and are kinda allowed to mope around the batcave. All that stuff works out quite well.

The problem is in the big picture of things, the way they modernized here ALREADY sounds more dated than their 80s stuff. Fart-sniffing mystical, literate lyrics can't compensate for a mood that's monotonously, straightforwardly dour. Their riffage always had this kinda clumsy bottom end swing to it, but in Monotheist they use it in a more physically oriented jockish way that's both unevocative, and awkward/ineffective as body music. This is why kids these days are so confused when they hear Tom's borderline happy gravelly pseudo-singing in the old stuff; it wasn't one-note screamy catharsis, he was something between a caricature of a biker metal frontman and narrator, and his glibness let you draw your own conclusions in the band's primitive but emotionally ambiguous designs. Of course, in every song on Monotheist he sounds like someone pissed on his hash browns. Grrr! It's pretty representational of the difference between oldschool and modern death/black metal in general: one is a playground for the mind, the other regurgitates convenient liberal truths and tells you how you "should" feel.

It's important to note that Thomas Gabriel Fischer isn't quite the same person as Tom G. Warrior. If you're wondering what Mr. Warrior's up to, forget it, he hasn't done anything since Morbid Tales (something that Mr. Fischer seems to dismiss as amateurish noise). It's admirable to be forward-looking, but if you can't admit as a person or an artist that your present is attached to your past as well as your future, then you're not totally connected to yourself. So, what we have with Monotheist is something that's aesthetically classy, but in some fundamental way just misses the point. It's far from a disgrace, and probably one of the better "comebacks" in metal, but that doesn't say much.


user ratings (322)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
metalheadpiyush (4.5)
monothiest is certainly one of the darkest and heaviest album ever period.............

Dethtrasher (3)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Riviere
October 21st 2013


697 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"the way they modernized here ALREADY sounds more dated than their 80s stuff"

Couldn't disagree more, their 80's stuff is great but I can tell it's from that time period. This
sounds like it could have been made yesterday. I didn't hear any nu-metal influence either, nu-metal
was never this heavy or dismal.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2013


6151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellently written, pos, but I disagree with your arguments and rating.

Just because they didn't revisit/revamp their '80s sound, doesn't make this album is mediocre.

They were on tour with Kreator as a support band for Monotheist and by the time CF ended their set, the concert was practically over as well. They were that good.

Digging: Sumerlands - The Guardian (demo)

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 21st 2013


5643 Comments


m/


Wizard
October 21st 2013


19448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When they work in electronic elements they're way more tasteful than a metal band has any right to be, and lilting goth rock moodiness abounds.

Remember Into The Pandemonium? Goth has always been a part of Celtic Frost's sound.

However, major props for reviewing this even though I don't exactly agree with your elitist ways ; ). There isn't a smidge of nu-metal on here either. It's more down-tuned death/doom than anything else.

Other than that, glad to have another Celtic Frost fan on this site. The kids around here don't appreciate this band as much as they should.

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

neikos
October 21st 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man, how old are you? Really? This album was a milestone for a whole decade. I just can't number how many bands have been influenced from this album. Their sound was a breakthrough.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
October 21st 2013


13276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow what a dumb review

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2013


1881 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well written review, but I can't agree with the points made. I mean, you say this sounds more dated than their 80s stuff. That could not be further from the truth. Although they do have a modern take on the type of brooding, doomy sound that many bands use nowadays, I solely believe Celtic Frost used their sound and constructed a more progressive side to their style. It's obviously not for everyone, but this a big step up from anything CF did a couple of decades or so ago. That said, if you really dislike this album, you certainly won't like Triptykon's "Eparistera Daimones".

Oh, and by the way, how this sounds like nu-metal I'll never know.

Wizard
October 21st 2013


19448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Besides the throwback/ nu-metal points (I might reword these), he makes his case clear and he sounds legit to his dislike with the album.

Inveigh
December 2nd 2013


25019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that groove in triptych 2 is awesome in an black sabbath / electric wizard kind of way

Mellowdeath
January 5th 2014


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't see why this album gets as much negative response as it does. it is a step forward in their sound.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
July 23rd 2014


13276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules ya

Totengott
August 13th 2014


991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In darkness, thou shalt.. WORSHIP ME!

Album rules hard, need to be in the mood for it though.

Digging: Vali - Skogslandskap



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