Celtic Frost. Along with Venom, Bathory, and Mercyful Fate, they have helped establish the blueprint for Scandinavian metal. From bands like Entombed, to Emperor, to Paradise Lost, Celtic Frost's influence can be heard in most extreme metal, especially symphonic black metal. With albums like Into the Pandemonium
and To Mega Therion
, Celtic Frost brought many avant-garde elements to heavy metal with unusual instruments, female vocals, and electronics just to name a few. However, before all this there was Morbid Tales
, a dirtier, thrashier album that showed Celtic Frost at their roots.
Celtic Frost Is:
Tom G Warrior - Guitars, Vocals
Martin Eric Ain - Bass
Stephen Priestly - Drums
For their first album, the overall songwriting and structures are tight and solid. Celtic Frost had found a unique sound in mixing thrash, and doom, creating a truly sinister sound that is both intense and atmospheric. Songs like "Into the Crypts of Rays", "Visions of Mortality", and "Circle of Tyrants" show this and are also highlights of the album.
Another great quality is the experimentation of the album.. The torturous screams of "Human", the haunting chill of "Danse Macrabe" and the semi-operatic satanic grunts of "Procreation (Of the Wicked)" are touchstones that Celtic would later expand upon, creating even denser sounds that highlight the songs. Although these aren't much at first listen, considering this was back in 1984, the unique approach that Tom G. Warrior and crew took is amazing. You can definitely hear the impact these elements have on metal today.
Production. This is the thing that hurts the album the most. Although it sounds pretty good for an extreme metal release in 1984, it does not hold up well in today’s standards. Most notably are the thin guitars. There is no real crunch to them. They sounds airy and weak, something that most metal bands try to avoid. Also, the bass drums are too clicky. Despite it being nice to hear them (double kick is very prominent), the clicks do detract from the music and become annoying. As for bass, it is surprising up in the mix. However, it hugs the guitar too much to really be notice.
The other bad quality about this album is the variation involved. Each song has the ability to stand on it's own, but as a whole unit on the album, it wears thin quickly. The songs mostly swap between a mid paced groove and intense yet basic thrash sections, often with very similar shredding style solos. This makes the album hard to listen to as a whole, and thus it brings down it's score.
Even with it's downsides, Morbid Tales
is still and enthralling listen for thrash, black, and death metal fans alike. The songs themselves are strong, and are fun to mosh to and it fairly interesting to hear the roots of Celtic Forst and Scandinavian metal as a whole. Despite it's importance to the metal scene Celtic Frost have done better, but this is where it all begun, and is good none the less.
Important to the metal scene, but others may not find much interest in it.