Celtic Frost

Release date: May 29th 2006
Century Media
Provided by: EMI (Denmark)
Website: www.celticfrost.com
Prog Death metal

Rating: 92/100
Cover artwork rating:
Reviewed by:
Thomas Nielsen
June 4th 2006

Man, what a birthday. Two of the albums I’ve been looking most forward to this year are released on the day of my coming to this world; the new Illdisposed and the legends, the ur-architects of everything weird in metal, the subject of a metal cult, the most hyped release of 2006 – Celtic Frost. As you can see somewhere else on this site, Illdisposed spilled my guts all over the place with their brutally dark death metal. And what of Celtic Frost?  

As you would expect, there is no easy answer to this. The first titbit from the album, the track ‘Ground’ that was released on various samplers from magazines a while ago promised sweet relief; the track seemed to go in the only logical direction you can go when everything you did in the past has been robbed and borrowed by everyone in the business over the past twenty years. ‘Ground’ is heavy as f*ck, mean and lovely. Let there be no doubt that the metal masses were parched with thirst for the undying UH!  

When plunging the disc into the player for the first time, I wouldn’t expect the rest of the album to be so, however, opener ‘Progeny’ is just that and followed by ‘Ground’, the Frosties don’t leave the listener in doubt: they know all about putting together something that is as heavy as time. And isn’t that what you’d have to do when you attempt to re-launch yourself into the pandemonium that is the music business these days?  

Heaviness established, ‘A Dying God Coming Into Human Form’, ‘Drown in Ashes’ and ‘Os Abysmi Vall Daath’ (with the undying UH!) venture into the weirder areas of metal music.  

‘Obscured’ is a heavy and sad, almost pop-like tune with a female background. ‘Domain of Decay’ is a down-tuned, modern sounding and straightforward monster (again with undying UH!). ‘Ain Elohim’ (again with the undying UH!) continues in the same vein; grinding, churning guitars and a slightly anti-Christian message.  

What comes next is down-right unpleasant. Wikipedia tells me that a triptych is a painting or carving with three panels. The three last tracks on ‘Monotheist’ are part of musical triptych, and the first part, ‘Totengott’ (god of death), is a creepy bastard of a track with a screamy whispered monologue. The second part is ‘Synagoga Satanae’, a 14-minute opus of slow grinding guitars and staccato riffing. Right this minute it becomes blatantly obvious to me who Cathedral got some of their sound from. ‘Synagoga Satanae’ distinguishes itself by featuring vocals in German for the first time in Celtic Frost’s career. ‘Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale)’ concludes the masterpiece on a classical note. Atmospheric, beautiful, dark. The emperors have indeed returned!  

Luckily we Europeans don’t have to walk to Mega Therion and back again to see Celtic Frost live this summer. There are plenty of festival opportunities throughout the summer and rest assured that I won’t miss them. Watch this space for live reviews soon!