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Celtic Frost - Reissues album review

Swiss extreme metal pioneers repackaged

Cover art for Celtic Frost - Reissues album

Although Venom are routinely cited as the godfathers of extreme metal, Celtic Frost’s contribution was every bit as significant. The four studio albums collected here (1988’s calamitous Cold Lake is very much not included here) amount to one of the most influential and revolutionary creative runs in metal history.

The fierce progress that Tom G Warrior and his grim cohorts made between 1984’s primitive Morbid Tales (810) and its genre-defining successor To Mega Therion (910) in 1985 still takes the breath away, not least because so much of the metal underground’s sonic vocabulary stems directly from these pitch-black anti-hymns. 1987’s Into The Pandemonium (1010) remains the official Frost masterpiece. Light years ahead of its time and still joyously bewildering, it single handedly pushed the limits of extreme metal’s ambitions and has seldom been topped for fearless audacity. 1990’s Vanity/ Nemesis (710) was a bold attempt to make amends for Cold Lake’s glam-soiled shame, and has aged extremely well despite never quite reaching the heights of its revered predecessors.

Every discerning metalhead should own these albums, which makes Innocence And Wrath: The Best Of Celtic Frost (810) a somewhat pointless exercise, despite the brilliance of its contents.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.