Aha. Now for some old school death metal. People usually cite Death’s first album Scream Bloody Gore as the album from which death metal as a genre originated. Na na.
One of the bands which was already indulging in technical death metal before Death even started to go all jazzy was Celtic Frost and this album proves it. One of the earliest specimens of what would later on be given the sub-genre classification of “Technical Death Metal”, (coined later on in 1990’s when Cynic and Death came out with landmark slabs of metal like “Focus” and “Symbolic” respectively) death metal lovers will be able to see from where their music originates. Celtic Frost, on here, plays heavy, crushing riffs while adding some “extra” elements like females wailing in the background (“Necromantial Screams”) etc. to complement the angry rhythm section. (Of course, in retrospective, that doesn’t seem to be all that exceptional, but remember folks this is 1985, and Celtic Frost was the cutting edge in metal music at that point of time. Remember we had Def Leppard and Poison posing as metal music makers. Pah. Now of course we have Therion and Opeth who make a living of adding whole orchestras and using opera singers to enhance their sound.)
My favourite song is the heavy, extremely heavy, “Circle of Tyrants” which has a cracking ugly riff to start off proceedings and has the vocalist grunting and shouting “Ouhh!”. After the fast section the song changes tempo and becomes slower and the change of tempo somehow makes sense. The reason I am saying this is that a lot of modern death metal bands I have heard feature a lot of abrupt tempo changes that are not needed. Show offs.
Another good feature of the record is that the production is clean and you can clearly hear the guitars, even the lead. Cracking. The vocals are clean (comparatively of course, they aint no country singers obviously.) What you need to do is give this album a chance to grow on you. Its one of those albums. Also there is no let up whatsoever, its heavy riff after heavy riff, so it can be a chore to go through in one sitting. My recommendation is to take one song at a time.
Recommendation-The origin of what later became death metal; an absolute must hear for metal heads, a “nice” intro for newbies, and also recommended for the casual metal fan. Exceptional tracks are “Circle of Tyrants” and “Necromantial Screams”.