Celtic Frost Albums Ranked
The world is filled with conformists, copycats, but precious few originals, and in the world of heavy metal, Celtic Frost were true originals.
Over the course of a brief but critical career, this oft-shape-shifting Swiss ensemble led by Thomas Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom G. Warrior) elevated the pursuit of heavy metal extremity to a true art form, with the help of alien musical forms, erudite and often cryptic lyrics, and simply a fearless willingness to try new things.
Indeed, Celtic Frost’s very inception was determined by Fischer’s decision to wipe his creative slate clean, abandoning the name of his first band, Hellhammer, because he worried it would limit the broader musical horizons he planned on exploring with band mates Martin Ain (bass) and Steve Priestly, then Reed St. Mark (drums).
Even so, Celtic Frost’s first two, era-defining mini-albums, 1984’s Morbid Tales, and ‘85’s Emperor’s Return, merely scratched the surface of versatility that would soon be smashed to smithereens by twin progressive-minded triumphs To Mega Therion (1985, featuring bassist Dominic Steiner) and Into the Pandemonium (1987).
The latter, in particular, proved such an impossible act to follow, that Fischer unexpectedly veered off into the realm of hair metal with 1988’s widely maligned Cold Lake, which was recorded with new members Curt Victor Bryant (guitar), Oliver Amberg (bass) and a returning Priestly, and effectively brought Celtic Frost’s career to its proverbial knees.
Not even a relative step back from the cliff with 1990’s Vanity/Nemesis could right the band’s ship and they ultimately called it a day, leaving a generation of fans to absorb their tainted but still formidable legacy until the time was ripe for a reunion on 2006’s by and large triumphant Monotheist (pairing Fisher, Ain, plus guitarist Erol Unala and drummer Franco Sesa).
As of this writing, that record will be Celtic Frost’s last, following another breakdown in Fischer and Ain’s fruitful but stormy relationship, but the former has thankfully carried on sharing his fascinating musical visions with loyal fans via the equally courageous Triptykon.
So click through the gallery above to travel with us across Celtic Frost’s one-of-a-kind discography – adventure awaits!
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