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I'm almost disappointed that it DOESN'T suck - 75%

ChasmGorilla, January 10th, 2017

Hah! Checkmate observer-expectancy effect! Though I will say it's unfortunate that so many others have fallen victim.

I'm not going to praise Cold Lake as if it were the apogee of Frost's discography; because truthfully it's not. It's a step down from their more universally accepted efforts for quite obvious reasons. You won't find any Jewel Thrones or Circle of the Tyrants, but rather a uniquely interesting blend of the signature Celtic Frost essence with a hefty peppering of late 80's sleaze cheese (good sleaze cheese at that). I'm willing to bet that the single digit scores this album receives are given by people who can't stand the thought of a band as sui generis as Celtic Frost sticking their toe in the pools of commerciality; even if just to test the waters.

I suppose I can't totally blame the masses for being too quick to turn their heads, as the album in question starts off, well, questionably. Even taking the stylistic change of direction into consideration, the minute long intro will probably cause you to momentarily inquire, "Gee, did I leave my Living Colour CD in the disc drive?" Further exasperating the damage is a number by the name of Seduce Me Tonight. Not an abhorrent track (bar the chorus) but the riffs leave little to be desired. Petty Obsession does little to amend the wound, but then side A concludes with three of the (dare I say?) greatest tracks Cold Lake has to offer. There's not a whole lot to talk about regarding side B, but I assure you there's nothing offensive to be heard.

The team who engineered and mixed the record didn't do a shabby job either. Curt Bryant's bass has a fair amount of bounce to it, Priestly's drums are punchy, and all of the instruments are prominent without overpowering each other. Performance-wise the band is solid, though Tom's voice isn't exactly compatible with the type of music they set out to play. Like the album itself, there's nothing too offensive about his performance.

Someone has to say it, and Ill be much obliged to step up and do just that. It's not impressive by any means. But on the flip side; there's nothing astronomically wrong with this album. Yes, I (along with just about everyone else) would have preferred another To Mega Therion; but I'll take what I get and I won't throw a fit. Cold Lake, like the band who birthed it, is a species entirely of it's own. Give the album a listen, best case scenario, you'll find that it's a unique little gem; worst case scenario, you can laugh hysterically at it. Either way I'll be more than happy to defend the album and appreciate it for what it is.

Final verdict: There's nothing too offensive to be heard, and (Once) They Were Eagles is a badass tune.