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Lying vacant for 14 years, the legendary Celtic Frost was risen from the ashes to give it one final go. They ended up changing their sound to an almost unrecognizable style. Taking their time, its took 4 years to write the material for this final offering making this album very mature and well written. Monotheist might be too different for some, and it even was for me when I first heard it, but transforming into a dark and heavy doom style wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
Thomas Warrior's vocals make a dramatic change on this record compared to past albums. Taking a lower and more sludgier approach and even some cleaner angles on tracks like "Obscured" and "Os Abysmi Vel Daath". Fischer's vocals fit well with this new direction and really bring the darkness on these recordings. Fischer also throws in a few UHHH!!'s from the olden days that would make any old school fan smile. Martin E. Ain also has a nice vocal role in "A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh". Providing a clean monotone voice that is haunting and sets the mood for Fischer to apply his vocals roles as well. Other than Ain and Fischer, Simone Vollenweider supplies a great voice on the slower track s"Obscured" and "Drown in Ashes". Vollenweider and Fischer do a lovingly dark duet that is easily one of the best tracks on the album. Those with LP or the Japanese edition get a nice a-cappella piece featuring Vollenweider and her golden voice.
The guitars here are heavy as any good doom should be. Some nice riffs are also present chugging about and doing what they do best. "Ground" has a great riff that really screams doom as well as "Domain of Decay". "Synagoga Satanae" is another great track with tons of dark diminished riffs heavy enough to crack the streets of Manhattan. Other than heavy doom riffs, this album has some nice clean melodies on "A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh" and "Obscured". This album is rather lacking in solos, but thats not much to complain. The bass guitar from Ain is very buried in the thick layer of guitars and vocals that it is only heard in a few spots. But when the bass does decide to peek its head from the layer of chunky riffs and rotting vocals, the tone is rather dirty and very low as heard on "Ground".
Franco Sesa does a fantastic job on drums. Supporting the sadness and diminished riffing with simple, tight beats. "Obscured" has a great swinging beats that rolls nicely over the ballad. "Domain of Decay" has a great fast beat with nice kick drum action and moody cymbal crashes. "Ain Elohim" has come nice double kick work and doomy beats that keep the song moving at a good pace.
Lyrics on this album are very depressing to say the least. Ranging from questioning God, losing love, and being reborn. There are some great lines on this record like ,"Oh god, why have you forsaken me?", from "Ground" and the "No, no, no, no" part on "Obscured" which is very haunting. "Totengott" is the intro to the epic Triptych has some rather strange lyrics that seem like nonsense but are very creepy along with the way the vocal presentation is distorted and manipulated.
In the end this is a great comeback album. Creating a great atmosphere molded by heavy guitars, pounding drums and Fischer's sludgy vocals, as well as mature and well written lyrics and song structures. This is definitely an album for any Celtic Frost fan, old or new, looking to try something new.