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Celtic Frost pisses me off. They had so much potential with their first albums – and then they went with some progressive and doom influences and ended up being a watered down version of themselves. I thought with the reunion of the band, they might “restart” their career, if you will. Well – I should have known better.
I will say that Monotheist isn’t bad. It has some very interesting and redemptive qualities to it. It wasn’t a return to thrash like I was hoping it would be. In fact, there is some very interesting song-writing and music present on this album.
The first two tracks had me going…they were heavy, pounding, and evil sounding. I really like the first two songs on Monotheist. The rest of the album isn’t so great for me. The best part of Monotheist (as a consistent factor) is the atmosphere. If there is one thing that Celtic Frost did well on this album was create a very scary and foreboding feeling. As I was listening to the album I had a feeling of impending doom the entire time. It was a strange feeling – but very impressive at the same time.
The music is slow. Its so doom filled that it almost isn’t metal. Well, it is metal – but it is very slow and ambient. The guitar work is simplistic as is the bass and drum work. Granted all of the music does work on a purpose – which is to create an atmosphere. It may not be the fastest or heaviest but it does do its job. So I can’t complain all that much. I prefer faster and angrier music.
The singing is accomplished in a variety of ways, the heavy handed and rough singing of Tom G. Warrior, a female vocalist, and a soft male vocalist. These different kinds of vocals are intermixed to create a variety of sounds. This is both clever and frustrating. It creates a variety that the music doesn’t really do – but it also breaks up the atmosphere so that it doesn’t always hold.
The lyrics are full of controversial topics. There are some topics of religion, death, and birth…these are normal metal topics but when they are presented in the manner that Monotheist does – they seem a lot more aggressive.
Overall, this album does its job. It creates a frightening atmosphere. It’s not catchy and it’s a difficult listen. It requires a lot of concentration and if you tune out at any time then the purpose of the music is lost. I really miss the old Celtic Frost. Monotheist is a fine album for some. But I have heard better from Celtic Frost.
Songs to check out: Progeny, Ground, Domain of Decay.