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Celtic Frost has returned in true controversial fashion.
Controversy appears to be part of the Frost formula and is perhaps stronger today than it was at any time in their history. If you're looking for MT, TMT, or ITP parts 2 into infinity, you will be disappointed. CF is always about doing something so radically different and pushing the boundary of the type of music they are producing. They are different today, some 14 years after the close of Celtic Frost's incomplete and jaded initial history.
This album is heavy. What it isn't is easily understood. The guitars are primitive and brutal at points, but a soundscape and texture is provided that would deliver a seemingly primitive and brutal album into a complex album that leaves the listener wondering what happened over and over. I mean this in a good way. The guitars hark back to Hellhammer. Tom's voice is different, but brutal. He infuses the music and the listener with his rage, not only in voice, but with the brutalization of his guitars. Not only is there the rage, but one can see a more vulnerable side to Tom and Martin in such songs as A Dying God... and Drown in Ashes. Franco is brilliant and infuses the music with his style of extreme drumming. In my opinion, certain elements of music can survive from the past, but the drumming is something that has evolved so far into the speed and technical realm that it can't be substituted. Fans of Reed St Mark and Stephen Priestly will be proud. Franco also co-writes several songs. Songs like Temple of Depression and Domain of Decay are straight and to the point and brutalize the listener with rage, volume, and speed, not to mention the Warrior "UGH!".
Of most interest to my was the three part, 20+ minute "Tryptich", comprised of the eerie Tottengott, Synagoga Satanae, and the conclusion, Winter (Requiem Part III). Tottengott is unearthly and also used to open the live shows. It again features Martin on altered vocals (first appearance on A Dying God with clean vox).
The packaging is incredible and costly with three distinct covers, as well as a poster.
In conclusion, this is Celtic Frost's best work to date. It gains from years of rage, dormancy, better production, and the Celtic Frost fire to forge into a foreign direction fearlessly, without regret. This is the first album that was all theirs, without influence of any recording executive with a desire to have them go in a more marketable direction. This simple fact produced a brutal, textured, and complex album composed of primitive elements that will please, as well as take time to understand.