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Mandatory - 95%

Milo, January 14th, 2005

Words can’t describe the importance of this album for metal. Any black metal band in existence should lick the boots of everyone that was involved with this CD, bow down to their knees whenever they see one of these guys and say “Hail Celtic Frost”.

It’s really that amazing. The version I have is the reissued one, Morbid Tales/Emperor’s Return from 1988. But the truth is, these songs were writeen circa 1984/1985, two years or so before the thrash explosion of 1986. This came before Darkness Descends, Reign in Blood and countless others. Damn, but even for today, it sounds still fresh and ready to kick everyone’s sorry asses.

The guitarwork is so damn top-notch. The eeeevil, noisy tone really adds up to the already great riffs not that complex like Sadus or anything, but there’s nothing marginal here. It’s very variated, with fast riffs coexisting with some midpaced ones and even some slowish, sludgy riffs. “Visions of Mortality” shows their hability. The drumming is simple but precise, to the point of making me not to wish some high-end drummer of today, like Proscriptor etc etc. I want it simple, raw and heartfelt.

Talk about being heartfelt. This is the best adjective you can give to Tom G. Warrior. His vocals are full of will, he’s not the kind of musician that does his stuff looking at his watch, waiting for the session to end. He likes to talk within the songs: “Thraaash!”, he has the trademark “uuuh, urrrrghh! aaagh!” that we all know and love. And how can we forget:

“Are you morbid?”

It’s also very cohesive. The faster parts and the slower ones are perfectly alternated. We start with the blazing-fast “Into the Crypts of Rays”, then we go into the slower one, and the we go fast again, and fast… to stop into the massive, amazing midpaced sludge of “Procreation of the Wicked”. This riff is among the best of the CD, and the overall atmosphere is just priceless. Sepultura made a cover of this song, even sludgier and very well executed, but I can’t exchange the original for nothing. Talking about covers, Opeth made a great job with the timeless classic “Circle of the Tyrants”. I don’t care if this is a textbook thrash song but it rules so fucking much, namely the slower riff, backed up by the thunderous drumming.

“Danse Macabre” is a fucking nightmare recorded on a fucking CD. This is one of the few songs in metal that can REALLY create a doomy atmosphere, not those boring funeral doom bands. It’s a collage of creepy effects that WILL scare the shit out of you.

From that track on, it’s just lots of great riffs, from the pumping, ultra-fast, alarm-like one from “Nocturnal Fear”, the overcatchy “Suicidal Winds” and the Kreator-like thrash attack of “Visual Aggression”. Damn, everything is a classic.

Get it. Plain and simple. Obvioulsy, every metalhead I know has this, and it should be institutionalized that this should be among the first 5 CDs a rookie metalhead should get. Absolutely mandatory.