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More like Downtown Annoying - 37%

Gothic_Metalhead, August 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1988, CD, Noise Records

"Woah! Fuck me Gothic... You actually listened to Cold Lake? I thought it was only gothic metal albums you reviewed."

That was one thing that came to mind when I was diving into this review of legendary extreme metal band Celtic Frost and their supposedly god awful album. Don't get me wrong Celtic Frost have always been a great band for being influential in extreme metal. I even see Celtic Frost as a precursor band for gothic metal for adding gothic elements to extreme metal. Loved "Morbid Tales," loved "To Mega Therion," and loved "Monotheist." And then there's "Cold Lake." An album that is so infamously despised by even Tom Warrior that he has made it hard for you guys to find a copy of this album and I totally understand.

Now "Cold Lake" was actually an album that was recommended to me by my online buddies and I just never wanted to listen to this album. Not only have I heard this album was bad, but it's basically a betrayal among the die hard fans for abandoning their sound for a glam metal sound. So, I decided to listen to this album now for two reasons. One: just to hear how bad it sounds and two: wanted to listen to more bad albums just to know which albums I would consider to be the absolute worst. "Cold Lake" after listening to this album, I realized it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it's still bad.

There is only one thing that is going for in "Cold Lake" and that is the guitars. It is still kinda dark than the average glam metal album. It has some slither of Celtic Frost sound to hear in the album in a few Songs, but it was obviously overpowered by the fuzzy glam sounds. I do hear some good chords in "Cold Lake" like in "Blood in Kisses" which does have similarities to the previous Celtic Frost albums. Another small thing I like about the album is the fact that it's short. Normally, I ripped on an album just for being too short, but in the case of "Cold Lake" it's a very generous 38 minutes that won't make this album feel like a chore. Some of the music is alright like in "Downtown Hanoi" because again has similarities to the previous albums. To be fair the music has some comprehension, but it's entirely rare.

The first obvious problem with "Cold Lake" by how much glam metal is in this album. I have some tolerance to glam metal music, but when it comes to Celtic Frost this felt like a sucker punch to the gut. The band's abandonment to this kind of music is betrayal to a lot of metal fans who rebel against the 80s glam metal movement. This would certainly feel like an album for my mom as I normally associate glam metal as "mom music." The licks on the guitar are really annoying and are all over this album with obnoxious fuzzy guitars. The drumming is decent, but it sounds so clicky and doesn't present any skill.

The second problem I have with this album is the lyrics. Now most of the lyrics are incredibly hard to find unless you find the CD, which is near hard to find. I did find lyrics to "Seduce Me Tonight" and well... its terrible. The only decency is in "Cherry Orchard," but with that it's not saying much. Just by hearing the other Songs the way the lyrics is structured is more like verse-chorus-verse-chorus and its pretty boring. I kept hearing the title of the Song on most Songs too which is not too creative either, and is basically there to not have the Songs sound like it has less singing.

Lastly, and this is the biggest problem with "Cold Lake" and that's Tom Warrior's obnoxious vocal approach. It is not only whiny, but it's pretty bland. No power, not even singing to justify this as a glam metal album, Tom's vocals on this album was one of the worst performances I heard. It feels like listening to a jock sing about love and sex only to lead up to singing in front of people and the audience was cringing. That is the one word I can describe this performance: Cringy. This part of the review made me feel bad for Tom Warrior for having to go through this sudden change.

"Cold Lake" is pretty terrible. Celtic Frost had already turned heads with their previous album "Into the Pandemonium" and it was clear that further experimentation to the next album turned to chopping heads. Even if you wanted to look for some hair metal music I would still steer clear of this album. One thing I forgot to mention with "Cold Lake" that is good about it is that it's an example of what not to do with experimentation. What not to do with joining the bandwagon. If had Celtic Frost released this album three years later, then they would have been fucked as the rest of the glam bands would be extinct by grunge. Even though, this album had an occasional redeeming quality to it, I just don't get it. Plain and simple. Don't worry Tom I feel your pain.