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And with the return of the emperor came tyranny - 88%

Gutterscream, April 20th, 2005
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Noise Records (Silver labels)

“What will the wind bring these days?”

The wind? Gale force wind of a Pacific typhoon would explode with a double hernia trying to lift the cavernous, molten din of Morbid Tales, and may very well be suicidal.

During the hiatus between the debut ep/lp and To Mega Therion, it was decided a five-song ep would stave the hunger of Frost hordlings and perhaps give their new drummer a little more time to get acquainted with an over-the-top metal clamor that was about as well-traveled as the northern most tip of Greenland. Session drummer Stephen Priestly would decline an invitation to pound skins for the band on a eternal basis, but it is said all it took was a thirty second display of Reed St. Mark’s prowess for him to get the job.

So it had two tracks from Morbid Tales on it (we Americans were spoiled as we already had these songs on our Metal Blade-released version) – didn’t matter, it had three new songs, and for fans who slept with Morbid Tales under their pillows, they were worth their weight in blue twisted steel. Besides, there was always hope of an unannounced difference in the original versions.

Unfortunately, “Dethroned Emperor” and “Morbid Tales” weren’t revamped, but for the tenderfoot Frost listener they are a sheer example of the trio’s lust for titanic slog, bludgeoning force, and fatalistic lyrics puked forth by one of the first vocal dins resembling death metal. The diabolical Phil “whatever happened to him?” Lawvere cover artwork wasn’t something you were going to flip by in a yawn, either.

To Mega Therion would be a few months away from release, so “Circle of the Tyrants” wasn’t yet the Frost national hymn it would later become, and with most notably the famous establishing riff played faster, the hellish background bellowing textured a bit differently, and a tad more echo slanting Tom’s lungs, the versions are only a few nuances apart. “Visual Aggression” would be the trio’s most rabid speed track as well as Mark’s public trial by fire and the band’s speed quotient for the millennium. Perhaps one of Frost’s most forgotten tracks prior to Into the Pandemonium is “Suicidal Winds”, plugged with a slew of tactical, moderately-paced rhythms, a great discordant Tom Warrior noise solo (patent pending), and even supplies more of the anti-drone that “Visual Aggression” sonically paraded with.

Okay, the production isn’t as meaty and thick as on the debut, but it’s obvious when To Mega Therion hit the racks (and God-fearing people gasped), this is the sound route the band had intended. For the avant-garde and majestic atmosphere Frost had prepared for their sophomore effort, it probably needed it.