Soundchecks Music Reviews

Monotheist by Celtic Frost

Century Media

Celtic Frost

review by Michael Lohr

Powerful, gloomy Euro-thrash with the bludgeoning force of a jackhammer, combined with the desolation and despair on the day after the end of the world. This is what comes to mind when listening to Monotheist. From the dark dells of rural Switzerland an ancient legend is resurrected, perhaps stronger than before. On Monotheist, Celtic Frost surge back after a long absence, like a deadly tsunami setting its sights on an unprotected coastline.

Monotheist is seething with methodical, crushing riffs, a la their debut, Morbid Tales. There are even a few hints of Hellhammer in there for good measure. In the wake of the very underrated Apollyon Sun project, Tom Fischer, once known as Tom G. Warrior, reformed Celtic Frost and belts out his classic death grunts and keeps the doom metal rolling. From the seriously lethal beginnings of Progeny and Ground to the haunting A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh - a progressive, avant-garde song that is reminiscent of the best Type O Negative, this record never stops feeding the music addiction.

Though not all on Monotheist is ball-bashing, hell-on-earth music. The songs Triptych: Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale) and Triptych: Synagoga Satanae are heavily classical in orientation. Down In Ashes contains very intriguing keyboard interludes and excellent female vocal accompaniment. One of the all time best Celtic Frost guitar riffs can be found on the fascinating Os Abysmi Vel Daath and that is indeed saying something.

In a word, atmospheric... Everything you could ever want from Celtic Frost is on Monotheist. From the straight-ahead doom thrash guitars and pounding drums, to ambient Goth to avant-garde experimentation. This record harkens back to the glory days of Into The Pandemonium. Monotheist is a full on tour-de-force of sonic destruction. Oh and, while your at it, go pick up a copy of Celtic Frost's 'best of' CD Parched With Thirst And I am Dying and learn why they are one of the most important bands in metal music history.

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press