Celtic Frost – 2017 Vinyl Reissues from Noise Records

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Last year it was announced the Noise Records label was being resurrected through BMG and with that, many band’s catalogues under that label were going to be reissued. I was anticipating the reissues from Celtic Frost and they finally arrived.“BMG purchased Noise’s holding company Sanctuary records from Universal Music in 2013” (source: hardrockhaven.net).  Many band’s releases couldn’t be reissued with copyrights in limbo and with the Noise Records label reborn, BMG decided to bring some essential and out of print metal releases back out into the world.

Thomas Gabriel Fischer (Tom G. Warrior), the main man behind Celtic Frost (and now Triptykon), was participating with the reissue series and oversaw the remixing and remastering as well as the layout design and went through his archives for pictures.  He penned the liner notes and history to go with all the albums but when BMG read them, they sent them back with edits as per advice from their legal team.

Fischer stated that BMG didn’t want to include his thoughts on the conflict between the band and the label, especially when it came to the Into the Pandemonium album.  Fischer didn’t want to be edited or censored, so he pulled his liner notes and withdrew his support from the project.  To read all about it, go HERE to Decibel magazine’s interview with him.

Fischer’s thoughts on the label have been well documented online in various interviews and in his book, Are You Morbid.  As well, you can read more about the back and forth about the censorship on his blog.  I didn’t realize – even as I did my video – it was this intense.  It’s unfortunate that there was censorship involved when I’m sure everything in the liner notes Fischer penned was already documented.

I know what matters to me the most is the music but I totally understand and respect Fischer’s stance on the whole matter. I would have loved to read more in-depth notes regarding each release.  At least I know that he had involvement in giving the thumbs up to the music that is in the package.

With that said, the audio on these vinyl are spectacular.  The band’s music has never sounded so good and I’m now curious to hear the remaster/remix they did for the CD versions as well. The music on these releases showcase why Celtic Frost was one of the most important bands in metal.

Each release feature two records – one with the original album and a second with extra material.  Each release also contain two posters and a book with notes and photos.  These sets are quite heavy due to the fact each release is a gatefold jacket, has a 36 page booklet inside them and hold the two 180 gram records.  I bought mine from Earache’s web store and they sent them in two different packages.

Now that you’re all caught up with the history behind these reissues, here are the pics of each release.  For even more information, including the what the sleeves look like and to see the full posters, watch the video at the end of this feature.

Morbid Tales (1984)

This classic album shows the band taking a huge step up from their Hellhammer days.  The songs are catchy, metal, heavy, and really lay the foundation of what is to come from the band over the next three albums.  My favourite song off this album is “Procreation (of the Wicked).”

Track listing:

A1 Human (Intro)
A2 Into The Crypts Of Rays
A3 Visions Of Mortality
A4 Dethroned Emperor
A5 Morbid Tales
B1 Procreation (Of The Wicked)
B2 Return To The Eve
B3 Danse Macabre
B4 Nocturnal Fear
C1 Morbid Tales (Autumn 1984 Rehearsal)
C2 Messiah (Summer 1984 Rehearsal)
D1 Procreation (Of The Wicked) (Autumn 1984 Rehearsal)
D2 Nocturnal Fear (Autumn 1984 Rehearsal)

To Mega Therion (1985)

This is my favourite album by Celtic Frost – at least from these Noise releases as Monotheist is absolutely crushing and could tie this one or surpass it for me.  The majority of the material on this album showcases the maturing in songwriting, performance, and lyrics in only about a year removed from Morbid Tales.

Experimentation with adding “non metal” elements start to creep into the band’s music, too, which foreshadowed where Fischer and Co. were going next (eg: horns, orchestra and classical overtones, and female vocals).

It’s hard to pick just one favourite song off of this release. I mean, you have the classic “Circle of the Tyrants” alongside “The Usurper” and “Fainted Eyes” to name a few.  There’s so much goodness here!

Track listing:

A1 Innocence And Wrath
A2 The Usurper
A3 Jewel Throne
A4 Dawn Of Meggido
A5 Eternal Summer
B1 Circle Of The Tyrants
B2 (Beyond The) North Winds
B3 Fainted Eyes
B4 Tears In A Prophet’s Dream
B5 Necromantical Screams
C1 Circle Of The Tyrants (Emperor’s Return EP Track)
C2 Visual Aggression (Emperor’s Return EP Track)
C3 Suicidal Winds (Emperor’s Return EP Track)
C4 Journey Into Fear (Emperor’s Return EP SessionsTrack)
D1 Visual Aggression (1988 Remix)
D2 Return To The Eve (1985 Studio Jam)

Into the Pandemonium (1987)

I have to state that at the time this album came out, I was only nine.  I didn’t start listening to this band until late high school/early university.  As music and CDs became cheaper and the Internet started being a way to get more music and sample it, that’s how I really got introduced to the band.  Funny thing is, many bands I listened to in high school (like Obituary) covered Celtic Frost but I never saw their releases in the stores where I lived at the time.

That being said, for people that followed this band from their inception (or at least the last two albums), I could imagine their WTF moments when spinning this album.  For me, I can look at it as expanding the boundaries of what the band is about but at the time but I’m sure many metalheads questioned what the hell was going on with most of this album.

Who thought starting off your album with a cover of a pop song (“Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo) was a good idea? Obviously Fischer! I don’t know why he chose this but there must of been some rational reason at the time.

Instrumentals, classical interludes, female vocals, electronic drums, and hints of industrial metal all are featured in this release. I can see why many fans of the band’s older work still can’t wrap their heads around this album or completely dislike it. I like it for what it is.  I actually like the cover of “Mexican Radio” as well as “Inner Sanctum,” Babylon Fell,” and “I Won’t Dance.”

Track listing:

A1 Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo cover)
A2 Mesmerized
A3 Inner Sanctum
A4 Tristesses De La Lune
A5 Babylon Fell
B1 Caress Into Oblivion
B2 One In Their Pride (Porthole Mix)
B3 I Won’t Dance (The Elders’ Orient)
B4 Rex Irae (Requiem)
B5 Oriental Masquerade
C1 Sorrows Of The Moon (Pandemonium Session Track)
C2 The Inevitable Factor (Pandemonium Session Track)
D1 In The Chapel In The Moonlight (The Collector’s Celtic Frost 12″ Single Track)
D2 One In Their Pride (Re-Entry Mix) (Pandemonium Session Track)
D3 The Inevitable Factor (Alternate Vocals) (Pandemonium Session Track)

Vanity/Nemesis (1990)

After Cold Lake was released in 1988 and slammed by much of the metal community for selling out to the hair metal crowd (although it doesn’t sound like hair metal), Celtic Frost (mainly leader, Fischer) had to pick up and regroup because he let those who didn’t understand Celtic Frost’s vision pen most of the material on this album. To this day, Fischer disowns this album and it’s a reason it wasn’t featured as part of this reissue series.  I wonder now if Noise will reissue it just to spite him.

Vanity/Nemesis brings back more of the crushing riffs, mid temp break-downs, double bass drumming, and harsher vocal delivery fans of the first two albums were craving.  The early 90s production is all over this release making it sound grimy but still polished.

Although I’ve had this CD for years and years, it’s probably the one I go to the least (after Cold Lake).  It’s not because it’s a bad album at all – it’s because when I’ve reached to listen to 80s Celtic Frost, I just tend to grab one of the first three albums.

After re-listening to this front to back for the first time in a very long time on vinyl, I’m going to be spinning it a lot more in the ol’ man cave and my vehicle because I totally forgot how awesome it is.  I can’t really give you my stand out tracks like the other releases because I’m familiarizing myself with it all again.  Play this album and don’t forget about about it like I did.

Track listing:

A1 The Heart Beneath
A2 Wine In My Hand (Third From The Sun)
A3 Wings Of Solitude
A4 The Name Of My Bride
B1 This Island Earth
B2 The Restless Seas
B3 Phallic Tantrum
C1 A Kiss Or A Whisper
C2 Vanity
C3 Nemesis
D1 Heroes (Wine In My Hand EP Track)
D2 A Descent To Babylon (Babylon Asleep) (Wine In My Hand EP Track)

Although Fischer has pulled his support for these reissues, I hope he doesn’t mind me showing my love for the band and supporting the MUSIC within these reissues.  For those looking for definite editions, this is probably as close as you’ll ever get.  I know Noise/BMG will see the money but at least the legacy of the band through it’s music will live on and be accessible for those who can’t track down any other editions.

For those of you not in the know, Fischer has continued on his vision in the band Triptykon and has released two stellar albums and an EP.  They are bringing the vision Fischer started with Monotheist to the next level.  Make sure to listen to them.

Quick addition: a couple hours after I shared this feature on Twitter, the man himself, Tom G Warrior/Fischer helped shed some light about my pondering about the “rational reasoning.  Here it is below (I’m so geeking out right now).

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The video below from my YouTube channel shows the booklets in a little more depth plus the album sleeves.  Enjoy!

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