Years ago I had visited this rundown record store, and tucked away into one corner was this used CD – a grotesque cross-over artwork with Morbid Tales stamped on it. Of course, picking that up for the long drive back home was the next obvious step. Definitely not my first encounter with Celtic Frost, but this time they stunningly hit all the right notes. Not every day will someone inadvertently stumble into a Morbid Tales, quite an understated introduction for a viciously influential record.
How that eerie album intro explodes ‘Into the crypt of rays’—making an instant and deep impact. With the dusky coastal highway as an idyllic backdrop – a moment forever engraved in mind.
The whole experience was almost like discovering a trap door, straight into the nether vaults of metal. Suddenly, numerous aspects of late 80s and early 90s black/death wave starts to make sense. Those coarse structural patterns, surreal and nightmarishly poetic lyrics – they afflicted and spawned hordes of imitators. Some elevated those very elements to stratospheric levels. Quite like Venom, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost are vital, to grasping an era which otherwise might sound like sheer white noise.
Martin Ain might have departed this mortal world. But, what he invented with Tom Warrior remains vibrantly ablaze.