• Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion (1985)

     

    There are some things I don't understand in the metal world and one of those things is the popularity and the high ratings of this record. Let's say that the debut album of the Swiss metal legend is not bad at all. It has its own style but the record is far from being a legendary milestone as there are too many similar filler tracks on the record. Celtic Frost play some technically well done blackened thrash here. Even though the artwork is great, the lyrics are intriguing and the sound quality is very underground, the band fails to establish a gripping atmosphere. In the black metal scene, the first works of "Bathory", "Emperor" or "Moonspell" sounded way more addicting, the death metal scene had some great potential with the first releases of "Death", "Therion" or "Amorphis" and the world of thrash has seen the great debut records of "Metallica", "Voivod" and "Overkill". Every of the mentioned records has more style and charm than the first steps of Celtic Frost no matter if those records came before or after this one. There is still a lot of potential in this record that is worth your time, patience and attention. I might underline that this is a very good and interesting album and surely an influential piece of metal music. But it is no masterpiece or milestone because it has too many mediocre parts next to the pure genius that can also be found in here.

    With the great instrumental "Tears In A Prophet 's Dream" and the closing album highlight "Necromential Screams", the band proves us that they had the potential to create an atmospheric and gripping milestone. The songs are filled with great sound effects and a lot of black atmosphere. They have surely influenced some of the bands mentioned above without a doubt but they copied the pioneers in a more consistent way.
    The problems don't start in the beginnings of the record though but can rather be found in the middle of the album. "Innocence And Wrath" is a great instrumental introductions that leads to a great straight opener called "The Usurper" that has a lot of diversity and energy at the same time.

    But "Jewel Throne" has almost the same style as this song and may be a solid banger but nothing truly addicting and outstanding. The problem is that there are at least three or four other songs of that kind on the record that somewhat destroy the efforts of the more elaborated and atmospheric tracks. I may even include the overrated and well known "Circle Of The Tyrants" to that same mediocre category. They are great live tracks, have a lot of energy and some riff variation plus good though not excellent guitar solos. On the other hand, they don't nearly have the same of majesty as the opening and closing tracks as well as "Dawn of Meggido" and remain rather one-dimensional bangers with lots of rather ridicolous signature "Hey!" and "Uh!" shouts in most of those songs. One or two of them may be acceptable but there are a too much of them on this short album. Especially as they are almost all in one row and not placed between the more epic tracks to give us a break. Their is really a heavy downfall of quality in the middle of this album.

    One of the hidden highlights on this record is the following "Dawn of Meggido" which is an atmospheric doom metal track that adds a lot of heart and soul to the album again and is easily one of my favourite tracks in here. The orchestral middle part is innovating and reminds me of brilliant horror movie scores. That's an element that would have fit to more songs on this record and would have add something special to the album.

    That's why this album seems in the end quite schizophrenic to me. It is divided into atmospheric, majestic and innovating tracks one side and straight filler songs to bang your head to on the other side in quite equal parts. I really adore the first face of the band whiel the second one is not all bad but simply not as outstanding and engaging as many fans claim. In the end, this record is still an important album for three different metal genres and the innovating parts are truly inspiring and innovating. But as this level can't be kept on the length of the entire album, I would not call this record a masterpiece as it lacks of coherence in the end and I only truly enjoy about twenty of the fourty minutes in here. That's why I think the album is slightly overrated.

     

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