Celtic Frost
Morbid Tales/To Mega Therion/Into the Pandemonium/and Vanity/Nemesis (Reissues)

All four of these albums were previously remastered in 1999 and now we get reissues of a reissue.  But Tom Warrior breathed new life into the sound with the help from his Triptykon bandmate V.Santura who is an excellent engineer.  Each paragraph will speak more about my experience with Celtic Frost and the added extras.  I will preface this all by saying Celtic Frost have been my top band, minus the Cold Lake debacle, since Morbid Tales, Right alongside Iron Maiden.  This remasters are indeed tweeked, sound louder, crisper and most of all fuller, than the past reissues.  Furthermore, I am sounding off in support of Tom Warrior about what Noise did with his liner notes.  They removed them, making Tom, now stating he does not support these reissues.  Tom and Noise had a sordid relationship and Tom shed light on what happened during those times.  Shit, he is the artist, but all together no liners from Tom on any of these new reissues.  This absolutely blows and a label censoring an artist, I am not in agreement with.  Now the 1999 liners, from the reissues, were killer, but I really wanted to read what Tom had to say in these new ones.  Also all 4 of these should have come with a dvd of live concerts, like the recent Voivod reissues contained.  Shame on you Noise, for dropping the ball.  Oh well.

Like a phoenix Celtic Frost rose from the ashes of Hellhammer.  I bought Morbid Tales on vinyl and it came with a poster in 1984.  I would later get it on cassette, cd, cd reissue and now this beautiful mediabook edition.  The original album cover is back adorning the cover with the original logo, all missing from past reissues.  A perfect blend of angry and aggressive early death metal.  So brutal.  Every song catchier than the last.   The extra bonus musical content is a demo CF recorded before unleashing Morbid Tales. It’s awesome to hear and the remastering and it reduces the hiss to non-existent.  The booklet is swamped with lyrics, pictures and original pictures I remember from all those years ago.

I remember picking up To Mega Therion in 1985 on tape and double gate fold vinyl.  Such a classic album with one of the greatest guitar tones to ever be recorded.  I was really sick in 1985, catching some flu bug that knocked me on my ass for over a week.  I remember the go to cassettes I brought in my parents room, to crank up:  TroublePsalm 9, SavatageSirens and Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion.  I think I even had a Weird Al cassette too.  To Mega Therion took brutality to a whole new height adding in some avante-garde like sounds and it’s just a punishing album.  Previous reissues dropped the ball with including The Emperor’s Return demo and not the official ep from 1985.  Tom made sure that was corrected.  The official ep is so much more powerful and better played.  To have it hear on the remaster is incredible, but it also includes “Journey into Fear”.  It was recorded during the ep session but never released.  The song is punishing.  Super-fast and aggressive.  Guess the band felt it was not strong enough, but sandwiched between “Visual Aggression” and “Suicidal Winds” would have been awesome.  So happy to have this track, finally.  There’s also the “Visual Aggression” 1988 remix on here, which is super cool, but I much prefer the original.  The mediabook is stocked with lyrics, pictures and original artwork.

In 1987, I was still writing for my school paper and panned Into the Pandemonium.  I hated it, although it was catchy, I did not get the genius of this album.  I bought the double gatefold vinyl and was super confused as to the slower tone the band took, experimental passages and the avante-garde metal was all over the place.  While in college, some years later I came back from a break in 1992 and threw the record on my turntable because I had been humming “Mexican Radio” and “Sorrows of the Moon” in my head.  Maybe I grew up, got some college in me and while becoming more intelligent finally understood Into the Pandemonium.  I recorded it on a blank tape and took it back to college, when my winter break ended and from that point on this record became one of my favorite metal albums of all time.  Pure genius.  Unreal heaviness and I always loved the snare sound.  Tom’s experimental pained vocals are emotive and moving and work alongside the heavy music and some of his classic Warrior vocals.  The mediabook contains lyrics, pictures, and is awesome.  Unfortunately, other than changing around certain numbered tracks all the bonus songs are the same as the 1999 reissue, which are all great, with “The Inevitable Factor” and “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” cover, and others, but nothing else.

After the hairspray poser Cold Lake release Tom picked himself up by his bootstraps and in 1990 took Steve Priestly from the Morbid Tales days and said you’re drumming for us or else I’ll bite your head off.  Tom was not singing in his classic Warrior voice, but was still kind of aggressive.  I have never owned this album, but heard it in the past, glad to have it now.  Tom brought back Celtic Frost riffs, but the album is geared more towards a thrash audience with its clearer sound and no more avante-garde sounds.  But songs like “Wine in My Hand (Third From the Sun)” and “A Kiss or a Whisper” brought back a speed factor not heard since the To Mega Therion days.  Pretty kick ass, I guess the best way to sum Vanity/Nemesis is Celtic Frost gone thrash.  There are some slow songs and still experimental passages.  Tom tried to get Celtic Frost back in the hardcore metal fans good graces, but I believe fans did not welcome them back because of Cold Lake.  Regardless Vanity/Nemesis is a great album and glad the heaviness was brought back, although it was different.  We would not be greeted with another album until the Celtic Frost 2006 reformation album, Monotheist, crushed me and the world into oblivion.  The Vanity/Nemesis reissue contains the same bonus content as the ’99 reissue.  This mediabook is awesome with the pictures, lyrics and is again well put together.

So as you all can see, especially if you have the ’99 reissues, maybe some of the bonus content is negligible for you to buy again.  At least consider the sound is enhanced even more.  Long time Celtic Frost member bassist Martin E. Ain suddenly had a heart attack and passed away in October 2017.  So goddamned sad.  He was taken from us too soon.  RIP brother.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 8th, 2018


  1. Commented by: AR

    Cold Lake is NOT a good album, then again, I’m nowhere near the first person to say that. But, strip away the goofy outfits and ridiculously cheesy lyrics and there are a couple of decent tunes. (Once)They Were Eagles comes to mind.

    If this had been the only album released by some obscure Sunset Strip band it’d probably be looked on slightly more favorably, but since it was from such a pioneering and beloved metal band, the gloves were off. Still, if you’re in the mood for some early, somewhat darker 80’s glam metal(think Motley Crue’s first two albums, W.A.S.P.’s first two or Twisted Sister’s first three), then you could have a little fun…I said a LITTLE.

    Everything CF released until 1988: Amazing.

    *the moment I realize I just kinda sorta-but-not-really defended Cold Lake*


  2. Commented by: AR

    Oh, and yet another killer review, Frank, you are the Noise reissue master. I wonder what’s up next from them (please say Coroner)…

  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    AR-many thanks for your comments. I absolutely agree with you re: Cold Lake. I love reissues, but will get super picky, because I know what should be included. Hell those Voivod reissues were outstanding with the DVD’s, but still not perfect. How you can leave lyrics out of the booklets is mind-boggling. Whatever. Re: Coroner-you have read my mind and yes they need to be remastered properly and reissued. I want the first 4, I can take it or leave it with Grin, which was meh. So apparently Noise owns only half of the Coroner albums; which ones-I do not know and Coroner owns the other half. Coroner are purists and have said they do not want any of their material remastered. I am sure whatever Noise owns they will remaster. They need to pony up the $ and get the rights and remaster, all 5. Coroner were one of the overlooked gems and glad I caught them live with Kreator, in the early 90’s. I have the Sabbat and Helloween remasters from years ago and they sound excellent. If and When the deluxe mediabook remasters come out, I’ll see if they’re worth it. I would imagine Helloween would get the dvd treatment as they were the biggest act on Noise. Noise should also remaster and reissue the first 2 Deathrow albums. Those were remastered from Displeased Records some years ago and are oop now. I have the original vinyl and cds, but want deluxe remasters of them.

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