The contribution of Celtic Frost to extreme metal and gothic metal music cannot be understated. How the band incorporated classical, symphonic, and doom metal into their music was something new, especially for a band that started out as black metal. Celtic Frost was also among the first bands to feature female guest opera singers in their songs. This was seen in their album, To Mega Therion, as well as their third album, Into The Pandemonium.
The band, which hails from Zurich, Switzerland, was initially known as Hellhammer, and it was composed of the guitarist, Thomas Gabriel Fischer, also known as Tom Warrior, and Steve Warrior who was later replaced by Martin Eric Ain on the bass. Hellhammer received numerous negative reviews, and label contract issues ultimately led to the band’s disbandment.
However, the band’s disbandment would give rise to a more aggressive hardcore punk that would inspire numerous other heavy metal bands. The band’s initial albums, such as Into the Pandemonium and To Mega Therion, were widely praised by critics. The latter featured emotionally charged song lyrics and a classic heavy metal style combined with a few black metal elements.
According to Tom Gabriel Fischer, the band’s lead singer, the band was at a disadvantage in their contract dealings during their early years. Despite going through such hurdles and other complex personal circumstances, the band has remained resilient to become one of the most influential extreme death metal bands of all time. Here are the top 10 songs from the iconic band.
# 10 – Into The Crypt of Rays
Morbid Tales was a masterpiece of an album, and this track has to be one of the most underrated songs on the album. “Into The Crypt of Rays” is the second song from the 1984 album. The song sounds a little too fast, and Tom Gabriel Fischer does enough justice on the guitar solo.
# 9 – Temple of Depression
Our number nine song is the sixth track from their 2006 album, Monotheist. “Temple of Depression” is another masterpiece from the long list of great Celtic Frost songs. Although the contribution of the album to the heavy metal music industry is yet to be fully understood, you will no longer be the same person after listening to it. The clarity of the song is incredible and the unique sound and feel of the song is what the band is all about.
# 8 – Mesmerized
The band’s 1987 album, Into the Pandemonium, broke so much ground in the heavy metal circles. What I personally love about this song is how Tom Gabriel Fischer sings it as well as the amazing female vocals in the background. I also like how tormented Tom’s voice sounds, and the drumming is just high level. “Mesmerized” is the second track from the album, Into the Pandemonium.
# 7 – Return to the Eve
If you need a song that fits the Halloween theme, then “Return of the Eve” sounds quite like it. The song, which was written by Martin Ain and Tom Gabriel Fischer is the seventh track off their 1984 album, Morbid Tales. Benediction has covered the song in what sounds like a heavier and more brutal version.
# 6 – Necromantical Screams
Although many heavy metal music fans of this era find Celtic Frost to be a bit outdated, there is no doubting that they produced some heavy stuff back in the day. “Necromantical Screams” is the tenth track from their 1985 album, To Mega Therion. The song features some amazing background vocals from Claudia-Maria Mokri and the song is quite dark compared to what any other dark metal band released at the time.
# 5 – Ground
This song was initially not supposed to be included in the band’s 2006 album, Monotheist. The song was written in 2002 according to Tom Gabriel Fischer and was inspired by a situation of complete darkness and growing radicalization. The song was initially created through a program before it was finally transferred to the instruments of the band. The song is quite apocalyptic and punishing and the heaviness of the riffs make it a must-listen.
# 4 – Tristesses de la Lune
The song “Tristesses de la Lune” is a foreshadowing of the track “Sorrows of the Moon” which is contained in the same album (Into the Pandemonium). The song features Manu Moan of The Vyllies, reciting a poem backed by Martin Ain, the bassist of the band and others. Although both songs, “Tristesses de la Lune” and “Sorrows of the Moon” almost have a similar composition, the songs follow different musical styles and languages and are sung musicians of different genders. “Tristesses de la Lune” is a really cool song that shows Celtic Frost’s darkness in their songwriting.
# 3 – Dawn of Meggido
Into the top three of our favorite Celtic Frost songs is the “Dawn of Meggido.” First and foremost, what I love about this song is its title. The song is also delivered in typical Celtic Frost fashion with some extremely dark lyrics. “Dawn of Meggido” is the fourth track in the band’s 1985 album, To Mega Therion.
# 2 – Triptych II
Triptych II appears high on the list due to how scary the track sounds. The song is contained in the band’s 2006 album, Monotheist. It was also a significant track for the band since it was one of their best songs after their return.
# 1 – Circle of the Tyrants
The number one song in our list of the best Celtic Frost song is the track Circle of the Tyrants which is arguably their biggest song to date. Since this song contains two versions, I chose to go with the one from the album, To Mega Therion rather than the track from the album, Emperor’s Return. The song, which was written by Tom Gabriel Fischer has been covered by Obituary in their album, Cause of Death. The track has a dark and gloomy feel although it is incredibly powerful. Tom’s sounds on the guitar also sound quite evil and the opening riff of the song would scare any wannabe death metal fan. “Circle of the Tyrants” is my personal favorite Celtic Frost song and it goes to show that they were one of the pioneers of some of the most extreme sounds on the planet.
Top 10 Celtic Frost Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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