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Music / Celtic Frost

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Celtic Frost is/was an extreme metal band from Zurich, Switzerland. It is, along with Bathory and Helloween, one of the most influential metal bands to come out of Europe. Celtic Frost (along with Bathory) was heavily influential on the extreme metal scene, particularly the black metal scene. Some have regarded Celtic Frost as a "missing link" between thrash metal and black metal.

Celtic Frost was founded by guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer after he had left the band Hellhammer. He formed the band with Martin Eric Ain and Stephen Priestly to record the mini-LP Morbid Tales, which garnered interest in the undeground metal scene. A year later, they released the highly influential To Mega Therion. With full attention on them, they released the highly avant-garde Into the Pandemonium, which featured classical instruments, operatic female vocals, and sampling. Despite this, Into the Pandemonium is still held in high regards by fans. They eventually went on a tour to America. Because of this and many internal and external conflicts in the band, they released the album Cold Lake. This album adopted many of the hair metal elements that were being used by many American metal bands at the time. This alienated their strong fanbase in Europe yet the album sold well in America. They soon released the album Vanity / Nemesis which combined the elements of Cold Lake and their earlier albums, but they still could not regain the popularity they had years before. Their final album they released before breaking up was Parched With Thirst I Am Dying, which contained unreleased material, re-recordings of older songs, studio versions. Their final album was to be titled Under Apollyon's Sun, but it never came to fruition. They eventually reunited in 2001 and began writing material for a new album, which resulted in Monotheist, a return to their original style, but much darker, with elements of Doom Metal. This was only short lived, because as of 2008, Tom and Martin decided to lay Celtic Frost to rest for good, with Martin's tragic passing on October 22nd, 2017 confirming it for good.


  • 1984 - Morbid Tales (EP) note 
  • 1985 - Emperor's Return (EP)
  • 1985 - To Mega Therion
  • 1986 - Tragic Serenades (EP) note 
  • 1987 - Into the Pandemonium
  • 1988 - Cold Lake
  • 1990 - Vanity/Nemesis
  • 2006 - Monotheist

This band contains examples of...

  • Album Intro Track: "Innocence and Wrath" is one of the most famous in metal, an epic, bombastic orchestral track that sets up the atmosphere of the album perfectly.
  • Cover Version: They have covered "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo, "This Island Earth" by Bryan Ferry and "Heroes" by David Bowie.
  • Darker and Edgier: Celtic Frost was heavier than pretty much every other metal band when they first formed, which ultimately led to the creation of black and death metal. Within the band's discography itself, Monotheist is this after the relatively lighter Cold Lake and Vanity/Nemesis, being a dark and gritty gothic metal record with Satanic lyrical themes.
  • Dramatic Timpani: Used on "Innocence and Wrath" and "Dawn of Megiddo".
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Innocence and Wrath" is a particularly bombastic example.
  • Epic Rocking: Most of their longer songs were 6 minutes long, but Monotheist takes it to a new level, with "Triptych: II. Synagoga Satanae" being the absolute longest, spanning at 14:23 minutes (and technically, it's only the second part of a longer three-part song!)
  • Grand Finale: "Triptych: Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale)", which also serves as a finale to Celtic Frost as a whole following their break up in 2008 and later on Martin's death in 2017.
  • Genre Shift: Their original sound was very similar to Venom black / thrash metal with some Death Metal elements. Into the Pandemonium was somewhat less dark and had avant-garde influences, Cold Lake was Glam Metal mixed with Goth Rock, Vanity/Nemesis was Thrash Metal and finally Monotheist was Gothic Metal and Doom Metal.
  • Goth: The band's aesthetic around the time of Monotheist (and arguably since Into the Pandaemonium).
  • Guttural Growler: Tom's vocals, most of the time.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tom and Martin. Tom even explained on his blog posts in regards to Martin that the two always were close and stayed friends despite Celtic Frost's break up, mainly due to Martin's constant needs to break away from the music industry. The final time Celtic Frost ended was simply because both felt the reunion ran its course and they felt the need to move on from the band. Tom has mas made that clear with his multiple tribute posts to his deceased band-mate and friend.
  • Heavy Mithril: They have a lot of fantasy influenced lyrics, particularly on To Mega Therion.
  • I Am the Band: Arguably Tom G. Warrior, as the frontman and primary composer of the band. Martin Eric Ain was also an important force in the band, but Tom was the only one with the band for its whole existence.
  • Large Ham: Tom's vocals are quite enthusiastic.
  • Lead Bassist: Martin Eric Ain is a type B and C.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From "Wine in My Hand".
    Third! From! The! Sun!
  • Rated M for Manly: Most of their music, but especially To Mega Therion, which has been described as "the musical equivalent of Conan the Barbarian".
  • Soprano and Gravel: Used in a few songs on Monotheist
    • Celtic Frost helped inspire the genre with a couple tracks from To Megatherion and Into the Pandaemonium, and the song "Return to the Eve" (along with Venom's "Welcome to Hell") may be among the earliest examples of this style of song.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In 2014, Tom Fischer and Martin Eric Ain were offered $140,000 to reform the band for an hour at Wacken Open Air. They immediately declined.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: The sections of the Requiem featured on multiple albums, as well as the bonus track, "Incantation Against You."
  • Start My Own: Tom formed Triptykon after they split up for good, while their final two guitarists also continued with music - Curt Bryant began a solo career in the 2010s making instrumental metal for video game soundtracks (most famously for Slain Back From Hell), and Erol Unala teamed with his fellow Monotheist alumni Franco Sesa to form Oath of Cranes, who released their debut album in 2023.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Martin on "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh" and "Triptych I:Tottengot", both from Monotheist.