Celtic Frost - Cold Lake review
01. Human (Intro)
02. Seduce Me Tonight
03. Petty Obsession
04. (Once) They Were Eagles
05. Cherry Orchards
06. Juices Like Wine
07. Little Velvet
08. Blood On Kisses
09. Downtown Hanoi
10. Dance Sleazy
11. Roses Without Thorns
12. Tease Me
13. Mexican Radio [new version]
In a genre where profanity and lyrics about violence is rather common, there are still some unmentionable things which offend the metal legions. Celtic Frost's Cold Lake is one of these unmentionables. It is regarded as one of metal's worst abominations, sharing a place in a pantheon of rubbish alongside such luminaries as Lulu, Load, Risk, Illud Divinum Insanus and The Unspoken King.
But what happens if we strip away Celtic Frost's earlier and later endeavours and legacy and view Cold Lake on its own? Firstly, contrary to popular belief, the music is not glam metal. This album doesn't have much to do with the likes of Ratt, Poison or even the heavier moments of Twisted Sister or Mötley Crüe. Instead, the music is mid-paced dirty thrash tinged heavy metal with punky vocals. The production is still quite crusty and there is certainly no polished glam metal sheen here. But to be fair, some of the lyrics are on the glam metal side of things. In some ways the albums sounds too old for 1988 since the riff structure and overall sound harkens more to early 1980s NWOBHM.
But then the question arises: is it good? And the answer is: for the most part it's not too bad. In fact, bits of it are quite good for 1980s heavy metal.
For example, "(Once) They Were Eagles" has a nice driving riff, a catchy chorus and a great little solo. Also "Cherry Orchards", which has a massive riff, some nice fat bass and some appropriately slutty female vocals. Even "Dance Sleazy" is a bit of fun with lots of archetypal chug riffs. There are many other cool moments too if you like the 1980's riffs. Some elements could have been better; the intro for example is downright irritating. And Tom Warrior's slightly raspy clean vocals aren't the greatest, but then again, they never have been. At times they grate, but they have done so on other releases before. The lyrics are dismal for the most part.
Some songs are quite poor; "Blood On Kisses" sounds like a meager version of some of Anvil's mediocre modern moments, but is generally inoffensive enough to allow continued listening. But even though the album does run out of steam closer to the end, Cold Lake is far more consistent than the schizophrenic, and in my opinion seriously flawed, Into The Pandemonium. The at times strained clean vocals and lame lyrics aren't that far removed from what Celtic Frost had done in the past either.
Don't listen to the album if you want proto-black or avantgarde metal. Certainly don't listen to if you have expectations of what Celtic Frost is meant to sound like. Listen to it if you want a sleazy, gritty and thrashy heavy metal album with some cool riffs.
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