Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales review


272 users:
Band: Celtic Frost
Album: Morbid Tales
Release date: 1984

01. Into The Crypts Of Rays
02. Visions Of Mortality
03. Procreation (Of The Wicked)
04. Return To The Eve
05. Danse Macabre
06. Nocturnal Fear

Out of all the black metal pioneers of the 80s, I'd say that Celtic Frost's schtick has aged better than anyone else's. They weren't interested in the role of Satan's cheerleaders like, oh, say Venom, Bathory, Sodom and even Tom G. Warrior's previous group, Hellhammer. Those guys seemed more intent on coming off as evil as possible without much subtly, providing a good amount of unintentionally amusing moments. While Celtic Frost's lyrical content and image were pretty unique, mixing ideas from different ancient religions and forms of paganism. Not that it put them on any pedestal for maturity, but gave them an aura of mystery and mystique.

After the jump ship from Hellhammer, Martin Eric Ain and Warrior along with session drummer Stephen Priestly recorded the landmark debut in about a week. Keeping the energy and enthusiasm from iApocalyptic Raids, and showing they have new found maturity while evolving. The songs have variety within themselves. For example, "Dethroned Emperor" starts off as a sombre number with Black Sabbath influences. Then after a punkish breakdown, the song turns into a thrashy, Motörhead-like territory. While pretty raw in terms of production, you can hear the bass fairly often, and there's a pretty heavy and crushing sound present for the era. Songs like "Into the Crypts of Rays", "Morbid Tales", and "Nocturnal Fear" are, boisterous, fast paced headbangers done with plenty of vigour. Showing off their interest in building atmosphere and being theatrical in the form of "Dance Macabre" is a nice touch. Although somewhat juvenile, Morbid Tales avoids pretentiousness and boredom by simultaneously being dark and having a sense of fun. Tom's occasional trademark grunts of "ooh" and asking us "Are You Morbid?" on the title track makes the charismatic bastard pretty endearing.

While no one ever mistook Celtic Frost for Rush in terms of musical ability, their lasting influence is a testament to their vision and drive to be innovating. Other albums by other bands may have just as big a stake in shaping and creating extreme metal, but Morbid Tales was the first sign of true credibility.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 9

Written by Joey Jo Jo | 20.04.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 90 users
21.04.2010 - 02:25
Well written review. Celtic Frost's debut with Morbid Tales was the natural next step to take after Hellhammer, really.
21.04.2010 - 15:52
Account deleted
Love this album, Celtic Frost is amazing
30.04.2010 - 19:16
I got this album when it first came out and it has been a constant ever since. This release and Into Mega Therion are amazing records which should be in any collection.
01.05.2010 - 12:06
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Somehow this album was in our database as a full-length when in fact it is an EP. So changed it.
Originally it was a 6 track EP, but two tracks were added for the US market.

IN 1999 a further four tracks were added (that included the Human (intro)
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

01.05.2010 - 18:15
Account deleted
Best CF album, perfect
24.04.2014 - 05:05
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 01.05.2010 at 12:06

Somehow this album was in our database as a full-length when in fact it is an EP. So changed it.
Originally it was a 6 track EP, but two tracks were added for the US market.

IN 1999 a further four tracks were added (that included the Human (intro)

My first copy on cassette had the 'Human" intro. If 2 songs were added for the U.S. market that pretty much makes it an LP in the US. So not surprising that most myself included have always referred to "Morbid Tales" as a LP. Makes no difference!! It doesn't change the impact of early Celtic Frost. I still have all the original Frost releases up to "Cold Lake". The "Tragic Serenades" version of "Return to the Eve" is the best version of that song. I also think "The Emperor's Return" version of "Circle of the Tyrants" is a notch better than the 'To Mega Therion" version.

Advertise on Metal Storm

Hits total: 4074 | This month: 12