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Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion (Reissue) Award winner

Celtic Frost
To Mega Therion (Reissue)
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 23 June 2017, 8:34 AM

To be ahead of the time you are living can be a very good thing, but in Metal, there are always a bunch of fools that complain (and keep doing it) for years due the musical evolution of the bands they love. But the evolutions we see and hear are what create musical possibilities that many fans seems to never understand. But a simple question: what would be of Metal as a whole style without “To Mega Therion”, the first full-length of the Swiss trio CELTIC FROST?

Before the answer could be given, it’s necessary to explain what is to the album: the trio evolved to a more elaborated format, without leaving the features that were shown on their previous EPs (“Morbid Tales” and “Emperor’s Return”). Now, the presence of keyboards, French horns (played by Wolf Bender on “Innocence and Wrath”, “Dawn of Megiddo” and “Necromantical Screams”), opera female vocals (done by Claudia-Maria Mokri on “The Usurper”, “Circle of the Tyrants” and “Necromantical Screams”) and effects (by Horst Müller and Urs Sprenger on “Tears on a Prophet’s Dream”) gives a different and elegant outfit to CELTIC FROST usual aggressiveness on fast moments and bitterness on slow paces tempos. It’s different, new and opened ways to many Death Metal and Black Metal bands years before its release (originally, “To Mega Therion” came to the world on 27 October, 1985).

The sound production of “To Mega Therion” was done by Horst Müller, and on this reissue, the re-mastering was done by the hands of Walter Schmid that made the album sounds like a thunder, a newborn release, fresh and full of life. The better part: heavy and thunderous, the album sounds clear as well, with very good instrumental tunes. The eponymous cover is a creation of the artist H. R. Giger, called “Satan I”, and it frightened and made many fans (and their parents) have nightmares. The layout and typography by Urs Sprenger is truly beautiful. There are no best moments on “To Mega Therion” (that means “The Great Beast” on Greek, maybe a citation for the work of Aleister Crowley). It’s the perfect blend of aggressive harsh Death Metal parts with Wagnerian classic aesthetics, extremely slow pace tempos and very good technique.

As a reference, you can start to enjoy this album, I strongly recommend you to pay attention to the rhythmic changes presented on “The Usurper” (very good vocals, and a perfect work from bass guitar and drums), the Wagnerian/Hyborian scent presented on “Jewel Throne” (here, the down pace tempos are very good, showing a great work of guitar riffs), the slow funeral with a bitter touch on guitars on “Dawn of Megiddo”, the great classic of aggressiveness called “Circle of the Tyrants” (filled with musical influences from VENOM and MOTORHEAD, but the elegant outfit comes from the tempo changes and very good opera vocals), the nasty classical influenced outfit of “Beyond (The North Winds)”, and the unforgettable and raw slow tempos of “Necromantical Screams” (this female vocals is seductive, along with very good chorus and great grunts).

But on this version on “To Mega Therion”, there are lovely bonus tracks: the rawer version for “Circle of the Tyrants”, the brutal and nasty ones called “Visual Aggression” and “Suicidal Winds” (this one still holds some Hardcore/Punk Rock influences), the grasping and nasty “Journey Into Fear” (a song that was released only on the compilation “Parched with Thirst Am I and Dying”, of 1992), 1988 remixed version of “Visual Aggression”, and a version recorded during a studio jam on 1985 of “Return to the Eve”, presented on the Single “Tragic Serenades” with some vocals parts done by the drummer Reed St. Mark.

The answer for my previous question is: without “To Mega Therion”, Extreme Metal genres would be boring sometimes. I don’t need to say that “To Mega Therion” is a classic, because time is the witness of my words…

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Innocence and Wrath (intro)
2. The Usurper
3. Jewel Throne
4. Dawn of Megiddo
5. Eternal Summer
6. Circle of the Tyrants
7. (Beyond the) North Winds
8. Fainted Eyes
9. Tears in a Prophet’s Dream
10. Necromantical Screams
11. Circle of the Tyrants (Emperor's Return EP)
12. Visual Aggression (Emperor's Return EP)
13. Suicidal Winds (Emperor's Return EP)
14. Journey Into Fear (Emperor's Return EP Recording Sessions)
15. Visual Aggression (1988 Remix)
16. Return to the Eve (1985 Studio Jam)
Tom G. Warrior - Vocals, guitars, effects
Dominic Steiner - Bass, additional vocals, bass effects
Reed St. Mark - Drums, percussion
Record Label: BMG


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Edited 08 December 2022

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