"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Celtic Frost - "Monotheist" (CD)

Celtic Frost - "Monotheist" CD cover image

"Monotheist" track listing:

1. Progeny
2. Ground
3. A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh
4. Down In Ashes
5. Os Abysmi Vel Daath
6. Obscured
7. Domain Of Decay
8. Ain Elohim
9. Totengott
10. Synagoga Satanae
11. Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale)

Reviewed by on December 2, 2007

"Never one to rest on his laurels, Tom Gabriel Fischer (Warrior), and Martin Ain have once again redefined themselves in away that is sure to appease the old Frost-heads as well as make him quite a few new disciples to the temple of Frost"

A lot of phrases come to mind when talking about bands doing reunion albums, or returning artists who have been away from the industry for long periods of time. Like washed-up has-beens, they lost their edge, their music sounds dated, and they are shades or shadows of their former selves. Well i am proud to say that after a 15 year streak of silence, Celtic Frost is back and I dare say no man will be able to use those terms in the description of their new album, "Monotheist." In actuality I feel that this album not only retains the essence of what long time fans know as Celtic Frost, but it moves beyond that to reveal a more versatile, more well rounded outing than anything else in their catalog. Sections of this album scream classic Celtic Frost while others are reminiscent of doom metal and goth, some even resembling a cross of Celtic Frost and Apollyun's Son. Never one to rest on his laurels, Tom Gabriel Fischer (Warrior), and Martin Ain have once again redefined themselves in away that is sure to appease the old frost heads as well as make him quite a few new disciples to the temple of Frost. This is it the blueprint that many other fledgling bands should follow; what "Monotheist" lacks in overall aggression, it makes up for in song writing, emotion, and in its overall presentation.

This disc is nothing shy of pure metal genius, from the opening riffs of "Progeny" to the cello-laden dirge of "Winter." This is the reunion album I have waited for since the end of the 80's underground metal movement. There were other reunion albums that have surfaced over the years, but only a few actually captured the essence of what that era was all about, and even fewer added what they have learned over the years and returned with something better. Candlemass was able to return in a fashion that was at least as good as they were in their heyday, as did Maiden with the return of Bruce Dickinson to the fold, but bands like Venom and Celtic Frost reinvented themselves to return with something not only fresh but in its own way better than some of the works that preceded it. If you doubt this, one only has to jump forward to track three, "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh." This track is a testimonial to their willingness to change. Besides being one of the best Celtic Frost tracks to date, it also shows for the first time the powerful vocal abilities of Ain, which you will find spread throughout the disc. Another unexpected gem on this album is the gothic-metal inspired "Obscured" and "Drown In Ashes." In many ways, Celtic Frost combine the best aspects of doom and goth metal into something somewhat unique to them, but better than a lot of bands in those same genres at the same time. Don't worry though, there is enough old school CF for the masses to remain satiated, with tracks such as "Os Abysmi Vel Daath" and "Progeny." Now for the unfortunate news: if you were expecting Tom and crew to follow some cookie cutter formula, and re-release "To Mega Therion" or "Morbid Tales" again, you will be let down. This album is in no way a re-issue, but instead is a totally new offering by a great band which has been underrated most of its career.

Highs: What makes this album shine is the versatility of the disk, and how well it moves back and forth between three distinct genre's of metal

Lows: A couple of song intros were just a tad longer than i would have liked, but even with that being said, they were not overly drawn out

Bottom line: There are only a few albums that that come about that are monumental enough to be considered a true must have; for old school underground metal fans, this is that album.

Rated 5.0 out of 5 skulls
5.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)