"Rimmer: Is that painting yours? It's rubbish.
Lister: You're standing in front of a mirror."
"Red Dwarf I"
- or -
RELEASING FROM A LAYER OF DUST SOMETHING
PROBABLY BESNIFFLED BY RATS AND, RATHER LIKELY, MOTH-BENIBBLED
(AND IN THIS CASE PROBABLY ALSO EVEN ABANDONED BY SATAN)
by Richard Karsmakers
In the mid eighties I was on school and one of the people that I
most wanted to be friends with was called...what was he called
again? Can't for the life of me recall. I do know he was into
heavy metal of a kind that was a lot more extreme than what I was
into. I guess I was still very much into Kiss and Saxon and I had
barely been introduced to Venom. I was still getting used to
The mid eighties were a time of important developments in the
heavy metal scene. The year 1983 brought forth memorable albums
such as Mercyful Fate's "Melissa", Iron Maiden's "Piece of Mind",
Saxon's "Power and the Glory", Queensryche's self-titled debut
EP, ZZ Top's "Eliminator" and, of course, Metallica's "Kill 'Em
All". But let us please not forget Hellhammer, who in that year
released their "Death Fiend" and "Triumph of Death" demos, which
would eventually appear on their "Apocalyptic Raids" EP, released
on Noise Records, one year later. At that time, the band
consisted of Satanic Slaughter (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior,
vocals and guitar), Savage Damage (a.k.a. Martin Ain, bass) and
Bloodhunter (a.k.a. Bruce Day, drums) with the aid of another
guitarist as a sideman. According to the "Kerrang Heavy Metal
Direktory", "[Hellhammer] practically invented Death Metal - or
sounded like shit, depending on your point of view", and they
were an "almost universally deplauded Gothic Metal Outfit".
I beg to differ.
The "Apocalyptic Raids" EP, boasting songs like "The Third of
the Storms", "Massacra", "Triumph of Death" and "Horus/Aggressor"
was a milestone in dark heavy metal. It all sounded immensely
heavy and that was exactly the thing I wanted to go deeper into.
And depth there was, for sure, though not lyrically or musically.
Instead there formed itself a deep abyss of doom and the occult,
a pit into which the listener was aurally cast and never
In 1984, Tom G. Warrior and Martin Ain hired drummer Stephen
Priestly and formed Celtic Frost. "Morbid Tales" was the name of
their first EP, soon followed by "Emperor's Return", another EP
(now with Mark St. Reed on drums). The latter featured the death
metal classic, "Circle of the Tyrants", later covered by
Florida's Obituary on their monumental "Cause of Death" album.
I am not at all familiar with what CF did after "Emperor's
Return". They did at least a few albums among which, apparently,
a semi-commercial glam image thing called "Cold Lake" which lost
them a lot of fans.
I can't really explain why I seriously began to like this music.
Its darkness, perhaps? Or its deeply occult imagery? All I know
is that, occasionally, the need still becrawls me to listen to
that old EP (released on CD in 1990 with two old compilation
tracks, "Revelations of Doom" and "Messiah") and the Celtic Frost
debut EPs (both released on one CD). I hum along, doing whatever
I am doing, and bang my head softly. Sometimes I take up my
guitar, crank up the volume and turn the distort to its most
extreme, to find myself playing along almost flawlessly with the
simple riffing. The bass always sounds really heavy, and Tom G.
Warrior has a great death metal voice. It's quite amazing what
music you can make with simple chords. Without a doubt,
Hellhammer/CF are the Black Sabbath of death metal, albeit little
heard of. They are quite legendary in their particular way, and I
hold the opinion that no person can call himself/herself a true
death metal fan if he has not at least checked out these albums
For those into trivia: Somewhere in 1988, Stefan and me recorded
a Crazy Audio Tape for the Nutty Norwegians which featured Celtic
Frost's "Danse Macabre" with us crying and screaming atop it.
If you want to check out one of the most cult death metal bands
of the mid eighties, force-feed yourself these Hellhammer and
Celtic Frost albums. I truly like them myself, and there's
nothing quite like this music to get you out of a depression or
something. There are really too many good albums to limit myself
to the "desert island with only five CDs" thing, but especially
"Morbid Tales / Emperor's Return" would be among the CDs that I
would most feel bad about leaving behind.
RELEVANT DISCOGRAPHIC BITS:
Hellhammer - "Apocalyptic Raids 1990 A.D." (Noise Records WK
Celtic Frost - "Morbid Tales / Emperor's Return" (Noise Records
WK 44450), 1988.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.