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Celtic Frost - Cold Lake
Review: Arguably this is the nadir of Celtic Frost, in that not only did they (like all modern people, apparently) confuse form with substance and lapse into boring mainstream heavy metal, but they do so in a prosaic form that relies on a nearly unchanging mid-paced tempo over which the primary instrument is voice, as guitar riffs tend to involve repetitive strumming of chords that shift, rock-style, between tones slowly to convey a partially symmetric curve between verse and chorus.
The experiments in phrase and internal rhythm to riffs that made classic Celtic Frost great has become the fixed-position rhythm riffing and bluesy fills of blockhead hair metal. It resembles a hybrid between 1990s doom metal and early Van Halen, and subjects have also become tendentiously basic: normal life = boring, check out the other side -- which, if you look carefully (and this album doesn't) is an unrewarding version of the conventional in inversion. In the vinegar bubblegum vocals sometimes used for choruses, this incarnation of Celtic Frost is reminiscent of Voivod or the Sex Pistols, but has none of the distinctly self-explanatory whole composed of architectonic imagery and sound and style supporting a concept that those bands had, or older Celtic Frost had, for that matter. The entire album has an exhausted feel to it because it balances obvious quality songwriting with confused and poor concept, and ends up seeming like there was not enough energy to do more than adapt a generic concept to a modification of original themes; most bands have to spend a fortune on drugs to become this jaded and vitiated.
In the same way that asking John Milton to write a modern romance novel would produce hilariously bad results, this expressive metal band has made a cheesemetal album that manages to both mock the genre and itself by taking a dumb concept too seriously and in the height of confusion, finding a vehicle in its lack of direction. The sooner this goes out of print the better.