To Mega Therion
The third Celtic Frost release (after "Morbid Tales" and "Emperor's
Return"), and regarded by many as their quintessential work.
Beginning with "Innocence And Wrath" (an orchestrated intro which
gives hint to what Frost would eventually try to achieve with their
next album), you can tell that this is a much more "mature" Celtic
Frost, one that's become more sophisticated and much more focused...
but don't let the sombre feel of the track give you a false sense of
security, as the next song on offer ("The Usurper") happens to be one
of the more vicious tracks on "To Mega Therion". While nowhere near
as caustic sounding as the material from their previous output, it's
still a thrasher, and a damn fine one to boot - The drum work on this
song is exceptional, and Toms vocals, while not as guttural as before,
have a very powerful, authoritarian sound to them. "Jewel Throne"
begins next, and is hands down my favorite track off this album -
mid-paced in tempo, with some PHENOMENAL rhythms going on...it's a
simplistic enough progression, but has a groove that sucks you right
in before launching you into the more upbeat (quite quick actually)
middle section of the song, only to once again be dumped right back
where you started, leaving you wondering just what the hell happened.
Following this, we have "Dawn Of Meggido", one of the slower numbers
that exemplifies the overdrawn vibe of sorrow and oppression this
album caries throughout. It's a brilliant track, complete with kettle
drums and horns, and it features Tom turning in some of his most
potent vocal work to date (this man had a voice which could command
Armageddon itself). "Eternal Summer" is next, and after a brief slow
intro, kicks into gear at a more mid-paced speed for a bit - a good
song, but part of it sounds suspiciously like the track that follows
it - "Circle Of The Tyrants" (a redone version of the song from their
"Emperor's Return" album). "Circle..." is of course a classic slab of
primo Celtic Frost, and not much needs to be said about it, apart
from commenting on the fact that it's much thicker sounding on this
version (the entire album actually has a much fuller and thicker sound
than the earlier Frost material), and what it loses in energy from
the original it more than makes up for in vibe. "(Beyond The) North
Winds" is next, and to be honest, it doesn't really stand out much in
my opinion - but then again, half of the appeal of "To Mega Therion"
is just how tightly everything fits together, so this isn't a very
strong criticism as by doing so, the track lends itself to the overall
aura of the album. "Fainted Eyes" manages to interject some energy
back into the mix by working off Reed St.Marks excellent drum technique
(he really does an exceptional job on the album), and it also acts as
a catalyst to the next track, "Tears In A Prophet's Dream" - an
"ambient" piece in much the same vein as "Danse Macabre" (from
"Morbid Tales"), but much like the rest of this album, it's maturity
places it light years ahead of it's more simplistic counterpart.
Finally, we have "Necromantical Screams" closing up the album, and
it's my second favorite track off "To Mega Therion" - this is probably
due to the fact that it's based on an early Hellhammer song ("Buried
And Forgotten"), but the *TASETEFUL* use of female vocals during it's
slower section (along with some of the kettle drum work) really give
this song an eerie vibe and should not go unmentioned.
So there you have it, "To Mega Therion" in all it's glory. Of course
it goes without say that I'm going to recommend this album highly to
one and all, but especially to those of you who enjoy mid-tempo metal
that has a very strong "epic" feel to it...
© 1999 chorazaim