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Celtic Frost - Nemesis of Power
Review: Celtic Frost summarizes and updates a genre just dying as if to resurrect it; as Megadeth-styled speed metal sold out and then collapsed into its own excesses, Celtic Frost took the primal material behind Megadeth, Prong and Exodus and fused it into a more diversely articulate voice of Eurometal. Citations here include 60s prog, hardcore punk, gothic and doom, mixed on top of a firm verse-chorus foundation of speed metal riffing which diverges into more theatrical and occult-sounding riffs.
These songs are reminiscent of Monotheist in their more mainstream aspects, especially the use of syncopated hard stops with muffled strums, but stand on their own despite citations from larger bands like Metallica and Slayer. These demos were never intended for public release, which may explain why the band felt so free to do something so simultaneously commercial and subversive. Vocals are like Dave Mustaine in Def Leppard and ooze the kind of obsession with the vinyl clad overblown that made Cold Lake such a nightmare, but have a similarly expanded range of harmony and melodic hook.
However, the price is that it's more like the other stuff at the time, and fades into the background, although the Prong-ish chord progressions and tempo changes like a leaping cat in a forest fire throw some spirit back into the mix. If anything, it shows Tom Warrior under too much influence from his hired hands, but with his essential power as an artist shining through, suggesting again that smart people should be sent to isolated studios and left alone until they come up with something that isn't crap.
The "Carmina Burana" rendered on drums and guitars in gothic metal style is intriguing, but somewhat overblown, and makes us wonder why metal bands are good with soundtracks and pop classical but not hard classical like Beethoven or Wagner. This demo wavers on the line, but repeated listens thrust forward its good qualities while the others, generic, fade into the comfortable oblivion of memory for repetitive archetypes.