Celtic Frost
Parched With Thirst Am I and Dying

Basically a compilation issued shortly before the demise of Celtic Frost, "Parched With Thirst Am I and Dying" may be worth grabbing depending on your level of enthusiasm for the patron saints of Swiss noise. The tracks are as follows :

1) Idols Of Chagrin - one of the "new" songs on this CD, but it sounds suspiciously like it was taken from the "Vanity/Nemesis" sessions. A sub-standard and bland track by most accounts.

2) A Descent To Babylon (Babylon Asleep) - B-side from the "Wine In My Hand" EP. This is another track from the "Vanity/Nemesis" period, so you pretty much know what to expect.

3) Return To The Eve - this is labelled as the "1985 Studio Jam" version...I'm not 100% positive, but I believe this is the same version that appeared on the "Tragic Serenades" EP. It's a much more "upbeat" version than the original, and one of the better tracks on this CD, although some might find the "silliness" factor too high for their tastes - it basically sounds like Tom's taking the piss out of the song by over stressing his stereotypical "HEY!!!" and "OOOHH!" throughout the track.

4) Juices Like Wine - a re-recorded version of a song which originally appeared on "Cold Lake". It sounds a HELL of a lot better than the original, and the main guitar riff actually has some balls to it - Tom even tones down the obnoxious vocals from the original (except during the chorus, which will make any self respecting Frost fan cringe in horror).

5) The Inevitable Factor - one of the previously unreleased tracks on offer, taken from the "Into The Pandemonium" sessions. I personally like it, but I know a lot of older Frost fans despised this period almost as much as the "Cold Lake" stuff..

6) The Heart Beneath - identical to the version which appeared on the "Vanity/Nemesis" CD. One of the better songs from that release, but that's like saying "well, it was one of the better headaches I've had this year"...

7) Cherry Orchards - the "radio edit" of the track from "Cold Lake". The single most embarrassing song Celtic Frost has ever recorded. It just doesn't get any gayer than this (although the spoken female vocals still give me a hard-on when I hear them)...

8) Tristesses De La Lune - I didn't notice any difference from the original "Into The Pandemonium" version. A brilliant track, mostly based on string work with some really well done spoken female vocals (in French no less).

9) Wings Of Solitude - yet *another* "Vanity/Nemesis" track. Again, one of the better songs from that album, but most of it was so generic it was hard to tell the songs apart. Once again, good spoken female vocals almost save the day...

10) The Usurper - says "re-recorded 1986", and once again I have my suspicions this might be the same version that appeared on the "Tragic Serenades" EP (all those new versions had this really "live" feel to them, and Tom really doing the grunts and whatnot to excess). As with the version of "Return To The Eve" on this CD, it's got a massively "rocking" feel to it. Great track, but I still prefer the original...

11) Journey Into Fear - here we go, the *single* most important track to buy this compilation for. I remember demos of this being traded around when it came out - this is prime quality "Morbid Tales"/"Emperor's Return" era Celtic Frost. A great track, up-tempo and thrashy in feel. Nice to see it finally got released.

12) Downtown Hanoi - re-recorded version of the track from "Cold Lake" (just like track 4 on this compilation). Once again, the gay-factor of the original has been heavily reduced, but it remains a shit song.

13) Circle Of The Tyrants - same version as on the "To Mega Therion" CD. A classic track that needs no description.

14) In The Chapel In The Moonlight - and here we have Tom Warrior torturing us once again with another of his utterly crap cover versions, this time (of all things) a Frank Sinatra song. He certainly made it hard to be a Celtic Frost fan at timed, eh ? Still, out of all the covers Celtic Frost has done, this is the least annoying.

15) I Won't Dance (The Elders Orient) - says it's the radio edit. I didn't notice any major differences except for the fact that it's 41 seconds shorter than the original. There's one question that keeps nagging me about the two radio-edits on this CD : did Tom actually *think* he was going to score commercial radio airplay ? I had no idea crack was that widely available in Switzerland...

16) The Name Of The Bride - christ, yet ANOTHER fucking "Vanity/Nemesis" track. Once again, sounds the same as the original version...which means it sucks.

17) Mexican Radio - the "1991 Studio Jam" version. Better than the original recording off "Into The Pandemonium", but only because they've decided to take the piss out of the song (well, it SOUNDS like they did, otherwise, they've gotten REALLY sad) and so it doesn't seem like such blasphemy anymore. Like I said, better than the original, but lets not kid ourselves - it's CRAP.

18) Under Apollyon's Sun - wrapping things up, we have another of the "new" songs. As with the CD opener ("Idols Of Chagrin"), it doesn't sound that far off from the "Vanity/Nemesis" period. Oh well, at least they broke up and won't be abusing the Celtic Frost name any longer...

So there we have it : a couple of gems in the midst of a lot of shit. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on the early Frost material and far less of the "Vanity/Nemesis" period, but what can you do - it would have been cool if they had included the "studio jam" version of "Jewel Throne" from "Tragic Serenades", cause if I'm correct about the other two songs on this ("The Usurper" and "Return To The Eve"), that would have made it possible to actually own that entire release on CD. I suppose if you're a Celtic Frost fanatic, this is worth grabbing (but then again, if you're a Celtic Frost fanatic, you probably already DO own this) - all others would be better off picking up one of the first two CDs ("Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return" or "To Mega Therion") instead, because even as a retrospective look at the history of Celtic Frost, this CD fails due to it's lack of emphasis on the bands more important early period...

1999 chorazaim