Monday, June 15, 2009

Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion (1985)

I wrote some music reviews for exciting current webzine Jettison Quarterly; click through for a rad interface, a really interesting Fischerspooner interview, and some of my inimitable writing. While you're at it, why not subscribe and have the next issue hand-emailed to your inbox, and also subscribe to my feed too because my numbers have been climbing recently and I'd like to keep it that way. Here's an outtake that just happens to be about one of my all time favorite albums:

There was a time when punk and metal were churning in a filthy, viscous primordial ooze with this lithe behemoth of a record lurking just beneath the surface. Celtic Frost took the chromatic, syncopated riffing of Discharge, dragged it down to the depths in their earlier incarnation as Hellhammer, and rose again with their own sliding power chord method that stands out immediately on all of their releases.

Melodies move through half-steps, syncopating emphasis in an intuition-defying rhythmic framework. Each phrase has its own conflicts and resolutions, as narratives are relentlessly pushed forward by a dizzying command of atonal melody and rhythmic intuition. Themes are created, then endlessly varied in the classical tradition. Sprawling song structures alternate between the near-ambient D-beat and the plodding Black Sabbath dirge, until all forces inevitably focus on a single theme as Tom G Warrior delivers his unparalleled primal prayers.

Slower tempos allow Celtic Frost to utilize longer phrases that move through chords like geologic eras. Planets collide and new forms of life evolve as each riff lives and dies on a scale that dwarfs individual human experience.

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Dave G said...

I remember driving around in my 1976 Ford Thunderbird back in the day blasting this shit as loud as it would go hahaha.

Skully said...

Nice blog, you really know your music!

RyGar said...

Very nice. I like your blog a lot, but I wish I knew about music in the technical sense. Sure, I've been banging out crappy noise on guitars and drums for years, but fuck if I know anything about pentatonic scale, or arpeggio's. Nope, it's all by ear for me, and I may be tone-deaf. I once had an argument with a co-worker - he stated that unless you were able to read and write music, you could never create anything technically challenging (likesay, the Locust or Dillenger Escape Plan). I disagree, if you get the right group of people, or even the right mindset when solo, you can feed off of each other and come to an understanding of irregular time signatures, tempo shifts, and start/stops. What do you think?

Todd said...

RyGar, I too was completely ignorant of legitimate musical theory until maybe a year and a half ago. That said, I made the most obnoxiously technical music of my life when I was in high school, partially as a youthful backlash against the "rules" of 4/4 time and minor key melodies.

Theory exists as a useful communication vehicle and a helpful way of organizing concepts in one's own mind, but music exists independent of theory.

Todd said...

Also, I like your blog, linked it up!

RyGar said...

Thanks for weighing in. I only became aware of the technical side of things when I decided to actually write a solo, and not just make it up every time(poorly and out of key). Thanks for the link as well.