The "Morbid Tales" EP (1984) was the first release of pioneering first wave black metal band Celtic Frost, following the split up of Hellhammer. The line-up was Tom G. Warrior (guitar/vocals), Martin Eric Ain (bass), and Stephen Priestly (drums). In 1985 their second release was an EP called "Emperor's Return". Stephen Priestly was replaced on drums by Reed St. Mark.
The excellent cover art on "Emperor's Return" was done by Phil Lawvere. Like Ed Repka, he did artwork for various album covers, mostly metal bands, including Kreator's "Endless Pain", "Terrible Certainty", and "Pleasure to Kill", as well as Vendetta's "Go and Live...Stay and Die". This CD I'm reviewing combines both the "Morbid Tales" and "Emperor's Return" EPs. It includes such classic songs as "Into the Crypts of Rays" (with lyrics based on the deeds of the infamous French aristocrat Gilles de Rais), the doom-laden metal masterpiece that is "Procreation (of the Wicked)", and the eerie horror movie atmospherics of "Danse Macabre" (the twisted-sounding lullaby voices in this track remind me of something out of a Dario Argento film). And of course you can't forget tracks like "Circle of the Tyrants" and "Dethroned Emperor". Whether you like doom metal, black metal, thrash metal, or death metal, Celtic Frost was a huge influence on all these emerging genres; and for those not familiar with them, this is the best place to start. An essential addition to any metal collection.
Celtic Frost - Into the Crypts of Rays (Live 1985)
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales/Emperor's Return (1984/1985) Rating:
"Influential Metal Classic"