|Review: Celtic Frost - Monotheist|
Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Gothic Death/Doom
Review online: September 15, 2006
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 3.45/5 (68.96%) (67 Votes)
Well, it's been a hell of a long wait, but 16 years after 'Vanity/Nemesis' comes a new Celtic Frost release. I was as uncertain as the next man as to a reason for its existence, mainly due to the number of total failures which have saturated our ears from once great bands who notoriously go on to piss all over their legacy.
Luckily for Celtic Frost, they seem to have pulled it off without dishonouring their (mostly) beloved back catalogue. Monotheist to me is the logical evolution for the band in the year 2006, continuing from where most fans left off before the abortion that was 'Cold Lake', but also I'm happy to say completely 100% different to what I was expecting at the same time.
Opening with feedback and a trademark Tom G Warrior 'Ugh!' dirty down-tuned almost doom-like guitars signal the rejuvenation of the band into a new phase of existence. Not relying on simply bludgeoning the listener into oblivion, Tom G & Co have created an album where a harsh, malevolent aura overrides the album's entirety, sucking you in for the full 70 plus minutes, enchanting you to a murky region of the band's collective minds. Encompassing doom laden passages with female vocals, the usual obscure avantgarde nuances and slow 'living dead' pulsating riffage (not to mention an overall cavernous sound thanks in part to the sterling production job by Peter Tägtgren), Monotheist really has hit the spot for me.
This is most notable on songs such as the divine 'Obscured', which comes on similarly to My Dying Bride or even Godflesh at many a point, and the crushing opener 'Progeny' – two songs which are like night and day, but still sound perfectly comfortable together on the same album.
The 3 years of writing really has paid off into an overwhelming experience of carefully put together, much pawed over and scrutinized moody and damn heavy metal. Monotheist manages to be both calming and uplifting, as well as droning and relentlessly serrated within a matter of seconds, an impressive achievement for any band, let alone one that has just released their first album in 16 years!
The fact that the band has no doubt ingested ideas from such present day bands as Sunn 0))) and Earth in the droning atmosphere department has certainly done the band no harm, merely keeping Celtic Frost fresh and inventive, rather than relying on past glories to attempt re-kindle some sort of spark.
If you approach this album with a closed mind (i.e. comparing it to their first releases and moaning about how much of a dick Tom G Warrior is etc. ad infinitum) no doubt many of you out there will think this is a heap of total unadulterated crap. Fair enough, go listen to 'Circle of the Tyrants' on repeat. But if you of an open minded condition, and especially if you are like I was in the way of not expecting much from the album, you'll be very pleasantly surprised once checking this out.
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