A couple of years ago (1996, to be more precise), Dwell Records released their unusually excellent "In memory Of...Celtic Frost". This was well before they figured out they could flog collections of lousy bands playing lousy versions of sufficiently famous originals and earn a fair (and very easy) buck. So when I heard of a new Celtic Frost tribute, this time released by Black Lotus records, my first reaction was one of indifference. "In Memory Of...Celtic Frost" was a classic tribute album, so who needed another?

As it turned out, it was I that needed another. Black Lotus have managed to get over a dozen of very decent Celtic Frost (and Hellhammer) covers by a bunch of pretty decent bands. There's Marduk ("Into the Crypts of Rays"), Dimmu Borgir ("Nocturnal Fear"), Necrophagia ("Triumph of Death") and Akercocke ("Mesmerized"). Grief of Emerald does a very atmospheric "Visual Aggression", Naer Mataron does a very extreme-ending version of "Return to the Eve". Necrophagia's "Triumph of Death" is one of the sick highlights. I could not have thought of a better band to do this song justice and possibly even surpass the original. Low point of the album (alas, there always is) is Carrier Flux's techno-Ministry kind of version of "Beyond the Northwinds", which might be very intense but I hate that crap. Loud Senseless Noise. The guitar solo in the very unusual, opera-suffused version of "Rex Irae" (by Order of the Ebon Hand) is also worth mentioning on account of its suckiness. These two smudges on the otherwise excellence of this tribute album cannot detract much from its appeal, though. A very enjoyable album for the Celtic Frost and Hellhammer fans of old who have since gone on to pastures blackened and deadened.

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Written August 2003


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