TOM G. WARRIOR Remarks On Recently Released CELTIC FROST Box Set “Danse Macabre”, Their Original Mission of Continual Innovation, And The Difficulties In Gaining Acceptance For Their Music In Their Home Country: “Anything In The Arts (In Switzerland) Is Not Considered A Serious Occupation.”

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When one contemplates the concept of extreme metal, the most common question other than whether black, death or grindcore can claim to be the closest to the fringe would be: Where did this phenomenon first take root? For many the answer would be that all roads point to Venom or Motorhead, but the truth is a bit less particular and reveals a collective movement of bands throughout the 80s that further pushed the envelope towards where things have ended up today. But regardless to the number of bands that can be cited as true innovators, the pivotal role that Switzerland-born projects Hellhammer and Celtic Frost played in the process is beyond a trace of doubt, and in recent years there has been a heightened interest in the accomplishments of the latter that has resulted in the release of a comprehensive box set courtesy of Noise Records in “Danse Macabre,” covering every studio effort between the band’s 1984 inception and their creative peak circa 1987.

Though in similar fashion to the prior outfit Hellhammer the initial result of Celtic Frost’s efforts was a more clearly defined representation of what would become death metal, the band’s primary focus was seeking after broader horizons, which would come to redefine the metal genre even as it was still being codified. The early strides made with 1984 EP “Morbid Tales” and its 1985 successor “Emperor’s Return” would present a new level of extreme aggression that would prove equally as consequential as the ones made at around the same time by Slayer’s “Hell Awaits,” Possessed’s “Seven Churches” and Bathory’s pivotal eponymous debut. Yet it would be via a rapid evolutionary pace that their first studio LP “To Mega Therion” and particularly their sophomore full length “Into The Pandemonium” that Celtic Frost would venture into uncharted waters not only for metal’s newly birthed extreme variant, but for the whole movement as an assortment of outside influences from Classical, Jazz and Industrial music would be spliced into their raw and vital sonic template, blazing trails that would still prove novel as far off as a decade later.

All of the aforementioned accomplishments in the recording studio have been restored in physical form via the recently released box set in question courtesy of Celtic Frost’s original label Noise Records, which was itself inspired by a smaller box set put together a couple years prior in “The Sign Of The Usurper” via the smaller label Darkness Shall Rise Productions, underscoring the organic push behind the revival in interest for the band’s seminal works. Those whom seek to own this auspicious piece of metal’s expansive history will also become privy to a newly restored recording of what is dubbed the Grave Hill Bunker Rehearsals, providing a bird’s eye view into several of the band’s early works while in their infancy, to speak nothing for a plethora of unique photography chronicling the time period where this legendary music went from a collection of ideas into the sound that would come to define much of what constitutes the metal underground, as well as some of what has since achieved varying degrees of mainstream interest.

Though some might see him as a diabolical figure veiled in extreme metal mystique, guitarist and co-founder Thomas Gabriel Fischer (known by his stage name Tom G. Warrior) proved an approachable and good humored man with a ready treasure trove of knowledge. Sonic Perspectives associate Jonathan Smith caught up with him earlier to explore the creative process that brought Celtic Frost from the hills of Switzerland to the waiting world, as well as ponder how the metal scene has changed since its heyday in the 80s and a number of other tangential topics from his current symphonic project Triptykon and his touring band Triumph Of Death, which continues to bring the early work of Hellhammer to the next generation. With tour dates for both projects announced and a scene that is continuing to discover the origins of metal’s darkest corners, it’s safe to say that the story is far from over, and “Danse Macabre” is sure to stand as its most comprehensive anthology. For more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on FacebookFlipboard and Twitter and  subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.


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