Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium (1987)

Into the Pandemonium is the second L.P. from Celtic Frost, released by Noise Records in November 1987. While some consider this a part of the band's "classic era", the truth is that this is the point where the band became completely worthless. To Mega Therion had its problems, but the good outweighed the bad, for the most part. However, one must really struggle to find any redeeming qualities about Into the Pandemonium. It's called "avant-garde", by those who support this abomination. In reality, it represents a total lack of direction or motivation.

The album begins on a negative note, which is kind of appropriate as it lets the listener know what to expect. In this case, it serves as a warning to turn this off and toss it in the nearest garbage can. "Mexican Radio" is a terrible song and shouldn't have been covered, but the fact that they insisted on starting the record out with this abomination, rather than burying it somewhere on Side B, is the first of many mistakes.

The next largest complaint would have to be the atrocious vocal delivery of Tom Warrior. Songs like "Mesmerized" have half-decent riffs ruined by his bloody awful attempts to sing. His vocals were always one of the low points of Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost, not really being dark or evil enough to suit the music, but here it defies all logic. He sounds like a whore being anally raped in a back alley somewhere. He couldn't sound any weaker if he tried. He doesn't utilize this style the entire time, but far too much. One has to wonder what the hell he was thinking.

As for the music, there are some brief flashes of the old Celtic Frost, though still seeming tame and easier to digest for all of the goth kids that they were, obviously, trying to appeal to at the time. Songs like "Inner Sanctum" seem good, compared to the horrid filth that they're mixed in with; however, even the best songs on this record would be singled out as the weakest ones, had they appeared on Morbid Tales or Emperor's Return. Listening to "Sorrows of the Moon", I have to think to myself that, if they had sought out a new vocalist, maybe this 'artistic vision' would have been better realized. But, of course, Tom's vocals give the mental image of someone sitting in a dark corner, crying and applying eyeliner while listening to The Cure. "Babylon Fell" sounds like a rejected track from To Mega Therion, more or less. And, naturally, it features more of Tom's whining vocals. However, this isn't the worst offense presented here.

Somehow, one of the forefathers of Black and Death Metal decided that it was appropriate to use dance beats, in the middle of the record. "One in Their Pride" is completely useless and only goes to show that the members of this band were completely out of touch with their roots; no more Venom or Black Sabbath, it appears. As for "I Won't Dance"... nothing can be said to convey how horrible this is, though some irony can be pointed out regarding the title of this song and the sound of the previous one.

Into the Pandemonium is offensive to the ears, and it marks the moment where Celtic Frost lost all credibility. For anyone that was surprised by the pure feces released on the Cold Lake album, they must not have heard this one first, since the drop in quality was already quite evident. If you are a fan of Celtic Frost (or just someone with good taste, in general), and you have been fortunate enough to not have heard this yet, do yourself a favour and avoid this at all costs. It is utterly worthless and you're better off to just flush your money straight down the toilet. While there are a few passable riffs, you are better off listening to an album that is actually good.