Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion (1985)Release ID: 926

Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion (1985) Cover
Shadowdoom9 (Andi) Shadowdoom9 (Andi) / June 09, 2020 / Comments 2 / 1

Celtic Frost was one of the most diversely stylistic metal bands to start in the 80s. First was their black/death-influencing thrasher To Mega Therion, then they released the avant-garde Into the Pandemonium, followed by the glam-infected Cold Lake. They released a gothic-influenced thrash album Vanity/Nemesis before splitting up, and later reformed for one more extreme doom album Monotheist. Since I'm listening to Mega Therion to settle a DIS vs DAT debate, let's get right into the review!

Heading right to the point, To Mega Therion (The Great Beast) is actually one of the best 80s metal albums I've heard. I'm still not very tolerant to albums that old nor that obscenely extreme, but I can see why people consider this the most fascinating Celtic Frost album. However, there are some things to argue about...

The pompous intro "Innocence and Wrath" starts the album with a doom-ish march with background brass, specifically french horns. Perhaps that part of the inspiration for Therion, the band who got their name from this album. Then kicks off the sinister fast pace of "The Usurper". That song and its aforementioned intro very well beat other openings of albums like Into the Pandemonium. Next track "Jewel Throne" has chord patterns to reflect the balance of primal composition against riffs of thrash energy and muscular drum groove intensity. I'm sure there are many other great thrash examples throughout the decades that followed, but a true thrashy metalhead would bang their head and swing their fists to those interestingly brutal riffs. I'm not even a fan old-school dark thrash metal and I'm already doing that!

With a song title like "Dawn of Megiddo", you know how well Celtic Frost would attack. The song itself once again has the strange french horns. "Eternal Summer" continues the chord balance between primal and despair. "Circle of the Tyrants" pumps you up with apocalyptic heaviness. "(Beyond the) North Winds" needs a little time for you to really see its full potential as mid-tempo-ish piece that's absolutely underrated compared to Metallica. The upbeat ghost-like guitar leads in the bridge give the song its special scent that would inspire later extreme metal bands.

"Fainted Eyes" is an aggressive piece of heavy shock that works as a black metal prototype song, once again having its apocalyptic heaviness. "Tears in a Prophet's Dream" is an extravagant yet incomprehensible sound collage that wouldn't blow any minds. Finally we come to the gigantic closer "Necromantical Screams" complete with horns, timpani, and female vocals without neglecting the morbid heavy black thrash. OK, that has to be what inspired Therion!

Was this review convincing enough for anyone who hasn't listened to this 1985 classic to do so? Either way, you definitely don't wanna miss out on its highlights (see below) for their best extreme delivery. This important album needs more attention! Sadly, Celtic Frost would never reach the brilliance of this album ever again.... AAAARRRGGH!!!!

Favorites: "The Usurper", "Jewel Throne", "(Beyond the) North Winds", "Necromantical Screams"

Ben Ben / July 18, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

I found it hard to enjoy the Hellhammer material. It was raw and messy and not particularly interesting to me, no matter how ground-breaking it was. The first Celtic Frost release Morbid Tales was a tighter, better produced version of a similar sound. Once again, I didn't find all that much that was memorable or fun to listen to on that release.

But this album is where I finally get what it is that attracts so many to this band and the one that proceeded it. It's a much tighter affair, the production has been beefed up once again, but this time the songs are finally excellent. The band started to inject some of the experimentation that they are known for, with some female vocals, symphonic backdrops etc, and the album has fantastic artwork from the warped mind of HR Giger which I really appreciate.

It's hard to pinpoint why I suddenly like Celtic Frost on this album as overall, it still relies heavily on the crawling riffage that was prevalent on the previous releases and Warrior's distinctive drawl. I think it's just that the band finally put their sound to good use, creating truly dark, gripping tracks such as Circle of the Tyrants, Jewel Throne etc. Still not one of my favourite bands but this album is highly entertaining!

Morpheus Kitami Morpheus Kitami / August 18, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I don't understand how Warrior, having been good friends with the late great H.R. Giger, somehow managed to get his worst painting as the interior and second worst as the exterior. He'd have been better off with that weird cat drawing. It's just so goofy, as Giger's artwork doesn't work here outside of pure shock value, of which there is none in 2023. It's like saying you're pro-Napoleon, nobody cares.
To Mega Therion is a very weird album, unique in sound and spirit. For instance, The Usurper is on a surface level just a fairly typical proto-black metal song. Yet, beyond that surface it's structured like a new wave song, has a triumphant feeling that black metal rarely captures. Yet, despite nominally being thrash, it feels unlike any real thrash song it's hard to believe it's part of the genre.
Now of course there are the straightforward bits. That aggressive, even in the slow bits, guitar creating the kind of atmosphere that would be every black metallers dream. Despite an arguable lack of talent, Smoothly gliding to where it needs to be, only stopping when a stop is absolutely needed. Even solos that should rightly be absolutely terrible, work. Beyond the North Winds is basically the bare minimum of what a solo is, yet works incredibly in the context of the song.
Vocalist Tom G. Warrior is also something that shouldn't work, because he has a voice that brings to mind Sylvester Stallone; a voice that could never be confused for something harmonious and lovely. The mystical lyrics that are pretty interesting just come out as gibberish, sometimes even falsetto gibberish. Still, as that comparison implies, there's a charm to him, and his little grunts he does. Something so distinct that it only works for him, and everyone else using it is so obviously imitating him as to be hard to take seriously.
It's mind-boggling that an album that seems to be so completely amateurish and devoid of any qualities that should be positive is as good as it is. Yet, I and many others think of this very fondly, and sometimes it even transcends it's niche as one of the first black metal albums.

Rexorcist Rexorcist / August 03, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

Celtic Frost has one of the weirdest histories I've ever seen for a metal band.  They have a couple of highly regarded thrash albums, go experimental for an album, turn into a GLAM METAL band and epically fail, go back to thrash and fail again, have a long hiatus, turn into a doom metal band with a big comeback for one album, and then break up.  As you can see, it was quite hard for me to take a band like that seriously for quite a while.  When I finally gave them a spin, I stopped after the second album and to this day I haven't heard anything past that.  The second album, btw, is To Mega Therion.

This album is so heavy and evil that it's frightening that mankind can do this.  You can practically feel the Venom influence grabbing you from behind.  Between the soeedy and surreal stuff, the vile blackened thrash and the occasional epic and cheesy horn-infused doom, there's a constant presence of mankind's absurd villainry that proves something about the band: that creepy-ass album cover means something.  You know, the one that looks like Tim Burton had babies with the gargoyles in Count Olaf's mansion?  But the coolest thing about this piece of work is the ability to take the evil and apply it to the JAM factor without even trying.  Obviously, these guys had a rare form of talent back in the early days.  This is a classic and a rare breed of thrash.

Sonny Sonny / February 15, 2020 / Comments 0 / 0

I constantly vacillate between this and Reign in Blood as to which is my favourite thrash album of all time. I think it probably depends on my mood at the time. To Mega Therion holds a special place in the metal pantheon for me, however. I was a relatively new convert to thrash metal back in 1985 and picked this up mainly because of it's Alien-like H.R.Gieger cover, knowing nothing of the band itself, other than they were a Swiss thrash band (probably gleaned from a Kerrang! article, back when they still had decent taste).
After the bombastic intro of Innocence and Wrath, I was completely blown away by the downtuned riffs of The Usurper/Jewel Throne duo, which was the heaviest fucking thing I had ever heard at this point and sounded as if Tony Iommi had been possessed by some Sumerian demon that had been let loose upon the earth. Tom G. Warrior's evil-sounding vocals and trademark "death grunts" only adding to the impression. To my unsuspecting ears, this album was like a metal version of The Exorcist - and I had let it into my house!
Dawn of Megiddo is virtually doom metal and an early indicator of where CF would ultimately end up. Then from Eternal Summer, via Circle of the Tyrants and (Beyond The) North Winds to Fainted Eyes is a solid thrash attack that is a lot faster than it appears, the downtuning of the riffs making it seem less aggressively paced than it actually is. Tears in a Prophet's Dream is a short, eerie ambient soundscape that sets up closing track Necromantical Screams with it's huge-sounding tympani drums and weird spirit-like backing vocals it sounds like it should be played in some ancient, decadent emperor's court.
This really was completely unlike any other metal release I had heard before and cemented Celtic Frost as one of my favourite metal bands, despite several subsequent attempts to piss me off! A unique band and a true 80's classic.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 5


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 10 | Reviews: 4


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 11


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 7

To Mega Therion
The Pit
Thrash Metal

Thrash Metal (conventional)

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