Celtic Frost - Into the Pandemonium (1987)Release ID: 927
The writing was on the wall with Celtic Frost's prior album To Mega Therion. Little experimental flourishes had made their way into their music and made things more interesting than on their debut EP. With Into the Pandemonium, this flourishes have been given a major focus, with the result being an absorbing listen. Female vocals, gothic pop choruses, background symphonies, industrial elements etc. etc. These guys went all out and created multiple new sounds for their time.
When listening to the album, I can hear how influential they have been on gothic metal in general as well as doom metal, and yet they managed to integrate all that with the thrash metal they'd always been known for. The singing style in tracks such as Mesmerized reminds me of Anathema and Monumentum. The mixture of doomy riffs and poppy sensibilities reminds me of bands such as Tiamat.
But that's not to say that everything on Into the Pandemonium works smoothly. The industrial "One in Their Pride" with its industrial beat certainly hasn't aged well. Starting track "Mexican Radio" is an extremely strange choice of cover to start the album off. It's not terrible but it's by no means a highlight. And some of the female vocals are a bit well...crap. Yet there's an addictive quality to the album and tracks such as Mesmerized, Sorrows of the Moon and Caress Into Oblivion make this album, if not a classic, a damn enjoyable listen.
Celtic Frost were always a strange band as far as Metal went back in the day, but with Into the Pandemonium, they crafted the first album bizarre and eclectic enough to comfortably sit in the Avant-Garde Metal territory still 30 years after it’s creation. There are a couple songs on here with the same Blackened metal approach as Into Megatherion, but I personally wouldn’t call anything on here straight Thrash. There are also multiple interlude pieces, one of which being a sample driven drumbeat, scattered female vocals and symphonic elements, doomy gothic elements, and even poppy hooks, at least half of which are still growled.
Band leader Tom Warrior adopts a new style of singing here, something reminiscent of a whining, moaning cry. It’s very hammy but also sorrowful and pained, so YMMV on whether it’s good or not that this vocal style had a big impact on Gothic and Doom metal in the coming decade. The variety and filler make this indisputably weaker than the debut album, but it is still a unique treasure with a lot to offer.