Celtic Frost – “Morbid Tales”


The making of Celtic Frost’s “Morbid Tales”

released: 1984

label: Noise


Of all the classic albums thus far inducted into Decibel’s Hall of Fame, none has had a greater influence on the death metal and black metal that succeeded it than Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales. Recorded and mixed in a single week in October 1984 at Caet Studio in West Berlin, Germany, during the waning years of the Cold War, the album was the work of vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom G. Warrior), bassist Martin Eric Stricker (a.k.a. Martin Eric Ain), and session drummer Stephen Priestly, all three of whom had done time in the Swiss proto-black/death outfit Hellhammer. Within days of Hellhammer’s self-induced demise, Warrior and Ain formed Celtic Frost and immediately plotted the musical and aesthetic trajectory for the fledgling band’s first three albums.

Produced by Horst Müller (who had also engineered Hellhammer’s Apocalyptic Raids EP), Frost’s debut featured such merciless classics as “Procreation (of the Wicked)” (later covered by both Sepultura and Enslaved), “Into the Crypts of Rays” (later covered by Marduk, the song detailed the sordid exploits of serial child murderer/rapist Gilles de Rais, who also fought alongside Joan of Arc in the Hundred Years’ War), and “Nocturnal Fear” (a Lovecraftian night-terror later covered by Dimmu Borgir, the song’s lyrics were perhaps influential on the likes of future Swedish goth-mongers Tiamat and Morbid Angel guitarist George Emmanuel III). With the Celtic Frost power-axis of Warrior and Ain reunited and storming stages with a combination of new and vintage extremities, we figure it’s about fucking time we gave Morbid Tales some props.

—J. Bennett

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