Hall Of Fame Countdown: Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales

We’re starting a new feature here at the Deciblog. Since we’ve inducted so many classic albums in the course of our decade-plus existence we’re going to do our best to rank songs on these classic albums. First up is Celtic Frost’s classic mini LP Morbid Tales, which was released in 1984 and inducted in 2007. Buy the issue here.

Tom Gabriel Fischer is no stranger to the Decibel readership. To Mega Therion was just inducted into the Hall Of Fame after we finally tracked down a missing bassist.  In the same issue, Fischer was named the greatest extreme vocalist. Fischer was on the cover last spring around the release of Triptkyon’s latest album Melena Chasmata, which ranked near the top of the best albums of 2014.

So, one of his earliest albums seemed a perfect pick to start the countdown. Mind you, there is not a single bad song on Morbid Tales but we’ll do our best to choose them in order.  Note to our scrupulous readers: we are picking songs from the longer American release of Morbid Tales, which is the first one I heard.

Check out our picks below and then share your ordering in the comments. 

1. Procreation Of The Wicked:

Tom Gabriel Fischer has written many great riffs. This is on the short list of the best, if not the best.  This dense song felt evil in a time when many bands tried to project evil and ended up with kitsch. It’s been covered, sped up and even slowed down (by Fischer during Celtic Frost’s short lived second coming). Everything special about Fischer’s music can be found here: massive tone, feeling, intensity and emotion.

2. Into The Crypts of Rays:

What a way to open Morbid Tales, along with the screams in a vortex sounds of the introduction  “Human.” The back story here: this song is about Gilles De Rais, a notorious French nobleman and child killer. What you already know: this is one of the best metal songs ever.  Songs like these are also the reason you could never classify Frost. Is it proto thrash? Is this early black metal? 

3. Dethroned Emperor: Fischer has slowed his music way down since Monotheist. “Dethroned Emperor” is a precursor to the lumbering, monolithic music he’s played since 2006.  Check out the live version Triptykon performed with Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto at Roadburn. 

4. Visions of Mortality:  When Fenriz talked about his favorite Fischer song in our cover story he mentioned how at times you can literally hear Fischer carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. This song is evidence: Fischer’s use of music as catharsis is on display here. Trashed!

5. Morbid Tales: It would be a stretch to call anything on Morbid Tales “fun” but this is the one song where the band seems to loosen up a bit. Are you morbid? 

6. Return To The Eve: Following “Procreation Of The Wicked” is sort of like opening for Slayer. Where can you go after something so massive? Nonetheless, the riff is a standout.

6. Nocturnal Fear: This is a ripping little thrash track that gets little notice in the Frost canon. It’s especially notable for some of the best Fischer/Warrior “ooohs” ever — check out the one at about 2:40. 

8. Danse Macabre: This isn’t really a song as much as it is Fischer screaming “Come To Me” over sound effects and music that would fit as the backing for Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist.