Back in the mists of time when I was a young lad I had a friend at School who had been on a trip to London where he went to shades record shop and returned clutching an album by a band called Hellhammer, Remember this is pre-internet, no google, no Discogs, no amazon, no super internet it was a flick through Sounds, Melody Maker, NME or Kerrang for your fix of what’s hot or not and even then for us kids in the sticks it was a process of saving up and take a chance. That ‘Apocalyptic Raids’ was a gateway into a sound that was perfect for us kids who loved a bit of punk and also the allure of a bit of metal, it was dark, dangerous and fascinating, throw in some dark occult imagery into the mix and our parents would hate it so it was always a winner.

I read recently an interview with Tom G Warrior where he described their sound as musical anarchy (even though Warfare were metal anarchy) he wasn’t far off the mark the music was indeed extreme and mixing up the punk of UK82 hardcore and metal it was perfect. We already loved Venom and Motorhead and what was going on over the pond on the West coast was taking hold it was exciting to trade tapes and get to hear what was coming out of Europe.

Hellhammer became Celtic Frost and the rest is history alongside VoiVods ‘War And Pain’ a few of the Venom albums Celtic Frost was really pushing the boundaries and doing it better than most. For a few short years, Celtic Frost were the bees knees and released some seminal albums that became harder to find than hen’s teeth so ‘Danse Macabre’ is a much-anticipated release and when opening the box the package that’s been put together is of the highest order and right up there with the complete Venom boxset which is the absolute pinnacle of how to do a boxset this isn’t far behind.

Released as a plush five-CD set including all the albums from the period a smart pin badge, a patch double-sided poster and a really interesting book. Noise deserves some credit for delivering such a good set. ‘Danse Macabre’ vinyl set captures the raw excitment and new age dawning in extreme metal and the ambitious direction these Swiss and American band were taking their music. ‘Morbid Tales‘, ‘To Mega Therion’ and ‘Into The Pandemonium‘, the marble color vinyl box set also includes the ‘Emperor’s Return’‘Tragic Serenades’ and ‘I Won’t Dance’ EPs, along with ‘The Collectors Celtic Frost’ compilation, a 7″ of ‘Visual Aggression’ and a cassette of rehearsals recorded at the band’s Grave Hill Bunker. A 12″ x 12″, 40-page book, brings together photography — some previously unseen — from the era and brand new interviews with Tom Gabriel Warrior and Reed St Mark. A Heptagram USB drive contains MP3 audio of all the albums, including bonus tracks…and breath.

How’s that for a comprehensive round-up? Always pushing the envelope, it’s mad to think the band was still just snotty-nosed kids when Hellhammer was a thing then through ‘Morbid Tales’ and then the classic ‘To Mega Theron’ and ‘Emperors Return’ it was a blink of the eye and they were gone. Some of these haven’t been pressed on vinyl for the thick end of forty years (37 to be exact) so it’s a veritable feast for fans old and new the CD version are gatefold with vinyl-like mini inserts but people of a certain age-who will be on the end of the hook might need some reading glasses to appreciate fully the detail. that aside this set is an absolute no-brainer The omission of the third album might be an elephant in the room but had ‘Cold Lake’ been included it would have been complete, regardless – Go buy one – Now!

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Author: Dom Daley




The pre-order link for the boxset is here

It almost seems churlish to regard Celtic Frost as one of the great extreme metal bands, because they were so much more than that. It’s better to hail them as among the finest extreme and experimental bands of the 1980s. Refusing ever to do what was expected or demanded, the band constantly changed musical direction, always brought in surprising influences, and kept people guessing as to where they might venture next. Their catalogue of albums is formidable and unmatched. Each is not only unique, but part of an entire tapestry that only now can be appreciated for being a remarkable part of music history. Despite, or maybe because of, constant turmoil on so many fronts, Celtic Frost achieved an artistic level few others would even have dared to dream of aspiring towards. They climbed high because they were never afraid to fall. Which is why the band are now rightly regarded as icons, and iconoclasts.

‘Danse Macabre’ captures the radical ambition and evolution of Celtic Frost from 1984 through to 1987. In addition to the albums ‘Morbid Tales’, ‘To Mega Therion’ and ‘Into The Pandemonium’, the 7 marble colour vinyl box set also includes the ‘Emperor’s Return’, ‘Tragic Serenades’ and ‘I Won’t Dance’ EPs, along with ‘The Collectors Celtic Frost’ 12”, a 7” of ‘Visual Aggression’ and a cassette of rehearsals recorded at the band’s Grave Hill Bunker. A 12” x 12”, 40 page book, brings together photography – some previously unseen – from the era and brand new interviews with Tom Gabriel Warrior and Reed St Mark. A Heptagram USB drive contains MP3 audio of all the albums, including bonus tracks. A Danse Macabre woven patch, a double sided poster, and a Necromaniac Union fan club enamel badge complete the set. ‘Danse Macabre’ is also available as a 5 CD box set, with 40 page book, badge, poster and patch.

A very limited edition Glow In The Dark vinyl variant edition of the LP box set will be available via EMP and Nuclear Blast online. This is limited to 1000 units.