Celtic Frost

To Mega Therion

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The bombastic "Innocence and Wrath" starts To Mega Therion off on just the appropriate note -- Wagnerian horn lines, booming drums, and a slow crunch toward apocalypse. Nobody can say Tom Warrior and his merry men don't know how to make the end of the world sound appropriately dramatic. With that setting the tone, it's into the maddeningly wild and woolly Celtic Frost universe full bore, Warrior roaring out his vocals with glee and a wicked smile while never resorting to self-parodic castrato wails. "The Usurper" alone is worth the price of admission, an awesome display of Warrior's knack around brute power and unexpectedly memorable riffs. It isn't so much headbanging as body-slamming that Celtic Frost are after here. While there's not a lot of variety throughout Therion -- everything is mostly as already indicated, big, loud, and invoking death and storm clouds conjured up by pagan gods -- what does crop up outside the formula makes a good experience even better. Mostly that's got to do with the subtle touches the band buries in the mix -- wailing noises, chanting choirs, and more than once an actual sense of space and echo, like the group is really thundering down from the Alps. The contrast of a brief operatic aria and groaning demon voice behind Warrior on "Circle of the Tyrants," right before leading into a mind-blowingly powerful full-on band assault, is one such prime moment. Other prime cuts in general include the perfectly titled "Dawn of Megiddo" -- can't get any better than that, really! -- the shadowy instrumental mood-out "Tears in a Prophet's Dream," and "Eternal Summer," which makes such a prospect seem like the last thing on earth one would want. Ending on another prime note, the hyperdramatic "Necromantical Screams," To Mega Therion is and remains death metal at its finest.

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