Analog Adventures: Into the Pandemonium
Into the Pandemonium
About the Artist
Swiss heavy metal pioneers Celtic Frost originally formed as Hellhammer. The band is often cited as a profound influence on extreme metal genres such as black metal, thrash, and speed metal. Their debut EPÂ Morbid Tales brought with it gloomy lyrics and zombie-like corpse paint that would become staples of black metal. Celtic Frost is truly the band that is due to Tom Warrior, the primary songwriter and lyricist. His influences include Black Sabbath and the art of H.R. Giger, who would go on to create art for the bands albumÂ To Mega Therion.
Warrior would work for Giger until the end of his life in 2014. Their work often intertwined and borrowed from each other in the best possible way. Heavy metal is not the only influence on Celtic Frost’s sound, as New Wave and pop music seeps into the fray such as a cover of Wall of Voodoo’s Mexican Radio. The poetry of Emily Bronte is present on the song Inner Sanctum, once again elevating the heavy metal genre.
The Record Itself
Into the Pandemonium is an epic experiment in what heavy metal can be. It begins with the aforementioned cover of Mexican Radio, and it retains little of the original. Tom Warrior’s signature “ugh” grunt is present throughout Celtic Frost’s entire discography, and this is no exception. The coarse growl singing “I’m on the Mexican radio” on top of well done clean chorus backup singing is a stark contrast in style. The original had a tongue in cheek playfulness and variety of novelty sounds, and this version retains none of that.
Sleep brings no joy to me, remembrance never dies. My soul is given to misery, and lives in sighs.Â -Celtic Frost, Inner Sanctum
The somber and serious tone continues with tracks like Babylon Fell. Their songs are much like pocket symphonies, a term to describe the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. This is most evident in Rex Irae, the first part of a trilogy of requiems. The second part would be released on their final album Monotheist, but the trilogy never saw completion.
The art is an excerpt from the Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. It depicts the Christian Hell as a bleak, dimly glowing wasteland. The tone of the art befits the content of the music. The rear cover has glamour shots of the band in the style of other 1980s heavy metal acts. The record is a standard 140 grams, but little surface noise and a high quality pressing keep the music sounding full.
The rear cover of the record
Is it Worth It?
Into the Pandemonium is a landmark heavy metal album. It brings together previous heavy metal conventions such as downtuned guitars and distorted vocals, but adds classical and pop influences to forge an indelible legacy. The risks taken by Celtic Frost paved the way for future metal bands to be more adventurous and unafraid to incorporate outside influences. While original pressings are semi-rare, a good copy will cost about $30 at record stores or online through Discogs. This is a great addition to any collection.
- Sorrows of the Moon
- Caress Into the Wind
- Rex Irae (Requiem)