CELTIC FROST, The Collector’s Celtic Frost (1987, Noise)
Celtic Frost’s “screaming skull” happens to be one of the coolest and most recognizable skull designs in metal. (Remember that Frost’s heptagram design also featured a skull.) The cover of this single is simplicity incarnate, but also entirely effective. There’s no need for anything else — it works just like it is. The skull still possesses one gushy orb of an eyeball in his left eye socket, and his elongated maw screams in horror as strings of what I’ll say is mucus stick to his upper and lower teeth. Weird, cool and tailor-made for t-shirts and tattoos.
Tom G. Warrior had a talent for spotting quirk, darkness and eccentricity in various non-metal songs, taking them into the world of Celtic Frost and molesting them into nearly unrecognizable new versions. He’s done it with Bryan Ferry, David Bowie and Wall of Voodoo, and this 1962 Dean Martin song, “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” (the sole song on this 1987 12″ single). I’m not any kind of lounge/crooner fan or anything, but the original has an undeniable appeal. The Frost version is a total perversion of the original, naturally: it brings in a militaristic cadence that changes the song considerably, especially the snare work of Reed St. Mark in the chorus section, and a conviction in delivery that turns this strange idea into a tiny little success. The female backing vocals are appropriately ghostly, as well. Tom’s vocals are fiery and fucked up. This was recorded during the Into the Pandemonium era, which was the first and last time his voice had this particular quality (it was much gruffer before this, and a lackluster bark afterward). Yet another cool nugget of nuttiness from Celtic Frost.
— Friar Wagner