Posts Tagged ‘Celtic Frost’

Thomas Gabriel Warrior : Differing Points Of View: BMG/Noise Records’ Celtic Frost Reissue Albums

May 19th, 2017

There must be some significance to the fact that as the events described below unfolded, we passed the 30th anniversary of Celtic Frost finishing work on the group’s Into The Pandemonium album – the album, not least, which was at the centre of the most significant disagreements between Celtic Frost and label Noise Records in 1987. These events would eventually lead to the disintegration of Celtic Frost by the end of that year and have a direct bearing on anything that subsequently transpired.

In February of 1984, Martin Eric Ain and I, as members of Hellhammer, signed our first recording contract with Noise Records. We came from small Swiss villages and were young and lacked experience. Moreover, Switzerland was a country without a real metal scene at the time, rendering it near impossible for us to glean any kind of expertise from other bands that might have been active on an international level.

And even if the possibility to gain any such information would have existed, Hellhammer wasn’t an accepted entity by any means. Moreover, while there were a few music industry attorneys in Switzerland, they worked in the “real” music scene, and we were too insignificant and destitute to be able to establish any actual communication with them.

Noise Records were of course fully aware of all of these circumstances.

So we signed the record contract, delighted that our teenager dream was becoming a reality. This very dream had so far seemed completely unattainable to us in our damp, mildewed rehearsal bunker. The recording contract comprised things such as the publishing rights to our songs, and we didn’t have the slightest idea of the true, enormous significance of such terms. The text sounded professional and it definitely resembled a record contract, but it actually overwhelmed us. Due to Martin’s age, his parents were required to sign as well; that they were actually doing this served as some kind of additional confirmation that everything was as it should be.

A few months later, the recording contract was transferred to the newly formed Celtic Frost. And as Celtic Frost gradually grew more popular, we became more experienced and increasingly encountered individuals who were long-standing music industry professionals, enabling us more and more to comprehend what we had signed. The rights to the music we were creating belonged to Noise Records practically indefinitely, even after our passing. Moreover, the record company had, to a large extent, also secured the financial proceeds of our band, e.g. record sales, merchandising, and the aforementioned, very lucrative publishing rights. In the still fully functional music industry of the 1980s, such proceeds were quite substantial.

And if this aforementioned situation wasn’t reason enough for disagreements between an progressively mature band and the record company, the latter choose to conduct many other band related affairs in an equally uncompromising manner. Recording sessions suffered interference, album covers were altered or outright replaced, song lyrics were deleted, submitted photos and entire booklets were discarded, songs selected by us for inclusion on our albums were exchanged, concert tours were booked without our consent, video clips were cancelled, and so on. These were years of completely contradicting views, eternal conflicts, and unilateral actions.

One should note, however, that such occurrences were by no means exceptional in the music industry of the time. A number of other bands signed to the same record company experienced similar problems, as did groups signed to other labels. And even today, I frequently come across comparable stories. Additionally, we ourselves were responsible to a substantial degree for the situation we found ourselves in: it was us, after all, who had signed the contract. And we ourselves – me in particular! – committed many mistakes as well. Moreover, I certainly should not neglect to mention that the memory of Noise Records and the pioneering spirit prevailing in the scene at the time also evoke numerous positive and nostalgic feelings.

And last but not least, the events discussed above took place some 30 years ago – half an eternity, in other words. Uncounted things have taken place since; we eventually managed to extract ourselves from the affiliation with the record company, we liberated ourselves as musicians, we learned immeasurably much (often as a result of our aforementioned, sometimes substantial mistakes), we attained control over our activities, and we ultimately continued our musical path. And in doing so, we were granted numerous fantastic moments.

It is thus all a done thing, tempi passati.

Why then this rehashing of a story long since exhausted? Well, due to the longevity of certain past contractual provisions, time and again one will be confronted by their lasting effects. Years ago, Noise Records (and thus the rights to Celtic Frost’s early albums) were acquired by Rod Smallwood’s Sanctuary Music Group; said company was later absorbed by Universal Music Group, and Universal in turn sold the Noise catalogue to BMG Rights Management in London.

Last year, BMG Rights Management decided to resurrect Noise Records and reissue a substantial part of the Noise catalogue, including the classic Celtic Frost albums of the 1980s. For the reasons detailed above, we, the former members of the group, have no rights whatsoever with regard to these albums and thus lack the entitlement to exert any influence on these reissues. One must therefore give credit to BMG for voluntarily agreeing to involve me and transferring the responsibility for the art direction for these Celtic Frost albums to me.

Next to remastering, design, archive materials, and art direction, my contributions also included a number of detailed personal texts specially drafted for this new 2017 edition of the booklets of the individual albums. And this is where the past is once again catching up with Celtic Frost. It was particularly the album Into The Pandemonium which, in 1987, was created under dramatically detrimental conditions due to the increasingly pronounced disagreements between group and label. But our other albums with Noise Records were affected to some degree as well.

It is obvious that such decisive occurrences would be part of the narrative of my liner notes, and it is equally obvious that such liner notes would inevitably reflect my very personal view as somebody who was, at the time, a member of the band, wrote the songs, co-designed the visual aspects of each album, and performed and produced in the studio. And it is exactly because of these facts that the powers that be at BMG Rights Management objected.

As part of what was, at all times, an exceptionally friendly and professional exchange of thoughts with the legal counsel assigned by BMG to assess any potential legal issues, I received from London shortened versions of my liner notes, for review and approval. These were adoringly called “redlined versions”. In this particular case, however, “shortened” actually amounted to “heavily censored”. To name but one example: driven by an obvious concern about a potential lawsuit by one of the parties involved in the original 1980s releases, BMG censored and thus slashed my Into The Pandemonium liner notes to approximately a third of their original volume. What remains of my texts was utterly mutilated and thus no longer represented a coherent narrative that made any sense. These pathetic text fragments now failed to convey the full history of the individual albums.

As much as the music industry professional in me understands BMG’s concerns, it is exactly because of the events Celtic Frost endured during the 1980s that I am a radical opponent of any meddling or censorship by a record company, and that my present-day career is one hundred percent self-determined. Regardless of where one stood on the issue, the conflicts with Noise Records affected most of Celtic Frost’s activities significantly.

One could be excused for being prompted to ponder that by executing such “redlined” intrusions, BMG are, to a certain extent, reenacting the modus operandi of the label they purchased, Noise Records. As for me, I am of course not inclined whatsoever to agree to have my texts censored. I thus informed BMG that I would rather withdraw my liner notes than to see them published in disfigured guise (a variety of diversely censored drafts had been proposed to me, in an effort to break the stalemate), particularly since the events described therein have been public knowledge for many years and have also been experienced and described by other Noise Records groups.

And that’s exactly what has taken place in the meantime: in early February of 2017, I withdrew all of my dedicated liner notes for the four albums reissued by BMG: Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, Into The Pandemonium, and Vanity/Nemesis, and politely concluded my cooperation with BMG Rights. I was thus no longer involved when the reissue project arrived at the final review and approval stage.

Throughout all of these developments, the co-founder and former bassist of Celtic Frost, Martin Eric Ain, was constantly kept in the loop.

Given this state of affairs, I no longer feel that I can endorse and support these reissues, as they no longer reflect the wishes, intentions, and identity of the band. Moreover, I personally do not view them as “official”, as none of the former members of Celtic Frost endorses them.

It had been our intention for many, many years to finally see these albums reissued in what could be called ultimate editions. It was overdue. There had even been (unsuccessful) efforts during the past decade to initiate a collaboration to that effect between our own label, Prowling Death Records, and the current holders of the rights. Unfortunately, due to the failure of this reissue project, it now seems exceedingly unlikely that such ultimate and fully band-endorsed reissues will see the light of the day during my lifetime.

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PHILIP LAWVERE’s Pleasure To Kill! Legendary KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, RAGE Cover Artist Opens Up To BraveWords

December 29th, 2012

You may not recognize the name, but his iconic covers are etched in the metalhead minds of millions. He was born May 19th, 1962 and has roots in Berkeley, Halifax, Manhattan, Boston, Greece and Berlin where his hardened vision caught the eyes of a young Karl Walterbach of Noise Records fame. His name is Philip Lawvere and he has a pleasure to kill! I mean, his insignia can be found on such classic album art from KREATOR, CELTIC FROST, RAGE, DEATH ROW, WARRANT, VENDETTA and HELLOWEEN!

BraveWords: You are probably most known from the Kreator material. How did you meet Mille? Were these original pieces or did Kreator commission you to create them? What happened after 1988? Opinion of Kreator art now? Have you pitched any to them lately?

Lawvere: “Fans will be surprised to learn that I have never met Mille, as with most of the bands at Noise. I dealt directly with Karl Walterbach in his office most of the time. Pleasure To Kill for example was something I had painted for myself, and which the band only chose to use later (Mille confirms that in interviews). As far as their cover art since then, they’ve reused my demon head in multiple images, even distorted it by adding things etc. That’s not really cool to do without permission of the artist… but I was hard to find, and some even thought I was dead. Just like Hieronymus Bosch, who’s art was also ‘lifted’ for their cover… but his copyright has long expired, since the law grants it ‘for the life of the author, plus 70 years’. No new covers are likely to happen either, while they are ignoring my royalties petition. People have told me to drop it, and use my association with them to get new work… but they don’t know me very well.”


Read more here.

Learn more about Philip here.



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Celtic Frost – Tom Gabriel Fischer

October 12th, 2007

Celtic Frost – Tom Gabriel Fischer

Interviewed by Simon Lukic
Transcribed by Mike ”Fucking Hostile” Holmes
Live Pics by Arto Lehtinen

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Celtic Frost. The name alone demands respect and it’s exactly that which has allowed the band the opportunity to resurrect themselves in such a glorious manner. MONOTHEIST may not be the album everyone was hoping for but when one looks at the history of the band it fits in perfectly with their adventurous nature and honest approach. I had the pleasure of chatting to Tom Gabriel Fischer near the end of the MONOTHEIST world tour and here is what we discussed.



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Type O Negative and Celtic Frost – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN, USA

April 22nd, 2007

Type O Negative and Celtic Frost

Tuesday, April 11, 2007
First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN, USA

Review & Live Pics By J. Campbell


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CELTIC FROST – Tom G. Warrior

April 17th, 2007

Interview with Tom G. Warrior

Interview & live/off-stage  pictures by Luxi Lahtinen


Celtic Frost stopped by  Helsinki on 4th of April 2007, as a part of their co-headlining “Monotheist” tour with the German pioneer thrashers Kreator. Tour openers also included the Swedish blacksters Watain whose most primary task was, I guess, to warm up the night before the headliners jumped on the stage. The Tavastia Club show was completely sold-out, just like many of their other shows have been on this European tour thus far.

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I met briefly the legendary Celtic Frost frontman Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior) at one cozy-looking, 5-star hotel in the downtown of Helsinki about 5 hours prior to showtime. Tom seemed to be in a good and friendly mood for the interview. A friendly handsake, some chit-chat talking for starters – and both of us were relaxed enough, ready for discussing more.


We naturally discussed their ongoing tour, curfews, Giger, the band´s latest album MONOTHEIST, DVD plans and so on.


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Kreator Celtic Frost Watain : The 4th Of April, Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland

April 13th, 2007

Kreator / Celtic Frost

Tavastia Club
The 4th of April 2007
Helsinki, Finland

Both Kreator and Celtic Frost have had, and still have, a major impact on how several different types of metal genres have started and been moulded. Therefore two metal icons or legends on the same bill was as mesmerizing an experience as seeing three Teutonic thrash metal veterans on the same bill back in 2002.  Even though’s British writer had recently attended the show in London, the whole tour is such a historical event in the extreme metal genre that it can’t be ignored. It would be an utter blasphemy to ignore these two extreme metal icons who had released outstanding and remarkable outputs.

The Dutch thrashers Legion Of The Damned had been one of the opening acts on the Central European leg of the tour but unfortunately were never able to arrive at Northernmost territories. However the Dutch thrashers will be witnessed at next summer’s Tuska in Helsinki. However the Swedish black metal outfit Watain was on the bill, for those the Helsinki show was apparently the last one on the tour.

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Celtic Frost & Kreator with Watain and Legion of the Damned

March 21st, 2007

Celtic Frost & Kreator
with Watain and Legion of the Damned
KOKO Camden, London
18th March 2007

Review By HannTu
Pics by Dave Ingham (view his flickr photo album)
Note: Pics were taken on various dates of the UK tour!

My first ‘gig’, so to speak, for started off freezing cold. London has been relatively warm for the past few weeks, but it chose today of all days to hail and snow and bluster while I was standing in line for 2 hours to watch the mighty Kreator at KOKO Camden. Bollocks to that for a start.

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CELTIC FROST – Martin Eric Ain

November 6th, 2006

Martin Eric Ain

Interviewed by Celtic Bob
Questions by Lord of the Wasteland and Celtic Bob


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Tuska Open Air 2006

September 24th, 2006



Central Park Kaisaniemi
Helsinki Finland

Pics and article by the Finnish team respectively
(Luxi “The Keeper of Moshpit” Lahtinen, Arto “The mighty servant of metallic death” Lehtinen & Marko “KISS my ass” Syrjälä)


Once again thousands and thousands of metal fans arrived to conquer the capital of Finland, Helsinki. This was of course for the annual and prestigious Tuska Open Air Festival. The festival is arranged in the heart of the town, namely the central park Kaisaniemi. Nearly 33,000 freaks of all ages, possessed by metal, gathered to enjoy the metallic feast to the central park. Unlike the previous events of Tuska having been totally sold-out, instead a few days of the event this year weren’t sold out for some strange reason. Obviously the line-up didn’t manage to convince everyone to check out for example Sisters Of Mercy, Opeth, Celtic Frost. 

Frankly, from our point of view, the bill for 2006 didn’t definitely offer any groundshaking names. Celtic Frost and Venom stand for the more nostalgic trip back to the 80’s in the eyes of several old school thrash metal maniacs, but in the positive way. Picking up Sisters Of Mercy to conclude the first opening day went beyond the sense of humour of several people. To be honest, none of these bands would have been the right ones to be a headliner for each day. But all in all the bill was based on covering a variety of different metal genres ranging from hyper-blasting metal to a more melancholic Finnish mainstream rock stuff ala Timo Rautiainen. Especially odd and strange sounding names booked to the festival had room to perform stuff of their own. Having a large range of metal and other types of rock proves Tuska is not limited to one certain metal category as everyone had something to feel, taste and see during these three long days.

Now it is definitely true that The Gods made and created Metal as the weather was extremely warm and hot during the whole weekend as there was no single rain cloud floating above the festival area. In general the atmosphere was peaceful and bigger problems managed to be avoided, thanks to the common metal spirit of the Finnish die hard metal freaks.

As usual, it has turned out to be an annual mandatory tradition for compiling this article of the Tuska festival in with both pleasure and pain. Therefore the Finnish pain squad spent the whole weekend testifying several acts in action and tried to feel and taste the spirit of Heavy Metal and soccer during three insane long days in the beautiful central park of Kaisaniemi with several friends as well as everlasting enemies as usual. Enjoy…

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Swedenrock 2006

August 5th, 2006


The 8th – 10th of June 2006

Solvesborg Sweden

by Arto Lehtinen and Marko  Syrjala

Wow! This is the sixth time that the Finnish Metal-Rules squad makes an invasion to the mighty Swedenrock festival. Over 60 bands descended on the the southern area of Sweden for a festival that turned out to be nothing but an utter blast! The bill of Swedenrock festival 2006 covers a wide range of metal styles and even classic rock stuff (Journey and Molly Hatchet). Therefore, there was at least something for everyone who attended the festival. As usual, the whole festival was once again sold out when around 20,000 people arrived at the area every day. The Swedenrock festival has always had tremendous luck with the weather as once again the gods of weather blessed this rocking metallic heaven on the earth with an extreme hot and sunny weekend that burned red the skin of several festival goers.

As stated in the first sentence, this is the sixth time that the Swedenrock festival has been featured in the site of, so it is quite logical for us to give a real in-depth article of several bands performing at Swedenrock. Enjoy !!!

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Celtic Frost Vocalist/Guitarist Tom Gabriel Fischer

June 6th, 2006

Tom Gabriel Fischer


Interview By Lord of The Wasteland

(Transcription by Duke)

***Sweden Rock 2006 Live Pics by Arto Lehtinen.  All other images courtesy of and

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Thomas G. Warrior – Celtic Frost/Apollyon Sun

August 24th, 2005

Metal Rules!! Interview with Tom G. of Celtic Frost (this picture is totally classic!)

Interview With Thomas Fisher (aka Thomas Gabriel Warrior) of Celtic Frost and Apollyon Sun

Interview By EvilG, November 1999

Ask any fan of extreme metal what bands pioneered the scene and you’ll get a mixture of responses…Venom, Possessed, Kreator, Bathory etc., etc.. Many (myself included) look to Celtic Frost. They were the first band I heard who were so extreme. They were also the first band I had heard who who combined this extremity with female vocals and orchestrational elements. Thus emerged a unique blend of metal, doom, and what can only be called Celtic Frost. At the beginning you couldn’t compare this band to anyone, that’s how original and different they were! Yes it was grounded in metal but it wasn’t what I personally was used to. Seeing them for the first time in the “Circle of The Tyrants” video was what really got me into the band.

Unfortunately, as the band made it’s way into the 90’s something went awry. By April 1993 the band had packed it in. Now with the proper re-release of Celtic Frost’s back catalog (minus Cold Lake) we have the opportunity to reflect back on what Celtic Frost was and what their contribution to the metal community has been. Rumors about a possible reunion and a new album have been circulating…and guess what? – There is truth behind these rumors! Read on and find out about Celtic Frost and Apollyon Sun (Tom’s new band). 

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