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Released: 2017, Noise Records
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
It was back in the mid-late 80’s that I discovered Celtic Frost. Their video for “Circle Of The Tyrants” was played on the Power Hour and I was mesmerised. Nothing had I seen or heard before was that heavy, or cool. I became obsessed with that song and video so much so that a schoolmate started calling me Celtic Bob and it stuck. Here we are 30 years later and I am still Celtic Bob and still listening to “Circle Of The Tyrants”.
When I read the news that there was going to be deluxe reissues of the Celtic Frost catalog I was beyond ecstatic. I was hoping for some nicely pressed LP’s as I am a vinyl junkie. Then I read there would be double vinyl sets with deluxe booklets and my excitement grew then, the more I read, the more something was not right. Something was missing..............COLD LAKE. My favourite Frost album was MIA. I knew Tom hated it but for the sake of completion?
The fourth and final release in the Celtic Frost reissue campaign. This is where COLD LAKE should be with VANITY/NEMESIS following being the fifth release. Unfortunately that never happened but we can hope that these are a success and someone with power will read the online reviews and comments and give us fans what we want, if not then for the sake of completion.
VANITY/NEMESIS sees Martin Ain back with the band and with it a heavier sound. This album brings back some fond memories. I was fresh out of high school and in university when this album came out. I had just begun buying CD’s the year previous but for some strange reason I had this on tape and never CD. Maybe that was all I saw in the shoppe? Regardless, it left an impact. The song “Wine In My Hand” was played countless times and yet still remains a favourite. Thankfully I never made myself sick of it. Hearing it on vinyl was the best. I was sitting back with an ice cold IPA, flipping through the amazing book that came with the album and the second that it started I reached for the remote to turn the amp of my HiFi up a notch, or two. It stayed there for the remainder of the night.
Listening to VANITY/NEMESIS, like the others was as though a new band was being discovered. The old familiarities were new again. I hadn’t sat down and listened to this album properly in a long, long time. Over the years I listened to it and various songs off and on but never in deep detail like this. I never recalled so many great tunes on here. While heavier than its predecessor, COLD LAKE it wasn’t as heavy as the first pair. It is the perfect medium between the two. I attribute that partially to the return of Ain in the band. He brought back some of the heaviness, and harder edge that was missing from COLD LAKE. Maybe that is what Tom hates about it so much? From a personal interview with Martin he said that there were some good moments on it but Tom says it’s “Bullshit” and “It doesn’t exist” (If memory is correct?). Either way, it remains my personal favourite Frost album. Apart from the single, “Wine In My Hand” the other standout on here is the cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Being a big Bowie fan this was the first song I listened to once I opened my LP. How had I not heard this before? It is an excellent version. Hearing a Frost’ed David Bowie song is like nothing you can imagine. Tom definitely adds his touch to it but not as much as he did prior with “Mexican Radio”. It fits in with the originals on the album and had I heard this back in 1990 I would have thought it to be a CF original.
The packaging for this is exceptional. A beautiful gatefold sleeve, 2 glossy foldout posters and a beyond amazing 36 page book. Yes, 36 page book. The book is about 10x10 in size and filled with photos, lyrics, information and essays. I own hundreds of LP’s and apart from a couple of boxed sets I have never seen such a wonderful book included with a record in my life. I will be keeping mine on one of my bookshelves as it is too thick to store inside the record sleeve for an extended period. The photos of the bands early days is a real treat. Many of which I have never seen before.
Like the previous trio in this release campaign, VANITY/NEMESIS is an essential purchase. All the LP’s sound fantastic and are given a new breath of life. Regardless if Tom endorses them or not, all Frost fans need these. From design to pressing quality to sound, they are top notch all the way. Again, I hope the powers that be will do the same for COLD LAKE, and even MONOTHEIST.
01. The Heart Beneath
02. Wine In My Hand (Third From The Sun)
03. Wings Of Solitude
04. The Name Of My Bride
05. This Island Earth
06. The Restless Seas
07. Phallic Tantrum
08. A Kiss Or A Whisper
* Bonus Tracks
12. A Descent to Babylon (Babylon Asleep)
Tom G. Warrior - Vocals, Guitar
Curt Victor Bryant - Bass, Guitar
Martin Eric Ain - Bass
Steve Priestly - Drums
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