Great Metal Albums of 1985: Celtic Frost- Emperor’s Return


Following up on what I said on my previous post, Megadeth wasn’t the only band who got my attention in 1986 to the point I had to check out their 1985 albums. Another band who definitely caught my ear was Swiss black/thrash metal trio Celtic Frost. The band’s name alone was a valid reason for checking them out. When I did, I discovered that they had put out an album and an EP before that in 1985. They must have been very busy lads that year.

I thought I’d break everyone in nice and easy by visiting the EP first. “Emperor’s Return” is a five song, twenty-one minute long head pounding mayhem of an album. On the other hand, if I had been producing this record, I would have begun things with the second track, “Morbid Tales,” because that song is a belter. It’s pure ferocity reminds me why I got into thrash to begin with. It’s faced paced riffs combined with harsh but appropriate vocals and a blistering guitar solo would have been a better way to start things off. This doesn’t take anything away from the actual opener, “Circle of Tyrants” because that is a cool track. It just would have sounded better second or third. Saying that, no matter where you put it, “Dethroned Emperor” would have sounded great. I love how it starts with the slower Sabbath sounding riffs, especially the intro, before eventually increasing in speed. Vocalist Tom G Warrior is no Ozzy or Dio but his vocals are what is needed here. Speaking of intros, the screeching one on “Visual Aggression” may only appeal to the most tuned of ears, like mine, but the song does belie the title. It’s aggressive! The way thrash ought to be played. “Suicidal Winds” does not close the album in some sort of catchy melodic way. It pounds you into submission one more time, daring you not to give the EP a listen in the future.

Another aspect of thrash albums of the mid 1980s, was the album covers. I remember many an interesting album cover in the design of the one here. Not all of them featured scantly clad women either. What makes this cover stand out is that it reminds me of Succubus creatures in the computer game Diablo only the ladies here don’t have bat wings. Still, I wonder if the designer for the game got the influence for them here.

Track Listing:

  1. Circle of Tyrants
  2. Morbid Tales
  3. Dethroned Emperor
  4. Visual Aggression
  5. Suicidal Winds


Celtic Frost

Tom G. Warrior- guitar, vocals

Martin Ain- bass

Reed St. Mark- drums

In 1986, I welcomed Celtic Frost into my life. Their EP “Emperor’s Return” whetted my appetite for thrash metal, as did many other albums. I only wished I had heard them in 1985.

Next post: Celtic Frost- To Mega Therion

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2 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Celtic Frost- Emperor’s Return”

  1. I love this one, ‘Dethroned Emporer’ is just brilliant. Great choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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