Parched With Thirst Am I and Dying

by: Celtic Frost

Quite the title, and quite appropriate for this early career-spanning Celtic Frost compilation, from the band's earliest recordings in 1984 up through 1992. Unfortunately, the liner notes aren't all they could be, listing the origins of some of the tracks but not all. A fair amount are true rarities, though, including cuts from EPs, re-recordings, and studio jams, not to mention an unreleased cut or two. Perhaps unsurprisingly, To Mega Therion and Into the Pandemonium cuts feature prominently, though some of the more successful cuts from later albums crop up as well. Admittedly, success is where you find it -- the group's late-'80s/early-'90s work veers toward glam and goth, but would have been more successful had Gabriel Warrior cut out some of the cheesy soloing, but the crunch of the main riff still did the trick. Regardless, the emphasis is mostly on the doom-shadowed side of the band's work than its sometimes striking genre explorations, though the joys of "Tristesses de la Lune" and a live-in-the-studio re-recording of "Mexican Radio" help lighten up the proceedings. It's amusing to hear Warrior's voice change from time to time as the cuts move backward and forward chronologically, from the earlier roars and yelps to the smoother, sleazier approach later on. Add in the sometimes portentous and sometimes lustfully moaning female guest vocals for effect, and things were definitely a most surprising brew. As for the roiling death stomp of material the band made its name with, cuts like the vicious Therion tracks "The Usurper" and "Circle of the Tyrants," to name but two standouts, make it clear that it wasn't all hype. Appropriately corroded cover art and the full source of the title quote -- an ancient Greek/Roman prayer -- add to the veneer of historical weight the band played around with more than once. ~ Ned Raggett

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