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Baker's Dozen

Walk On In Darkness: Tom G Warrior's 13 Favourite LPs
Jimmy Martin , September 20th, 2017 09:46

Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost, Triptykon and Hellhammer speaks to Jimmy Martin about the elements that fed his nightmare kaleidoscope, from Quincy Jones to Venom, Roxy Music to the 'Sisters and 'Sabbath

In the dark and distant realm of the pre-internet world, some of the most otherworldly strands of innovation in underground music were forged in geographical isolation by artists stubbornly intent on pursuing their own twisted vision at all costs. None more so than Thomas Gabriel Fischer, who was born in Switzerland in 1963 and would leave an indelible mark on extreme music. His murky and arcane marriage between viciousness and artistry would sound like nothing else previously attempted, and still maintains its original eldritch chill.

The echoes of the music that Fischer would create - first of all under the nom de plume Satanic Slaughter in the unholy triumvirate of Hellhammer from 1981 to 1984, then swiftly afterwards as Tom G Warrior in avant-metal titans Celtic Frost, could be heard in many of the strands of metallic evolution that would follow - the grinding riffage of Napalm Death, which begat the entire grindcore genre, would be in thrall to the stylings of Frost’s Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, while the grotesque death metal of Obituary, the twisted doom-death of early Paradise Lost, the excoriating hardcore of Sheer Terror and even the dementoid doom of Electric Wizard would issue forth from decidedly Frosty origins. Moreover, 1987’s Into The Pandemonium - a wildly eclectic album made against considerable opposition from their label, and which recieved a 0/100 review in the UK’s leading underground metal publication Metal Forces - would completely redefine the boundaries of what a metal album could be. True, Frost would run aground with the somewhat haphazard Cold Lake, whose glam metal strains were a failure spectacular enough to haunt Fischer for decades to come, but their broader impact only intensified with time.

"No, not at all," he says when asked if he had any idea of the extent of his mark on the metal world. "I first realised that people perceived us like this when we reformed Celtic Frost in the early 2000s, and we got more and more in contact with journalists again and everybody came with these questions - and I had no idea of that - seriously, I'm not just downplaying. Even 17 years later it still seems absurd to me. Everybody tells me this, and of course it's honestly a huge honour for a little kid from a farm town in Switzerland, but I honestly don't see myself like this. I always say the same thing - it seems extremely surreal. I'm just somebody who's really passionate about music, but I never walk around thinking of myself as something preposterous like an influence."

Yet as much as Tom G Warrior’s creations - which continued in the 21st century with the outrageously outré and head-splittingly heavy Monotheist album - seem forged in some intimidating metaphysical realm, he’s extremely affable and modest to a fault in explaining the origins of his crepuscular visions.

Celtic Frost Best Of compilation Innocence And Wrath is out now, alongside four reissues of classic albums Morbid Tales, To Mega Therion, Into The Pandemonium and Vanity/Nemesis, Click the photo below to begin reading the Baker's Dozen.

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