on 22 June 2003
I can't believe anybody would actually release a product like this. This album is a prime example why the music industry is in such a desolate state, and how artists whose entire body of work consists of incorporating art and rebellion into exactly this industry are shamelessly being ripped off - along with the fans.
When London-based Sanctuary Records acquired Noise Records a few years ago, they gained access to the rights to the entire musical back catalogue of Celtic Frost. And this album is the result. It is apparently also the result of unconcealed greed and incredible carelessness towards the audience, artistic integrity, content, and - last but certainly not least - towards the band themselves. Licensed by Sanctuary to obscure "Delta Deluxe" records, the songs contained herein don't even represent Celtic Frost's body of work. It is as if a blind person grabbed into a bowl of song titles. What is billed as a "best of Celtic Frost" features, in reality, also utterly unrelated songs by early -1980s Swiss underground Death Metal group Hellhammer and by late 1990s industrial/EBM project Apollyon Sun. The only common denominator is that the lead singer is the same on all of these songs. I have yet to see any other compilation album assembled with such ignorance.
And then record companies wonder why sales continue to decline. Could it be because we all would like to have some quality and care in exchange for our money? Duhh.
What makes this CD an even more openly greedy attempt at getting the hard-earned cash of Celtic Frost's fans is the fact that Celtic Frost themselves and the then still independent Noise Records spent more than a year putting together the ultimate re-issues of all essential Celtic Frost albums in 1999/2000. The difference is obvious: these official and extremely detailed re-issues contained rare and unreleased bonus tracks, restored artwork, extensive liner notes by the band's singer Tom Gabriel Fischer, all lyrics, plenty of additional and unpublished photos from the band's archives, and completely restored and re-mastered music, resulting in a much improved sound quality. This labor of love reflected the band's commitment to their work and to their audience.
The CD compilation now released by "Delta Deluxe" stands in sharp contrast. The track listing alone reveals that the person in charge of putting it together apparently has no idea about which songs are essential to represent Celtic Frost and which aren't. It rather looks like some weird lottery of tracks without any cohesive concept. The same goes for the cover and artwork, which, I am sure has shaven years off the band members' life span when saw it.
I realize this review is extremely negative, but knowing both Sanctuary Records and the band, I cannot possibly recommend this album. The band themselves have always stated that the only source of Celtic Frost music officially sanctioned by its writers and creators are the 1999/2000 re-issues. This is the reason why. And this is the way it should remain.