Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Epitaph

And like a thunderclap it was over. Tom G. Fischer's departure/disbanding of Celtic Frost has reverberated through the metal community, and though it is already "old news" it still merits attention. While I want to believe that declaring them officially dead is premature I can only rely on the regrettable facts as presented. Much like life itself, a band can end suddenly and without a sense of closure. It could be argued that Frost's departure yielded a satisfactory denouement by redeeming their controversial legacy with a truly strong album. Monotheist was what most everyone (including Tom, per his own journal) expected to be a new monument rather than the final cenotaph.

It is not my place to speculate on the reasons why Celtic Frost fractured once again, but let us not forget that the band was always fraught with adversity from its inception. Tom's efforts to propel the band forward often struck me as Melvillian; he was another Ahab hunting his own elusive white whale. Thus it is all the more poignant to think that he had finally captured the beast through Monotheist, but only then to see it fall back into the cold darkness. I enjoyed having elder statesmen among us again; for too long we have endured something of a headless movement with many of the old guard selling out, walking away, or leaving this world altogether. It was galvanizing to have Celtic Frost step forth and take up the flag once more and on their own terms no less. The fact that they did it at all is amazing given the way it ended the first time around. Moreover, Tom in particular deserves all the credit in the world for embracing so many of the bands that grew out of his legacy. Try giving your album to someone like Kerry King and see how well it goes.

The short version is that I wish it did not have to be this way. And maybe it won't be forever. I get no sense that Tom is going to summarily abandon metal in the wake of this, so it seems that waiting patiently is the only choice we have. Still, I was ready for more from the mighty Frost and it seems that this day may never arrive.