100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #65 Celtic Frost – Into The Crypts of Rays

Released : 1984

People often refer to the exportation of soccer violence to the rest of the world as the ‘English Disease’, but ask a retired Norwegian church minister that and he might have a different view. Black Metal – the extreme offshoot of a genre that spent the seventies chugging beer clad in denim and leather – is widely recognised to have been inspired by the British band Venom’s album of the same name, released in 1982 to widespread critical derision.

Whilst at home eveyone realised that the trio’s virgins and upside down crosses schtick was just that, across Europe others were taking it more seriously. Formed in Zurich, Celtic Frost were early adopters of what would become the movement’s signature corpse paint get up but on their debut EP Morbid Tales they’d taken Venom’s cartoonish antics and blackened them considerably, their primal thrash metal proving to be a text book for later generations.

Into The Crypts of Rays was the unholy chimera taking form, the throat shredding menace of lead singer Tom Warrior backed with sawing riffs and a brutal low end, all at the velocity of Motorhead gone hardcore punk.  Gone were the Hammer dynamics as well: the lyrics took in the murderous legend of Gilles De Rais, a companion-in-arms to Joan of Arc who after her martydom would go on to kill hundreds of children. Cruel Britannia had struck again.

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