Tom G. Warrior is aware of the legacy left behind surrounding his ground-breaking extreme metal outfit Celtic Frost. Ahead of the release of the era-spanning box-set Danse Macabre, the Warrior spoke with Metal Injection to reflect on the band's past.
"I'm very fortunate to the people at BMG," Warrior shared during our sit-down. "They are very artist friendly and they asked me to co-develop the concept with them. And they asked me to oversee all the artwork to basically make it a really true Celtic Frost project rather than a quick record company cash in. And they were open to anything I wanted to contribute and from my side, of course, the contributions also took into consideration what Martin Ain would have done if he would still work on this together."
With Danse Macabre extensively covering Celtic Frost from 1984-87, Warrior had cause to root through the memory banks of an instrumental period during his life and career, including that of the creation and release of 1987's Into the Pandemonium. A departure for the group due to its artistic leanings – one with noted label objections – Warrior can see the record with fresh eyes during this its 35th anniversary year.
"I also know its flaws. And of course, it's not a masterpiece. I think that's far too flattering. But what it represents is two young musicians fighting for their artist freedom," Warrior said of Into the Pandemonium.
"As strange as this sounds nowadays when you basically can do whatever you want in music. Back then it was literally a daily struggle against the record company and against certain perceptions in the scene and in the media. And the record company literally tried to shut down production at various points. And we really had to stand behind our artistic vision.
"We actually had to fight for it. And I'm usually proud of that, regardless of how the album actually came out," he adds. "Some of the album was a nice attempt, but didn't really work the way we wanted it. But what really is the overwhelming topic of the album is to stand for your artistic freedom and not bend to commercial pressure and just be an actual artist. If you used the word art then actually be an artist and risk your career for something."
Warrior's extreme vehicle Triptykon will pay tribute to Celtic Frost with a select series of performances in 2023, including at Houston's Hell's Heroes this March.
"I didn't want to force Triptykon to be a Celtic Frost tribute band, of course, but our guitar player and I, we both were a part of Celtic Frost. And everybody, the four of us in Triptykon love this music, and it's part of our heritage," Warrior shared.
"And we have never played the early Celtic Frost albums in their entirety. So to us it was also an interesting experiment. So to do this in North America, you're right. When Celtic Frost last toured it was 2007. And by now there's an entire new generation of metal fans who probably never had the chance to see Celtic Frost. So on many levels, we're looking forward immensely to this."
With Warrior revealing that Triptykon will work on new music in 2023, the past and present converge for an artist who was at the forefront of an era of change in the extreme metal landscape, and one who still holds the adoration of his fans closely.
"I'm also at all times aware that the audience has put me there, that I basically owe everything to people who listen to my music and give my music a chance," Warrior shared, humbled. "And I know that very well because it wasn't like this in the beginning."