THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids EP


It is no secret that I'm one of those pesky Tom Warrior (Or Tom Gabriel Fischer, if you so choose) fans. I have no disillusions of ever making contact with the man, nor do I really see why it'd be necessary - I adore his music, and very much connect with a great deal of his newer music's themes, but I'm not sure I'd ever connect on a social level. Nonetheless, Mr. Warrior has had a rough A-to-B. His initial projects were a bit rough, Celtic Frost's greatest achievements were undoubtedly their initial albums - just when Tom Warrior began to hit a new stride with Monolith, issues arose that broke the band up. I don't even know happened to Coroner, a great project that only saw life as a demo. Apollyon Sun wasn't too too bad, but no one really seemed to care for the industrial style. It really wasn't until Triptykon, after countless appearances and producing other albums, that things came together. And, to this day I frequently dig through the legacy he's left. So, today, I'm beginning with the closest thing his first project came to a genuine album: the infamous Apocalyptic Raids.

The keyword, when it comes to this EP, is ideas. For Hellhammer, and a good deal of Celtic Frost, seemed to be based around the formation of ideas. A good deal of the ideas on Apocalyptic Raids indeed did transfer into the vast library that would follow. The ideas on this LP are decent and interesting, no doubt sapped to hell by the time I write this, but the overall execution is pretty much what you'd expect from a bunch of over ambitious kids - it's sloppy, but nonetheless inspiring to some degree. Tom Warrior's vocals are, for the most part, exactly the same as they were up until Celtic Frost's Monolith. What this basically means is... Tom can't sing. Most of the time he sounds like a ranting cultist, which is extremely effectual, but the singing is, as best I can describe, style over substance. What really shines to me is the sludgy droning nature of the guitar, which stands out when some songs are a whole lot of Tom not 100% knowing what to do with his instrument (such as the whole of Triumph of Death) or his voice (like all the songs on this EP). Of course, at times things are just so bare bones that it feels like the whole project was rushed - which, it pretty much was. What else can you say but... the whole of Hellhammer was ideas, and for the most part this EP was where they came together. Though, the bass leaves me thinking that, perhaps, it wasn't solely Tom Warriors inexperience that made things a little sloppy and slow at times. From the book 'Only Death is Real' I've gathered that Tom Warrior and the late Martin Eric Ain had a whole deal of creative and ideological differences that both shaped and destroyed Hellhammer and Celtic Frost time and time again. I've read the story, but I honestly wonder if there was more to it then stated.

It's honestly no surprise this content is all rough, sloppy, and iffy. The ideas however last to this day and have inspired countless. Hell, Messiah is still one of my all-time favorite songs. It's just interesting to see where the legend really began. Sometimes a person needs to look back, see where things began, before they start claiming the superiority of a certain artist. Thankfully, Tom Warrior has left a sizable legacy in his wake, for all to experience his endless ambition and devotion - you can see how he's used his own limitations as an advantage, and that is truly why things like Hellhammer remain so influential to this very day.