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Celtic Frost Bassist Martin Ain Has Died

Kerrang! is saddened to report that Martin Ain, bassist with pioneering Swiss metal bands Celtic Frost and Hellhammer has died of an apparent heart attack, aged 50.

Kerrang! is saddened to report that Martin Ain, bassist with pioneering Swiss metal bands Celtic Frost and Hellhammer has died of an apparent heart attack, aged 50

The impact of the music Martin helped create on the metal world is hard to understate. As a teenager, in 1983 he joined the fledgling Hellhammer, an ultra-extreme band founded by fellow Swiss metal fan and musician Thomas Gabriel Fischer (who soon adopted the stage name Tom G Warrior). After the release of their Apocalyptic Raids EP in 1984, Tom and Martin dissolved Hellhammer with a design on starting again under a new name, Celtic Frost, reasoning that Hellhammer’s name would forever be attached to the primitive, ferocious din they cooked up, rather than any of the more artistically ambitious ideas they had for the future. Hellhammer would become incredibly influential in the metal underground, particularly in black metal, but it was with Celtic Frost that the pair would make the greatest impact.

Celtic Frost Live at Wacken 2006

Heavier than Black Sabbath, able to go as fast as Metallica and their thrash compatriots, and with an esoteric, otherworldly sense of darkness to them, not to mention an air of art and intelligence about them, Celtic Frost were one of the most important bands ever to come from the metal underground. Not just influenced by metal, but also by gothic and post-punk groups like Siouxsie And The Banshees and Joy Division, there was a haunting atmosphere to them that set Celtic Frost apart. Always driven by a desire to push boundaries artistically, what Martin and Tom created on Morbid Tales (1984), Into The Pandemonium (1987), and To Mega Therion (1985, on which Martin contributed songs but did not perform) is among some of the most important and creatively brilliant music in metal history, and the band’s last album, 2006’s post-reformation Monotheist, is a staggeringly heavy work which brought forth the same morbid magic and creative genius. Dave Grohl told Kerrang! that it was The darkest thing I’ve ever heard,” while legend goes that when Nirvana drove from Seattle to LA to record Nevermind, one of the few tapes they had in their van was Celtic Frost. Meanwhile, countless other musicians, from metal bands like Cannibal Corpse and Phil Anselmo (who has a Celtic Frost tattoo), to Frank Iero and The Melvins’ King Buzzo have all saluted the band. 

Kerrang! sends our deepest sympathies to Martin’s family and friends.

@nick_ruskell

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Posted on October 22nd 2017, 4:53p.m.
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