Celtic Frost Frontman Says Metallica ‘Butchered’ His Songs
Tom Gabriel Fischer, frontman of the influential Swiss metal group Celtic Frost, has lashed out at Metallica for covering his band’s songs.
During a May performance in Zurich, Metallica’s Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett played "The Usurper," a track from Celtic Frost’s 1985 album To Mega Therion. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ rendition left Fischer enraged.
"They butchered it, and it was humiliating,” he declared in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Why don't they leave their millionaire fingers off it? They've long lost the ability to play true metal, in my opinion. Maybe I should go onstage and do a really miserable version of [Metallica's] 'Hit the Lights' with, like, 200 mistakes to set the balance."
Metallica have routinely mixed cover songs into their set lists during recent tours. These “doodles,” as the band calls them, are designed to pay tribute to some of the group’s musical heroes. In most cases, the cover songs are deconstructed interpretations featuring bass, guitar and occasional vocals. Metallica also covered Celtic Frost in 2018 when they performed the group's song "Procreation of the Wicked" at a concert in Geneva.
You can watch both of Metallica's previous Celtic Frost doodles in the videos below.
It’s possible that Fischer’s harsh criticism stems from personal feelings toward Metallica singer James Hetfeild. The Celtic Frost founder is a vocal opponent of hunting for sport, a hobby in which the Metallica frontman engages.
"Even if they had done a fantastic job [with the cover], I could puke all over it because I don't support people who go hunting bears for a hobby," Fischer admitted. "I cannot respect a person like that, even if it's a genius musician."
Celtic Frost formed in 1981, releasing four studio albums before disbanding in the early ‘90s. The group reformed in 2001 and released its comeback album, Monotheist, in 2006. Fischer departed the band once again in 2008, going on to form his newest metal group, Triptykon.