What a sorry, damp joke Celtic Frost had become behind the scenes during the last few months of the band’s existence. It was impossible to continue, surrounded by one whose perpetual preposterous boasts and insolent tirades bore an ever decreasing relation to reality and one who could no longer be bothered and ultimately belied the commitment he had frequently confirmed to me since we began working together again. But then, I had predicted exactly that to his face on more than one occasion.
There was no remnant anymore of what once was an extremely professional and determined group. Music was no longer even a topic. In the end, determination was met with hatred, literally, on one hand and apathy on the other. I became the only one who truly intended to continue on the course as we set it. Absurdly, I could only do so by leaving.
What a disgrace. What a disappointment, when we should have – and could have – done it better. What a betrayal of the work we ourselves had put into the band for so many years and the commitment our audiences had granted us so unconditionally. We all shall never again experience anything like it.
All human groups fall apart the same way.
People lose consensus to achieve something positive, to make something, and fall to bickering about dividing up what is. Power becomes control, a weaker form. Ambition becomes a desire to see one’s name in lights. They lose sight of a transcendent goal.
Transcendent goals are hard to define. They’re abstract, but they correlate to the rules of planet earth and our universe. They’re realistic, but at the same time, concern something that does not yet exist.
If you want to make great art, or a great society, you need to have such a goal. For the Romans it was dominion over the known world, which required a compelling culture as well as the best military force on earth. For the ancient Greeks, it was a sense of excellence in all things, which resulting in their culture dominating the known world.
When Celtic Frost was healthiest, its members were united in consensus on creating something of a positive yet not currently existing nature. It was not negativity like “we want to avoid this” and “we hate society,” but an offering of their worldview as translated into an artistic experience, a hybrid adventure/poem.
Our society parallels this decline, as do all human groups, because the origin of this decline is not inherent to an age or a species, but to intelligent minds divided into individuals. It is the mathematics of collaboration.