Former Celtic Frost, Hellhammer Bassist Martin Eric Ain Dead at 50 | Revolver

Former Celtic Frost, Hellhammer Bassist Martin Eric Ain Dead at 50

Extreme-metal pioneer passed after suffering heart attack
celtic frost 2006 PRESS, Century Media Records
Martin Eric Ain (center) and Celtic Frost, 2006
courtesy of Century Media Records

Extreme-metal pioneer Martin Eric Ain, who played bass for Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, passed away yesterday (Saturday, October 21st) after suffering a heart attack at the age of 50.

"I am deeply affected by [Ain's] passing," Celtic Frost frontman Thomas Gabriel Fischer, A.K.A. Tom G. Warrior, commented. "Our relationship was very complex and definitely not free of conflicts, but Martin's life and mine were very closely intertwined, since we first met in 1982."

Under the name Slayed Necros, Ain played with Fischer, first, in Hellhammer, whose 1984 EP and sole release, Apocalyptic Raids, spearheaded the emerging black- and death-metal subgenres, influencing bands like Sepultura and Napalm Death, who both covered the song "Messiah."

After disbanding Hellhammer in 1984, Ain and Fischer formed Celtic Frost, a hugely influential band with fans ranging from pretty much every extreme-metal band ever, to all three members of Nirvana. Dave Grohl even invited Fischer to collaborate with him on his 2004 metal project Probot, resulting in the song "Big Sky."

As news of Ain's death broke, musicians around the world paid their respects. Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante remembered Ain on Twitter as "one of the nicest, intelligent and creative people I've ever known," while Arch Enemy's Michael Amott hailed him as "one of the early purveyors of extreme musical darkness in Metal." Norwegian bassist King ov Hell, best known for his work with Gorgoroth, commented, "I just learned that my dear friend Martin Ain passed away at age 50. His work with Celtic Frost and Hellhammer has been a huge inspiration for me and thousands of others. Rest in peace, my friend!"

Though primarily a bass player, Ain contributed lead vocals to the song "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh," which appeared on Celtic Frost's final album, Monotheist. You can listen to it below.