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Celtic Frost’s Tom G. Warrior Receives ‘Swiss Music Prize 2021’

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Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and Triptykon founder Tom Gabriel Fischer, better known by the alias Tom G. Warrior, was a recent recipient of the Swiss Music Prize 2021, which was awarded by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture at a Sept. 17 ceremony at Lugano’s Arte e Cultura (LAC) center.

This marked the very first time the award had been bestowed upon a heavy metal artist, helping to further cement Warrior’s legacy as a pioneer whose early bands, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, left a subsequent mark on metal’s developments, particularly in the burgeoning black and death metal realms in the mid-to-late ’80s.

“Tom Gabriel Warrior’s bands have played a significant role in music history and influenced musicians around the globe. A metal music pioneer, Warrior is an idol not just within the boundaries of the metal scene, and as an advocate for animal rights, he aims to provide a voice to those who don’t have one,” reads a statement from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, (via Triptykon’s Facebook page).

“Although I was very fortunate to be granted a loyal audience already early on in my career, not least in my native country of Switzerland, the local Swiss music industry and cultural institutions either ignored me or expressed derision for my music, and sometimes they even obstructed it. In their perception, it simply didn’t conform and wasn’t commercial enough. And indeed, my music was dark, experimental, and obstinate. But exactly due to these qualities, it was noticed abroad,” began Warrior in his acceptance speech (edited transcript also provided through Triptykon’s Facebook page).

He continued, “I do, of course, understand that receiving this prize is an honor, and I do feel grateful for it. But given that an inconceivable 40 years have passed since I first became a musician, this prize is also quite irrelevant to me by now. I have pursued my path regardless, without subordinating myself to any of the customary inbreeding rituals of the Swiss music scene, and without ever applying for any kind of cultural funding from the Swiss state or the relevant institutions.”

“The support granted to me throughout the years by the following individuals was absolutely essential, however, and my gratitude to them is limitless,” added Warrior, who went on to name the following directly: Antje Lange, Vanja Slajh, Alois Wendelin, Urs Sprenger, Maya Ghirardello, Martin Eric Ain, Michelle Fischer, H.R. Giger and Carmen Giger, Jörg Michael, Ian Christe, Denise Mathieu, Corinne Kühne, Kathy Lenze.

“And there are many more,” the Swiss icon noted and concluded, “Moreover, I would also like to express gratitude to those who do not kill animals, do not enslave them, and do not mistreat them, but instead respect and protect them. I bow to you.”

Congratulations to Tom G. Warrior on the well-deserved honor.

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