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Celtic Frost’s Martin Eric Ain Dead At 50

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Martin Eric Ain, the bassist for Celtic Frost has died.

Ain, whose birth name was Martin Stricker, was felled by a heart attack.

The musician was 50.

The U.S.-born Stricker adopted the stage name Martin Eric Ain for an early metal outfit called Hellhammer. Though the band would release the critically-maligned EP Apocalyptic Raids, it’s now considered a cult classic and fetches a high price on the secondary market.

With Hellhammer behind him, Ain and former Hellhammer singer Tom Gabriel Fischer founded Celtic Frost. Informed by classic metal like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden as well as Goth bands like Bauhaus, Celtic Frost’s sound was an inventive hybrid and their idiosyncratic musical approach made them in many ways difficult to categorize.

“I think of them as an almost industrial thrash band,” SEM’s Matt Sloan once wrote of Celtic Frost. “They have all the hallmarks of thrash metal, but there’s a strain of doom flowing through each number that makes me think they’re one of the first Goth Metal bands we’ve ever had.”

Celtic Frost only recorded six albums in their career, including the influential 1985 LP To Mega Therion.

The band called it quits in 2008.

Ain, who had dual citizenship in the U.S. and Switzerland, went on to own a bar and a nightclub in Zurich.

Of his death, Fischer wrote on Facebook: “I am deeply affected by his passing. 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.”