Top positive review
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...still metal thrashing mad...
on 30 January 2009
Kreator are one of the Big Three of German thrash metal. Alongside Sodom and Destruction they've flown the flag high ever since forming way back in 1982. Their early demos saw them getting signed by legendary genre label Noise, and under the stewardship of founder member Mille Petrozza, they've been pounding away ever since.
Their début album Endless Pain came out in 1985 and was an instant hit with metalheads, and it's one of the albums that is constantly hailed as a major influence by subsequent generations of bands. The follow-up, 1986's Pleasure To Kill, is even better. Kreator broke all the speed limits as they thrashed their way through classic after classic, with "Flag Of Hate" hailed as a metal anthem.
Their final indie album of the eighties, Terrible Certainty continued their momentum and saw the major labels sniffing round, with Epic Records signing them for the LA recorded Extreme Aggression, complete with a big name producer in Randy Burns, MTV videos and US tours. However, as with many metal bands, signing to a major saw the first cracks in the Kreator story. With a new guitarist in tow, "Coma Of Souls" saw the critics knives sharpening.
In response, Kreator threw their toys out of the pram as they responded with a series of experimental releases that saw them dipping their toes into industrial metal, goth rock, and the just plain weird, on albums like Renewal and Endorama. There were more line up changes, leaving vocalist / guitarist Petrozza as the sole original band member, and it seemed as though there days were numbered as Epic dropped them, and they headed back to indie land.
But then the 21st century arrived, along with a new guitarist, Sami Yli-Sirniö, and suddenly Kreator returned. Violent Revolution was a fabulous return to form and to their roots, and the band saw their profile raised, and a new generation of fans arrived. A live album and a new studio release, Enemy Of God were also well received, but with four years passing without any new material, is there any gas left in Kreators tank?
Well, the answer is an emphatic yes. Studio album number twelve continues Kreators journey back in time on album recorded live on a four track analogue tape recorder with no overdubs, their first in such style since Pleasure To Kill back in 1986. Now I'm still not convinced that Kreators twenty first century love affair with eighties thrash isn't partly inspired by commercial concerns, but a minute into the title track, the air guitar is out, my head is banging, and I'm young again! So who cares.
On into the second song "Warcurse", and the riffs are still faster than the speed of light, there is some excellent drumming from Ventor, and I'm mulling over looking out my neck brace. It's largely pedal to the metal, as Kreator look at the new wave of thrash bands coming up, and decide to show them just how it should be done. Having the band playing live in the same room does wonders for the feel of the album, and producer Moses Schneider should be commended for going old school on this one.
There are a few left turns here with an inventive arrangement on "Amok Run" particularly noteworthy, but the band mainly stick to piling on riff after riff. And they're mighty fine riffs with "Escalation" and "Demon Prince" brutal masterpieces, full of enough aggression and venom to keep the most ardent misanthrope happy. Now I'm not convinced Hordes Of Chaos quite matches the out and out genius of either Violent Revolution or Enemy Of God, but it still dumps on all the young pretenders from on high.
The album is out in a few different formats. Apart from the bog standard ten track album, a deluxe edition features a bonus DVD with a making of the album documentary, two live videos and a promo video for the title track and the ultra deluxe edition includes a Kreator shirt, an extended version of the bonus DVD and a book. There is also a vinyl version of the album with different artwork from the other issues.