2009 was the year I re-discovered the more extreme side of metal, and the band that brought me back into the fold was Kreator!
I was a huge fan of heavy metal in general, and bands like Megadeth, Anthrax and Kreator in particular. I remember being absolutely stunned by thequality of albums like ‘Extreme Aggression’, ‘Coma of Souls’ and even 1992’s ‘Renewal’ (even though that album doesn’t get a lot of kudos these days I remember some rave reviews back then, one review in particularly, maybe from Metal Hammer, finishing a gushing note with ‘Jaws firmly dropped’)
I lost touch with heavy metal for years; sometime around the mid nineties when grunge and subsequently hip-hop took over and laid waste to metal as I knew it, I immersed myself in classic acts like the Stones, Dylan, Bowie, Tom Waits; and still favourites like Ramones, Sex Pistols…etc Heavy metal for me fell away, even Metallica released the awful ‘Load’ collection and Megadeth went down the road to almost a hard rock pop sound culminating in 1999s ‘Risk’.
I lost touch with Kreator totally; I did hear very interesting snippets when ‘Endorama’ was released, and again when ‘Violent Revolution’ came out; but 4 or 5 years ago I realised just why I loved this band to begin with. I heard both ‘Cause for Conflict’ and the magnificent ‘Hordes of Chaos’ - and found themabsolutely thrilling! Visceral, violent with gripping riffs, melodies and ideas. ‘Conflict’ is just so raw and immediate, but ‘Chaos’ is even more so. ‘Hordes of Chaos’ was astounding, from the very first time I heard it fully through I couldn’t believe a band of their vintage (at that point 25 years) had created something so vital, vibrant and truly visceral. I was amazed, and almost literally overnight my passion for this great band awakened again.
I re-discovered all of the back catalogue I hadn’t heard in years, including the albums I missed (Outcast, Endorama, Violent Revolution, Enemy of God), and have to say, found brilliance in all of them, even in the melo-goth experiemental & atmopsheric ‘Endorama’. Different sound, different musical landscape, but some excellently written songs.
‘Phantom Antichrist’ last summer was the one that then cemented Kreator in my mind as one of THE great bands; not simply in the heavy metal field, but in general. A veteran band who are actually producing today some of their most vital and unforgettable sounding albums, with a very rich and classic back catalogue. To say I loved ‘Phantom’ would be an understatement, I felt it was astonishing; every single song has something magical in it; something to keep you coming back. It was inspiational to hear a set of such brilliantly arranged and written songs from a band so long into a career; to hear the hunger and passion is not simply still there but the passion to surpass all that has come before.
Maybe well summed up in one of the multitude of wonderful reviews I found online for it -
“...Its rare for a band over 20 years into their career to release even a single album that can measure up to, let alone surpass, the classics of their heyday. This fact makes it all the more astounding to behold the latest audible feast by genre veterans Kreator, who have proven time and again to be one of the world’s premier acts to follow in not only thrash metal, but heavy music itself as an art form, spurring the universe on in their own simple, powerful way. Phantom Antichrist is no different, going above and beyond the call to become one of the greatest records in both their expansive catalogue, and the entire metallic lexicon”
- If the sheer quality of last few albums are anything to go by, then we may have another decade of genre defining albums from this, one of the greats, long may Kreator reign!