Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 15/4
Gods Of Violence
Written by: AP on 06/02/2017 17:12:52
Despite being instrumental in the formation of the ‘other’ Big Four of thrash — the Teutonic reaction, completed by Destruction, Sodom and Tankard — Kreator’s emergence onto the market with 1985’s “Endless Pain” was always going to be eclipsed by Metallica’s ditto, “Kill ‘Em All”, two years earlier. But whereas the Bay Area legends can rightfully claim the title of pioneers, the quality of Kreator’s output has arguably been more consistent over the years, discounting perhaps the era of gothic and industrial experiments that took place from 1992 to 1999. Since returning to the aggressive ‘80s style with 2001’s “Violent Revolution”, armed with the extra firepower of influence from the burgeoning Gothenburg metal scene at the time, the Essen-born metallers have strived to, and largely succeeded in producing new material that is both innovative and worthy of standing alongside their impressive, 32-year body of past work. And by marrying the savagery of their early years with a newfound symphonic grandeur on this latest outing, “Gods of Violence”, Kreator adds more garnish to that tradition.
Specifically, “Gods of Violence” owes its excellence to two key aspects: the vocal performance of Mille Petrozza, and the foraging in heavy and power metal that enable a newfound grandeur to sprawl out of Kreator’s classic thrash metal core. Petrozza’s snarls remain startlingly unique and, despite turning 50 years old this year, as venomous as ever, as he cuts into topics of ancient evil and modern warfare. His incisive musings on resistance against totalitarianism and the necessity of ridding ourselves of antiquated modes of thinking could hardly resonate better in the current political climate, and his knack for chopping the lyrics into a series of easily digestible syllables in the choruses gives those messages an unparalleled anthemic quality. Petrozza’s lush guitar exchanges with Sami Yli-Sirniö pull a lot of the weight as well, pitching the lyrics up against a backdrop of almost symphonic proportions — the resulting instrumental bombast and braggadocio is nothing short of riveting. The symphonic element is not overbearing by any means, but if you loathe that style per default, then certain aspects of the record are likely to be pitted against your favour.
Indeed, thrash metal purists, and others who refuse to condone Kreator’s forays into material not resembling the late ’80s/early ‘90s golden era that saw the landmark efforts “Pleasure to Kill”, “Extreme Aggression” and “Coma of Souls” unloaded in quick succession, might find their mood soured by the band anno-2017. But while the sense of primal savagery on display in the aforementioned records has been toned down somewhat, Kreator has not lost its bark or bite. The likes of “World War Now” and “Army of Storms” provide blistering speeds, shredding and belligerent sentiment galore, but what makes the tracks outstanding is their disposition to glorious, ear-catching melodies. Petrozza’s bellowing ”We’re not afraid to live! We’re not afraid to die! We are the antidote to the radicalised! And as the cities drown in bloodbaths worldwide, we will survive!” over an epic dual-lead towards the end of “Totalitarian Terror” is sure to go down as one of the most unforgettable moments in metal this year, and you would be hard pressed to pinpoint a better written verse than housed by the title track in its wake.
Crucially, “Gods of Violence” is chock full of these marriages of the ultra-aggressive and ultra-melodic, with virtually every piece standing up to the challenge and ingraining itself to memory. Awash with punchlines like ”Sa-tan is real!” and ”Hail-to the-hordes!” (in their namesake tracks), riddled with blazing riffs and distinguished by technical wizardry, the philosophy underlying the album’s creation seems to have been to revel in sheer excess — this is metal with a gargantuan ‘M’, and you can just imagine the wide grins plastered across Petrozza’s, Yli-Sirniö’s, bassist Christian ‘Speesy’ Giesler’s and drummer Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil’s faces when they play the stuff live. Call it pompous if you must, but the fact remains that “Gods of Violence” represents some of the most anthemic and invigorating metal you will hear this year.
Download: World War Now, Totalitarian Terror, Gods of Violence, Hail to the Hordes
For the fans of: Destruction, Essence, Megadeth
Release date 27.01.2017
Nuclear Blast Records