Kreator – “Gods Of Violence” (Nuclear Blast)
Some 5 years in the making, a few people were asking if Kreator’s 14th album would actually see the light of day. Well, dawn has arisen, and it couldn’t have heralded a more blacker day to fly the flag of hate! From the early 80s in Germany’s industrial heartland of the Ruhr, Kreator soon established themselves as a fearsome power trio that would lay the foundations (along with Destruction and Sodom) of their national thrash movement. Always remembered by older headbangers like me for underground classics like “Endless Pain” and “Pleasure To Kill”, Kreator’s rising popularity soon saw them becoming more technical towards the late 80s, and then experiment in the 90s with other styles including death and even industrial before touring and line up changes all but brought the band to a standstill. Nevertheless, at the turn of the century a new band emerged, re-energized and returning to their thrash roots to the relief of many. Since then they have been clawing their back into mainstream headline status and along with their power, confidentially bringing in more melodies.”Gods Of Violence” is aptly titled. Few veteran bands these days can match the frightening speed of this band and hats must truly go off to powering co founder drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil, who must be in his 50s, yet whose relentless furor still leaves me breath taken! That said, the guitars of co founder vocalist ‘Mille’ Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö nearly gave me a heart attack!! If Metallica pioneered the chugging catchy riffola of thrash, then on “Gods Of Violence”, Kreator have taken it to near levels of perfection – perhaps unsurprising given the 25 year veteran status of this band!!! Producer Jens Bogren has given them an amazing sound that really rams these classy riffs as they machine gun you right in the guts time and again. Moreover, its the skillful utilization of melodies here that really make the difference and make the band worthy of going beyond the thrash label – a tasteful mixture of pure heavy metal, epic, dark and even touching on virtuosic at times. Petrozza and Yli-Sirniö don’t just show their prowess as instrument technicians, but as real musicians bringing out the emotions of the compositions to appreciate and enjoy like the stadium shaking ‘Satan Is Real’ where I can already hear the massed festival crowds chanting its uber catchy chorus enticed by those blissful melodies. The speed riffing mixed with suaveness is no better exemplified than on ‘Army Of Storms’, again resplendent in just the right places with passionate melodies and if its Metalli sized hooks you crave, then the slower ‘Fallen Brother’ should more than suffice with its razor sharp tone being brought right out thanks to Bogren as solos wail, tremolos get cranked as even the commercial chorus hits home given the monster swaggering riffs behind it. “Gods Of Violence” proves that Kreator are indeed the masters of thrash, having come of age impressively balancing their savagery in fine style through classy, catchy compositions. An utterly devastating album.