Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: June 5, 2012
Kreator could easily be the ‘lifetime achievement’ band of Thrash Metal because of its aggressive and out-of-the-box contribution to this respective genre. And it is probably the very reason why this (usually) underrated band has suddenly boomed, due to the resurgence of thrash attaining a more youthful following after the Big Four tour of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
My own personal Big 4 would be Megadeth, Slayer, Kreator and Sodom. These bands defined how thrash should be — in your face, powerful, below the ‘sell-out’ line, and sticking to the sound they formed.
Kreator‘s badass production and probably the “What the hell did I hear” feeling which their classic thrash album – Pleasure to Kill gives you, is something I’m sure every thrash fan loves. Although the sound might be attributed to the old recording equipment and you can see the band’s varied experimentation and sound right till their awesomely mastered Hordes of Chaos. Despite the quality of these subsequent albums, fans have continued to voice disappointment over Mille’s decision to not rehash that essential album. It’s apparently been enough of an issue that once the band did realign themselves with thrash in early 2000, Mille had to continually go on record to remind people who, although the album wasn’t going to be Pleasure to Kill Part II, it was still going to be a solid effort.
On the other side, I am sure there are hell loads of people who might be expecting Phantom Antichrist to be a typical Kreator album. Sadly it isn’t. Then again it almost feels as if Mille and company have taken all of the lements used throughout their career and melded them together to create something classic, yet new. It has traces of the song structuring and madness, but it definitely has much more to it – this time. Band’s experiment, some literally break their own barriers while some go drown the drain. Some are left with war-torn fans that blast them and worship them alike. For Kreator, this is exactly what is going to happen.
The album has an Iron Maiden-stylized cover which is mindblowingly done and not at all improvised, which I think is the point of doing cover – keeping it precise. The title track, “Phantom Antichrist”, which begins the album, is face-melting. It is going to make the “early Kreator was more epic” side of fans happier. It’s brutal, generic, with a heavy chorus of only two words – “Phantom Antichrist” followed by pounding drums. Albeit nothing unique, yet a true-blue fan will appreciate the consistency of the band.
My pick of the album is “Death to the World”. If all the fiasco related to 2012 (doomsday) happens, this is the song to define it. The whole band, Mille Petrozza (vocals), Sami Yli Sirnio (guitars), Christian Giesler (bass) and Jurgen Reil (drums) menacingly killing it with each song on this record. The level of uniqueness and heaviness that the band has achieved with respect to their prior record Hordes of Chaos is outstanding.
Kreator has experimented before, going gothic or even industrial metal, but this time it has gone melodic. Longer clean patches and thrash-doom mashups make the album enjoyable, but to a certain degree of appreciation. The song “United in Hate” for example has gorgeous double-bass patterns, but at the same time has some really long clean patches which may or may not appeal to all ‘Kreator-Kreated’ fans. Bands experiment and we are all split up and fighting about “old one was better or new”. Give THIS Kreator a listen with an open mind and I’m sure you will savor it. Is it their seminal work? Certainly not. But it’s definitely a worthy skull-crushing entry in the band’s formidable catalog.