Thrash Under Pressure: Kreator

18th June 2016 0 By Tim Jones

Having discovered the Americas to be a hotbed of thrash metal activity, it’s time to sail back across the Atlantic Ocean and see what Europe offers us.

We start in Germany with our European thrash quest.

Kreator are the greatest example of Deutsche thrash you could hope to find. Due to the incorporation of death metal and black metal elements before either genre properly existed, they are pioneers of both of those genres as well as thrash. They are one of the Teutonic Big 4, along with Tankard, Sodom and Destruction.

They released their first album in 1985. Endless Pain – which sounds like it should have been the title of a Phil Collins record – was recorded in just 10 days, which is approximately 1365 days less than it took Metallica to record Death Magnetic. Can you tell it was a rush job? No, it’s a very solid debut without a dull moment.

Pleasure to Kill followed a year later. This is simply classic stuff. Just like Sepultura the band decided faster and heavier was better and the technical brilliance on display here is astounding. Even the American bands weren’t this good in 86. I could be strapped to a chair and this could be put on repeat forever and I wouldn’t complain.

Terrible Certainty in 1987 was anything but terrible and the Kreator juggernaut surged onwards. It’s an amazing cocktail of thrashtastic riffs, hyperspeed solos, frantic drumming and gravel-throated vocals. Everything a thrash metal album should be.

An eight-track EP (the number of tracks on it rather than the format of its release) with six live tracks, a Raven cover and two new original songs kept things ticking over nicely until Extreme Aggression arrived in 1989. This album benefited from better production and Kreator found themselves on MTV‘s Headbanger’s Ball – a sign of really having made it. A tour with Suicidal Tendencies was also proof of their newfound success.

Coma of Souls is more epic thrash, yet for some reason was not as well-received by fans. The early 90s was a peculiar time for the genre as behemoths like Metallica and Anthrax released some bizarre not-so-thrashy offerings and the spirit of the old days was almost dead on its arse.

If it ain’t broke, and all that, but because fans seemed to crave something different Kreator decided to experiment. If you don’t want to know what happened next, look away now.

Renewal saw a more industrial sound develop before Cause for Conflict seemed to see them return to their roots. This didn’t last long as Outcast returned to the industrial sound. If disillusioned fans thought that was bad enough, worse was yet to come. Endorama saw different singing styles emerge and it looked like the band had finally run out of steam. There were far too many slow numbers and it didn’t sound like a Kreator album at all.

In 2001 the balance was restored with Violent Revolution. Album opener Reconquering the Throne tells you all you need to know about Kreator‘s intentions with this record. They pretty much pulled it off. It wasn’t their greatest ever long player, but it made mincemeat of the previous four efforts.

Enemy of God, Hordes of Chaos and Phantom Antichrist are among the heaviest and thrashiest albums released in this millennium. Kreator‘s place in Europe’s, if not the world’s, thrash elite is more than confirmed.

And they’re not done yet. There’s a new album sin the works, but it won’t drop until next year.

Verdammte Scheiße!

Put them on your playlist: the whole Pleasure to Kill album – it’s impossible to narrow it down any more than that

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