In the history of heavy music of the last century, thrash metal takes one of the most important places: exceeding the scope of style and becoming the archetypal genre, it marked an entire era. Often after the big rise, an imaginary scale of success falls down and, one might say, thrash has turned out to be a stranger at the beginning of a new century. "Big Four" doesn’t impress so much with its works and other veterans such as Testament and Death Angel are also far from their best form. Only last year suspended the prolonged style dystopia: despite the fact that the "old men" continued to stick to their full of fillers line, such groups as Vektor or Revocation released great thrash metal albums of the new century, significantly refreshing the genre.
Kreator belongs to the honorable adepts of thrash metal. With a multi-million fan base, critics respect and well-earned reputation, the Germans have also got the so-called curse, inherent to many old school bands. The nature of this curse lies over time, its fateful runes applied to the walls of the musicians’ subconscious by their experiences and nostalgia — the old approach to creativity that worked before and brought the result, no longer works. Subjection to the past is felt much stronger when the greater tops are left behind. Getting rid of this means to reborn musically, discard all the usual experience and to come down from the familiar top and explore new areas, start at the beginning. It’s not surprising that no one does it.
The German thrash metallers with their 14th album "Gods of Violence" are a perfect example of the above but it must be admitted that they manage to find a better balance than many of their colleagues. Throughout its history, Kreator has been in constant searching of a new sound, creating from their discography a sort of metal anthology of the last third of XX century. Their fresh record sounds just like the previous "Phantom Antichrist", which marked the beginning of a new direction of their music with more melodic, dressed in Gothenburg’s tones with the British heavy metal melodies, tempting to think about a slight influence of Iron Maiden which now seems to be obvious. Only here all innovations look like external, as cloth changing before going on stage.
"Gods of Violence" is technically flawless: as for thrash, the instrumental part is close to the ideal, Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö’s teamwork is so much harmonious that sounds like a guitar dialogue in which both parties express their thoughts by retrieving music and virtuoso develop content of distributed between them melody. Jens Bogren’s production is a crystal clear that, however, doesn’t play into the hands of the album: the rebellious nature of thrash is abhorrent by such starched sterility in tracks. The usual for Kreator thematic concept of the album focuses on current world events, in this case, problems of religion and manipulations behind it.
Kreator expectedly followed the well-trodden path and recorded the album, using the familiar formula — that mean both good and bad news. In addition to the choral-syllables shouting in chorus, standard riffs, songs structure that does not change too much from album to album, because of which it’s easy to guess a lot of twists, the German quartet diluted the material by melodic death metal which also appeared on the band’s previous LP. On "Gods of Violence", mdm is side by side with discouraging power metal solos and cloying rhythm section. The album’s fourth songs also feature orchestral parts performed by the symphonic metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse. Despite the commitment to the established formula in the creation of music, "Gods of Violence" is not a classic 80s-90s thrash by Kreator, it’s more like an echo of gothic "Endorama", melodic thrash metal with all its consequences.
The fans of the German quartet will most likely be satisfied with the album. The release won't offer anything new but it surely can fill a playlist with a pair of high-quality tracks.
- World War Now
- Satan Is Real
- Totalitarian Terror
- Gods of Violence
- Army of Storms
- Hail to the Hordes
- Lion with Eagle Wings
- Fallen Brother
- Side by Side
- Death Becomes My Light
See also: Kreator pay tribute to deceased celebrities, rockers, and metalheads in video "Fallen Brother"
Reviewed by Alexander Tverdokhleb
Translated from Russian by Anastezia