Gods of Violence
Kreator is a band that’s been around since the early 80’s and they’ve been praised consistently for being one of the greatest thrash bands in metal history, going on to be considered one of the Big Three of German Thrash along with Destruction and Sodom. Over the years, their style had changed from time to time but they’ve always brought the heavy, and since the new century, they have released a series of unfailingly great albums. Now they have brought their latest creation to the table, so let’s take a look…
Opening track is “Apocalypticon” and it really is a simple instrumental introduction/build up to carry you into the album proper. This thing is filled with martial drums, melodic guitar, and epic keyboards that set the template for what you’re going to get. This could easily be called Power Metal and that description would be fair. But Kreator always make sure to slam it into overdrive, and they do so with the next track.
“World War Now” rages in on a series of thrash riffs, plowing forward, attacking on all gears. Mille Petrozza (founder, vocalist, guitarist) rips into his patented, authoritative and powerful vocals, unleashing a torrent of politically-charged lyrics (something that will repeat itself countless times throughout this record). The song charges along until about two minutes in where it slows to a rumble of drums and melodic leads, tumbling into a chant-along section, bringing more of that Power Metal feel back in. After this, it continues down the melodic path until it tears into a series of blistering leads. Good, good stuff.
A tolling bell of doom brings in “Satan is Real,” probably the best track on the record. Melodic twin guitar slides us further in until the crushing riffs about twenty-five seconds in. This song is what Kreator does to perfection as a band: lots of melody, lots of thrash, commanding vocals, anthemic chorus. This is Kreator firing on all cylinders and my Satan is it sweet on the ears.
Pure, crushing assault comes next with “Totalitarian Terror,” an all-out thrasher. Blasting right along, Mille spits lyrics about revolution and resistance to radical lies and governments. This is a song ripped straight from the headlines, possibly Mille’s reaction to the far-right winning seats of government around Europe and the U.S., but that’s just my interpretation. In any case, this is a neck-breaker, so don’t approach it without knowing you’ll soon be in the pit, mixing it up. Oh, and there’s an amazing anthemic chorus in this one, too.
“Gods of Violence” has one of those acoustic openers thrash bands loved to do in the mid-80’s, a little sitar thrown in for good measure, before the Maiden leads spring up along with the sing-along chorus. Then its thrash, baby, thrash, Kreator just kicking ass for a fourth song in a row, on a roll, formidable and undeniable. They’ve got this sound and style perfected, and yet it doesn’t feel machine-like, but fresh and full of energy.
Next song “Army of Storms” continues the chug, rushing right along, mixing the Maiden with the thrash to the point of righteousness. Relentless pummeling, combined with a mix of thrash and melody, carry the listener “beyond the blood red horizons.” This is a galloping horse with flared nostrils, spitting steam and fire.
“Hail to the Hordes” could easily fit on an Amon Amarth album since it’s all Viking power and grit. This is a nice change in tempo to keep the running order fresh, Kreator here experimenting just a tad to keep themselves honest.
“Lion With Eagle Wings” brings the furor down with a renaissance-like guitar opening (and is that a glockenspiel chiming behind the guitar?), pulling you in, making you think this might be a moment to catch your breath, but nope. Seconds later its racing along, sleek and strong, if a bit repetitive in relation to what came before it.
Drums and chug are what “Fallen Brother” is made of. A more mid-tempo stab at the heart, this one keeps it simple, although that’s not to its detriment. And yes, you’ll get some more melodic twin guitars, but the damned drumming is really impressive in this song. What we have here is a third song in a row that could be considered filler but on any other album would be considered killer. Which category they fit in is up to the mood of the listener.
“Side by Side” is more of the same, really: heavy, thrashy, melodic, frantic. Nothing wrong with this song but like the three that proceeded it, nothing remarkable, either.
“Death Becomes My Light” is the final track and we find Kreator doing something a bit different here. It opens like a Maiden song, atmospheric, melodic, and full of drama. Mille pulls back on the grit and spit and sings more on this track and it’s effective. There’s a bit of prog here, even though the guitars do kick in, and we get some virtuous melodic twin guitar slinging. This song more than anything resembles Maiden through and through, minus the soaring vocals. Gallop, gall, and epic greatness carry this one along. More thrash bands should do this, I think, mix in the twin leads with the crunch; it makes an effective team of light and shade, giving the song dynamics you don’t normally find on thrashier efforts. This is an excellent end to an excellent album
Gods of Violence is a great record, Kreator returning with a fantastic collection of tunes and riffs. It does get a bit samey-sounding at times, but the overall crush carries it through. This is an early contender for album of the year, and easily bests the new efforts of the Big Name American thrash bands that have put out new albums over the last year and a half.