Entertainment, Review

Album Review: Kreator’s Gods of Violence

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By Kim McLelland

When thinking of thrash metal most people think of the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) but, even back in thrash metal’s heyday, there were a number of other bands and scenes gaining respect and admiration from metal fans.

One important scene in 80s thrash metal consisted of a trio of German bands: Kreator, Sodom and Destruction.  When Kreator released their first few albums such as Endless Pain, Pleasure to Kill and Extreme Aggression, they became one of the most significant thrash metal bands outside of the Big Four, bringing a hard, speedy edge to thrash, more in keeping with the sound of Slayer than the more accessible sounds of Metallica or Anthrax.

Over the last ten years or so, thrash metal has been experiencing a renaissance of popularity in metal circles. While the bigger bands from the 80s thrash metal movement water down their sound to make it more palatable to the mainstream, bands like Kreator and Testament are leading the way in rekindling the metal community’s love of thrash in all its brutal, aggressive glory. Kreator have already released several stunning thrash metal albums in recent years, such as Enemy of God, Hordes of Chaos and Phantom Antichrist, and now we have their latest offering, Gods of Violence.

Following an instrumental opening track with a march-type feel, the album gets off to a rollicking start, with the aggressive and exciting ‘World War Now’. This is relentless, exciting, full-on thrash energy and a great start to a great album. ‘Satan is Real’ and ‘Totalitarian Terror’ continue the thrash metal assault but with punchy, almost catchy choruses, a trait that is continued on the title track with the roaring chant of “We shall kill” being perversely enjoyable to sing along to.

The track ‘Gods of Violence’ is a definite highlight of the album. With an acoustic intro, an epic feel throughout and some truly stellar guitar work, the song must surely rank as one of the band’s finest ever works. The guitar solo feels reminiscent of Iron Maiden and these melodic, dare I say it, almost power-metal guitar flourishes continue on tracks such as ‘Hail to the Hordes’ and ‘Lion with Eagle Wings’.

The latter half of the album feels more progressive than the first. There are some whispering but almost growling vocals over softer passages, spoken word on ‘Fallen Brother’ and a touch of bagpipes on ‘Hail to the Hordes’. But, however experimental or progressive Kreator get they never forget the assault of heavy riffing that is thrash metal’s hallmark.  This is the sign of a great metal band, they keep their sound interesting but never compromise on delivering the intensity their fans expect.

The final song is another highlight. ‘Death Becomes My Light’ starts off with an almost gothic vocal over a soft, acoustic intro. When the song gets going there are more of those melodic guitar leads, an anthemic chorus and a generally epic but energetic feel throughout. The song gets softer again towards the end, with some beautiful, emotional guitar leads and more of those croaking, almost gothic vocals.

Miland “Mille” Petrozza’s vocal delivery is engaging and enjoyable throughout, and the lead guitar work of both Sami Yli-Sirniö and Petrozza is impressive, exciting and often beautiful.  Kreator have never sounded better, they feel like leaders of the thrash metal genre right now and I truly recommend this album.

Kim McLelland is currently studying MA Multimedia Journalism at MMU. She has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and History and a National Diploma in Multimedia Design. Alongside music journalism and feature writing, it is Kim’s goal to use her talents and her experience as a transgender woman to be a voice for transgender people in the media.

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