Nuclear Blast Records/Riot! Entertainment
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Germany’s favourite thrash sons return
There are not many of the old guard of thrash still doing thrash. Thankfully bands such as Kreator – who like many others of their era who did stray from their core style for a part of their career – have shown over the course of their recent output that thrash still has a fan base and is still a relevant part of today’s metal landscape. The group’s first handful of albums right up to 1990’s Coma Of Souls will hold a special place in the hearts of many a thrash fan whilst those from the remainder of the ‘90’s will always be a point of contention amongst the faithful. Since 2001’s Violent Revolution, the band are back on track with 2005’s Enemy of God and 2009’s Hordes of Chaos being particularly venomous.
With album number thirteen – yes, you read that correctly – these fast and furious Germans have taken that aggression and polished and refined it just that little bit to produce one hell of an album with Phantom Antichrist. Not only does it encapsulate the aggression that we have come to know and expect from this quartet – just listen to the searing brutality of the title track – but it seems that the guys have also taken note of their ‘90’s diversion and also included elements of that throughout as well as some melodic death metal inspired passages to boot.
Case in point is the excellent From Flood Into Fire which boasts some truly beautiful guitar work – blistering leads, haunting clean passages and melodeath like guitar harmonies. But this is just a single instance on an album that truly shines throughout. There are riffs a plenty that gallop at a seemingly out of control pace, but militant precision sees a good pull on the reigns and the song takes another amazing turn taking the listener on an engaging 45 minute aural journey.
As well as the ample breathing room for guitarists Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirnio to really flex their musical muscles, the other highlight that must be mentioned is the vicious snarl of Petrozza’s vocals. I’ve been a fan of Mille’s work for a very, very long time now and strongly believe he has one of the best thrash vocal deliveries around and Phantom Antichrist is further testament to that. It certainly rounds off the Kreator sound very well indeed.
Rounding out the album is the haunting and dynamic Until Our Paths Cross Again. Mixing a melancholy vibe via acoustic guitars early on which soon turn to slow, pedestrian minor sounding chords, the track is a truly fitting and brilliant finale to the album, and based on this high calibre release, I for one cannot wait to see what Kreator do next. This is stellar!