Gods of Violence
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Simon Crawley
This is the 14th studio album from the German thrash legends, and its whipping ferocity was conceived amidst the rising levels of hate and resentment gripping our planet all in the name of religious beliefs. This powerful theme soaks every minute of Gods of Violence, manifesting itself in ten tracks of scorching thrash metal.
Changes in musical style and personnel never did much to soften the grip Kreator had on global metal. In the company of Destruction and Sodom, Kreator formed part of the German wave of thrash metal that influenced the international metal scene in the same way the ‘Big Four’ (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) did from American shores, and the likes of Sepultura did from Brazil. Guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö was instrumental (no pun intended) in Kreator’s return to their thrash roots when joining the band for the release of 2001’s Violent Revolution. His teaming up with the two original members, Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitars) and Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil (drums), and longstanding bassist Christian Giesler has resulted in a successful and steady run for the German band. The creative juices are certainly flowing and age isn’t slowing these guys down.
After the one-minute opener “Apocalypticon”, Kreator swiftly get down to business with the pulverizing ‘’World War Now” – a true anthem to Petrozza’s chosen theme. There isn’t a lot more you can ask for in thrash terms when a song like this over delivers on riffs, hooks, solos, and melody. There is also no mincing one’s words with “Satan is Real” – with less fury, but bigger malice in powerful rhythm and a devilish chorus. Acoustic guitar, harp (courtesy of twelve-year-old Tekla-Li Wadensten), and sitar open the title track before utter precision from Yli-Sirniö and a levelling vocal performance from Petrozza take hold. These two of course have a lot to do with Kreator’s hallmark sound, but it’s not to say Reil and Giesler don’t leave their mark. At this midway point of the album, there isn’t a lot to pick apart and find fault with. This is a thrash fest of note.
Kreator trekked to Sweden to work with Jens Bogren on the production of the album and it was a trip the band can be happy they made. “Army of Storms” is a potent number with a blend of scorching riffs and melody shared between guitar and Petrozza’s handle on screaming vocals that hit melodic pitch. If a rugby team were into metal, “Lion with Eagle Wings” would work as a pretty solid motivational song to get psyched up before a game. “Fallen Brother” is somewhat less thrashy in the context of the album, but with so many hooks it’s difficult not to just lap it up, too. “Side by Side” marches with purpose before the seven-and-a-half minute “Death Becomes My Light” brings a close to Gods of Violence in epic fashion.
There is inevitably a contributing factor to how this album is received and that is that Kreator is one of thrash metal’s biggest bands. Nevertheless, nothing can be taken away from the Germans in that they have smashed this one out the park.