Review: Kreator – ‘Reissues’

Four reissues from the early stages in the long, illustrious career of much respected German thrash band, Kreator. Often credited as being forerunners of both death and black metal, the early days of the band’s history produced a savage, aggressive sound that influenced many fledgling musicians. Featuring the original albums as well as live tracks and demos, these are reissues that someone has gone the extra mile on. The packaging is stunning and worth the price alone, but what’s inside will surely please the most ardent teutonic thrash fans out there. Debut album ‘Endless Pain’ was originally released back in 1985. Avoiding the trap that a lot of thrash bands fell into by creating an album of similar pace and style, Kreator mixed it up, and in doing so, body swerved monotony. You’ll hear traces of traditional metal and in places, and a tiny bit of punk. For instance, ‘Cry War’ is way more punk than many bands of this genre. The way it changes tempo and style throughout the short few minutes meant that Kreator stood out from the pack. The thrash/death/black elements are prominent on classics like ‘Bonebreaker’ and ‘Flag Of Hate’, where the drums are played at breakneck speed. Already got the album and not sure about paying out again? Then the bonus tracks should have you cracking open the wallet, especially the raw demos of ‘Satan’s Day’ and ‘Messenger From Burning Hell’. The follow up album, ‘Pleasure To Kill’, opens with the atmospheric instrumental ‘Choir Of The Damned’, which would feature for some time as the band’s intro on the live stage. The haunting arrangements and eerie guitar sound serve as a great prelude to the ensuing madness of ‘Ripping Corpse’, a personal favourite, and ‘Death Is Your Saviour’. The differing vocals from guitarist Mille Petrozza and drummer Ventor Reil work well, particularly when Ventor takes over the vocal duties on the crowd-pleasing ‘Riot Of Violence’. An extreme album that still sounds fresh three decades later. ‘Terrible Certainty’ saw the band change style, dropping the death and black metal leanings in favour of a predominantly thrash sound. Ventor’s growls are gone as Petrozza handles the majority of vocals himself. His drumming is, however, as powerful as ever. ‘Storming With Menace’ is relentless, and some punk vocals creep in as the band spit out the song title with real menace (sorry!). The mid section of the song sees the band go with the previously uncharted waters of melody, as they slow it down a notch or two. The highlight for me is the powerhouse drumming intro of the title track. Ventor totally crushes as he pounds away. An incredible example of the craft. Throw in a handful of bonus live tracks, and you have great value for money. All this leads nicely to what is usually regarded as the jewel in the Kreator crown, 1989’s classic ‘Extreme Aggression’. If ever there was an album that lives up to its title, it’s this one. ‘No Reason To Exist’, ‘Love Us Or Hate Us’, and the skull-crushing ‘Betrayer’ highlight how important Kreator are to the genre. 14 bonus tracks (count them… 14!) make this a lengthy affair, spreading over two discs, with the live version of ‘Love Us Or Hate Us’ really standing out. When the history of Thrash is discussed, more column inches are dedicated to American bands, meaning acts like Kreator are often overlooked. Amongst the fanbase, the foot soldiers, Kreator are rightly hailed as innovators. ‘Extreme Aggression’ is easily one of the top five ultimate thrash albums of all time. In Ventor, Kreator have one of the most influential drummers that the genre produced, and it’s about time that these guys get the acclaim that they richly deserve. Available now from Amazon  Review: Dave Stott  ]]>

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