German thrash legends Kreator return to action with their thirteenth full length album, 'Phantom Antichrist'. Described by vocalist (and founder member) Miland 'Mille' Petrozza, as their "most epic yet", does it really live up to his expectations?
Yes is the simple answer, but let's delve a little deeper. Kreator have been around since the late 1970s and the fact that two of the current band are founder members says a lot. I'm actually going to stick my neck out here and say that Mille is 100% correct about this being an "epic" album, and I think this could actually be the album to unseat 'Pleasure To Kill' as the best example of Kreator's studio output.
The nine track opus begins with the lyrical overtones of the intro ('Mars Mantra') before the drums and guitars break through into the ferocious strains of 'Phantom Antichrist'. A typically fast track in which Reil gives his drum kit a good workout, whilst Mille spits the lyrics out, only managing to catch his breath during the slower choruses.
'Death To The World' continues the pace with another savage track lamenting how the human race has seemingly destroyed "mother Earth". Unrelentingly fast again, Reil really does power his way through this song, only managing a brief respite before and after the guitar solo.
'From Flood Into Fire' starts off with some nice guitar work before settling down into, for the most part, a mid-paced (but still remarkably heavy) track. The use of backing vocals gives the chorus a stronger feel that might have otherwise been lost in the mix, plus it lends itself to the lyrics at that point too. There is a fantastic soaring guitar solo that turns into something quite exceptional, making this track a firm favorite of mine already.
'Civilisation Collapse' is a typically fast Kreator track with some crisp vocals from Mille talking about (as the title suggests) the end of civilization as we know it, whilst the track itself is carried along on a supremely heavy riff culminating in a (literally) explosive ending!
'United In Hate' gives a short break from the relentlessly thrashing guitars with an acoustic interlude before breaking into what must be one of their fastest moments on the entire album. The chorus reverts to a slower pace, but this doesn't detract from the song at all, which includes another outstanding guitar solo.
'The Few, The Proud, The Broken' is another solid slab of Metal with an almost militaristic intro to it. Mille once again (practically) spitting out the vocals, which tail off near the end of the song, into whispered vocals before the main riff returns as the song heads for its conclusion.
'Your Heaven, My Hell' starts off with another slow riff which quietens down into a nice guitar passage and more quiet vocals before the track really kicks in with its very strong riff, aggressive sounding vocals and another killer guitar solo. Again, it's one of the slower numbers presented here but even then, it's tempo is still a lot faster than some Metal bands could ever manage.
The penultimate track is the fast and furious 'Victory Will Come'. Mille barks out the chorus and there are some vocal samples hidden down in the mix and some great dual guitar work - all of which makes another very strong track, and one that has already been added to my playlist for April 2012.
The final track is the majestic 'Until Our Paths Cross Again'. From its acoustic/electric guitar intro to its loud finish, this is one truly epic song with Mille seemingly giving it one last hurrah on the vocals. Although it starts off slowly, the pace does quicken up, and song tempo goes through many changes before reaching the frantic guitar solo and onwards to a fitting finale – a great way to end a truly great album.
Death To The World
From Flood Into Fire
United in Hate
The Few, The Proud, The Broken
Your Heaven, My Hell
Victory Will Come
Until Our Paths Cross Again
Standard Jewel Case CD
Limited Edition CD/DVD Digipack
2LP coloured Vinyl (available in Yellow, Picture Disc or Red/Black split edition)
Limited Edition: metallic box including CD/DVD Digi Ltd. Edition, T-Shirt, exclusive 'Live At Wacken' CD, Poster, signing card, limited to 500 copies
Miland 'Mille' Petrozza – Vocals/Guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – Guitar
Christian Giesler – Bass
Jürgen Reil – Drums/Vocals