It’s not easy being Kreator –the band have constantly reinvented themselves, faced several line-up changes, and strived to remain a force in what is arguably an overdone subgenre of metal. The German thrash band’s success has to do with combining influences from other styles of metal, seen clearly with their more melodic approach from 2001’s ‘Violent Revolution’ and onward. The Teutonic thrash metal quartet are now ready to start 2017 with a new album, ‘Gods of Violence’, which sounds, to put it simply, quite melodious and incredible.
‘Gods of Violence’ features Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitars, lyrics), Sami Yli–Sirniö (guitars), Christian “Speesy” Giesler (bass) and Jürgen “Ventor” Reil (drums), but to enjoy the album, stop thinking of their individual performances for a moment and marvel at the triplet grooves that gallop ever so often under tasty melodies. The album is full of sharp riffs, quick double bass, and snarls, but at the same time, the songs are grand, several of them featuring epic intros. It turns out that Italian symphonic death metal group Fleshgod Apocalypse helped them out with the orchestras on a few songs. You’ll find a couple of weaker tracks here and there, but songs like “Totalitarian Terror” and the memorable album closer “Death Becomes My Light” turn things around.
Kreator brain Petrozza says the new album is inspired by the state of religious conflict in the world. Now, he isn’t reinventing the wheel here –thrash bands have usually embraced political and religious themes in their lyrics. However, the band’s sound clearly stands out on ‘Gods of Violence’, which is a wonderful chunk of groove, melody, hate, and extreme aggression. The hints of melody from the Gothenburg metal scene are more evident on the record. Incidentally, Swedish producer/mastermind Jens Borgen was at the helm of the record’s production. All of this ties the album together into a package of must-listen melodic thrash songs.
The smooth-yet-organic mix brings out the elements quite brilliantly –rougher production would give the songs a more old school kind of vibe, but ‘Gods of Violence’ needed to balance all the intricate melodies, orchestrations, and other subtleties. No complaints here; Jens Borgen gets another feather under his already-impressive cap. At the moment, it’s difficult to see a thrash release of 2017 topping the new Kreator album.