Last year saw many of thrash metal’s biggest names return with new records showcasing that whilst emerging bands are our future, the old guard still have plenty to say. 2017 aims to keep this going as German thrash legends KREATOR return with album number fourteen, Gods of Violence. KREATOR have been honing their classic thrash metal sound over a 35 year career now and besides a brief experimentation with industrial and gothic elements in the 1990s, every record since the turn of the millennium have improved on the one that came before. Does Gods of Violence continue this tradition?
After a short climatic introduction through Apocalypticon the record roars into life with World War Now, a fitting name that perfectly describes the record’s explosive start. Backed with thunderous drumming from Ventor which keeps the pace at a monstrous speed, the dual riffing from Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö are the major focus point here. The riffing is intricate but carries a blunt force whilst Petrozza himself delivers his iconic vocal deliveries that hold their own. An explosive start indeed.
From there, things only continue at a frantic force. Satan Is Real packs a powerful punch as KREATOR utilise hard-hitting riffs throughout the verses until subsiding into slick lead play that immediately captures your attention. At only the third track it’s immediately clear that KREATOR have opted for a shock and awe approach as Satan Is Real boasts a truly impressive solo that will leave mouths gaping wide open. It’s thunderous and performed exquisitely and already, Gods of Violence has made a strong impression. Totalitarian Terror continues this shock and awe approach and is one of the stand-out tracks on the record. Opening to a blistering barrage of crashes from Ventor‘s drums and riffs that replicate machine gun fire, the pace here is terrifyingly fast. This even applies to Mille Petrozza‘s vocals which are delivered with utter venom, where it feels like he is literally spitting out vocal lines to match the sheer speed of the rhythm. But it’s the subtle drop of pace around the mid-point track that works a real treat, as the band unleash some razor sharp hooks before transcending into another blistering solo.
Indeed there is a subtle and incredibly effective use of melody contained within KREATOR‘s sound which is at work on Gods of Violence. It’s difficult to notice at times due to the sheer power contained throughout the album but when it is picked up on, it is so utterly satisfying. With the title track itself boasting intricate dual guitar play from Petrozza and Yli-Sirniö and contrasting thick bass tones from Christian Giesler, the result is utterly monstrous and showcases a band at the top of their game.
It’s not unheard of within thrash metal that the second half of a record doesn’t contain the same hooks to maintain your attention. But, Gods of Violence‘s second half is as equally, if not more, enjoyable than the first. Hail To The Hordes boasts one of the record’s most memorable choruses as Mille Petrozza delivers vocal lines with absolute ease whereas the medieval-esque introductory guitar leads on Lion With Eagle Wings is completely unexpected but helps to build anticipation before subsiding into another barrage of ferocious thrashing speed. At it’s core, Gods of Violence is just downright fun to listen to and this sense of enjoyment is Gods of Violence‘s greatest strength and it’s hard not to get swept up into the storm. From Army Of Storms‘ mind-boggling core riffing to the sheer force contained on Fallen Brother, Gods of Violence captures the adrenaline and sheer enjoyment experienced with thrash metal in a bottle, only to unleash it consistently across the album.
Since the turn of the millennium KREATOR have only gone from strength to strength with each record improving on what came before and Gods of Violence absolutely continues this trend. From start to finish this is a record that is jam-packed full of quality. The solos are intricate and blisteringly fast, the riffs contain enough hooks to keep your attention and the rhythm ebbs and flows like a thunderous storm. In truth, there is rarely a dull moment to be experienced throughout Gods of Violence, granted this is not a record that is going to shatter the boundaries of genre and it is not completely innovative. However, what KREATOR have done with Gods of Violence is refined their sound to create a end product that perfectly captures the essence, the adrenaline and the sheer enjoyment of thrash metal.
Gods of Violence is set for release on January 27th via Nuclear Blast Records.
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