Review: Kreator – Gods Of Violence

“Holy Cliche Batman! Kreator veröffentlichen ein neues album!” (German readers please let me know if tense is incorrect, been a couple of years since I studied your language…)

Ok, I’ll stop joking around now. With it being almost 5 years since Kreator’s last album, Phantom Antichrist, I’d been wondering what the band had been up to aside from touring pretty much everywhere on the planet. After going quiet for a few months, the band have unleashed their 14th album… Gods of Violence.

Within the first few seconds of hearing opener “Apocalypticon” I immediately got goosebumps. The soaring guitar melody and symphonic elements merge together to generate a driving song which is all but shattered when the first notes of “World War Now” are played. Whilst it’s very similar in execution to “Phantom Antichrist”, there is so much more melody. Then again, when your lead guitarist is from Finland, you kinda expect there to be a lot of melody in there.

Now, “Satan Is Real”. Our managing editor and myself had a bit of chuckle when we first saw the video for this track. We concluded that the band must have been binge watching Behemoth videos for months given the execution. That’s not to say that this track is anything short of being the perfect example of merging orchestral elements and thrash metal. Take notes Metallica, this is how you do it. “Totalitarian Terror” kicks the pace back up to breakneck speed and has an almost similar feel to “Death to the World”. It’s almost as if they’ve taken the best bits from that track and kicked the pace up to the maximum. With what can be described as an almost ‘soaring chorus’, this is easily one of the best tracks on the album.

Ah, now the title track. I’ll admit, I think the new intro doesn’t really fit. There’s too much of a disconnect between the calming acoustical instruments and the shouts of “We shall kill!”. That being said, the rest of the track is excellent so it kind of makes up for the slightly strange intro. “Army Of Storms” then plays and I almost thought I was listening to a more modern recording of “Coma of Souls”. That all changes at the 0:28 mark and then changes again at 0:46 mark. Featuring almost as much melody as “World War Now”, this track is again one of the best on the album.

“Hail To The Hordes” then brings in an almost mid-paced feel in a manner not too dissimilar from “From Flood Into Fire” from Phantom Antichrist. There’s just enough of a difference to make it not sound like a carbon copy of the song but it’s a little too similar. This pattern of similarity is shattered with “Lion With Eagles Wings” however. With a clean guitar sounding intro before the Zerstörung (destruction for those not versed in German) begins, the track is somewhat of a breath of fresh air after the similarity of the previous two.

Opening with a march style snare intro, “Fallen Brother” brings the mid-pace that was experienced on “Hail To The Hordes” back. However, the similarity is not there and it’s more of a straightforward slower thrash track which keeps the fresh air that the previous track created. “Side by Side” ups the pace back to what was experienced earlier but with more of a focus on the melody rather than just outright speed. The speed then fades away and an excellent acoustic guitar section then comes in before the rest of the instrumentation comes in to bring the track to a close.

Finishing the album is the track “Death Becomes My Light”. The calm and clean guitars are prevalent for just over the first minute before the rest of the band comes in to bring the ‘totalitarian terror’ back. It still feels much more reflective than the previous tracks, almost as if the band took the ideas explored in “Iron Destiny” and merged them “Until Our Paths Cross Again”. The result is easily one of the best tracks on the album and it rounds out the album in expert style.

It may seem as though I’ve referred to Phantom Antichrist a lot in this review, that’s mainly because there’s almost a little too much similarity between this and the previous album. I’m torn between deciding whether that’s a bad thing or not. Have they played it safe? Yes. Does that mean it’s too similar to the last album? No. It’s a stormer of an album with some truly exceptional songs on there and the guys should be proud of ‘kreating’ what is arguably one of the best thrash albums I’ve heard in a while.

Rating: 8.5/10

Standout tracks: World War Now, Totalitarian Terror, Army Of Storms, Lion With Eagles Wings, Death Becomes My Light.

Gods of Violence is released on 27th January via Nuclear Blast Records.

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