Review: Kreator “Extreme Aggression” [Noise Records]

Review: Kreator “Extreme Aggression” [Noise Records]

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Score 55%
Actions speak louder than words
55 %
User Rating : 5 (1 votes)

Generally, bands go through their classic phase as they often release a series of goodies before changing style or watering down by becoming shadows of their former selves. Kreator are a strange band in this regard. Caught between the atmospheric brilliance of Terrible Certainty and the calculated affair of Coma of SoulsExtreme Aggression is without a doubt still thrash at heart and yet, I have a hard time calling it an exciting album.

The albums prior to this were aptly titled and for good reasons. Endless Pain captured the harsh state of thrashing in a world before Reign in Blood would expand the boundaries of extreme thrash to a whole new level. Pleasure to Kill was as aptly titled as it gets; as it would expose the listener to an endless amount of violent riffs and venomous howls. Terrible Certainty, albeit less punishing, still lived up to its title. Extreme Aggression… certainly doesn’t. Kreator refuse get their hands dirty here; resulting into a record that for the most part lacks violence, tensions and action of any sort. In fact, you could certainly argue that the band dumbed their sound down here; as it often sounds like they’re thrashing through the motions.

How Extreme Aggression ends up like it does remains unclear, but I have a theory: the Terrible Certainty tour must have been quite a success (why wouldn’t it with such killer material to perform?) and such, these guys banged their heads off to a point that they lost far too many brain cells. For every highlight that makes Extreme Aggression somewhat enjoyable, there’s a filler floating around that makes me want to avoid the record. ‘Some Pain Will Last’ doesn’t sound like the result of a band that enjoys playing thrash anymore and shows what’s what this album sounds like once it’s at its lowest point. Really, what’s the appeal of this junk, anyway? It can’t be that slow snooze of an intro. It can’t that painfully generic main riff one might expect from an inexperienced band and it certainly can’t be from that one-ear-one-ear-out speedy segment, either. ‘Bringer of Torture’ is another bore with a great title, but it’s as threatening as an angry clown with a plastic knife. At least it’s a brief offering of boredom; something that can’t be said about ‘Fatal Energy’. Sure, this one partially works once it speeds up and I enjoy those Maiden-esque harmonies, too, but these dragging mid-tempo riffs sound as hot as a wet-clothed doofus.

As I had already mentioned, some tracks manage to standout and in fact, Extreme Aggression starts off pretty well. Like a swarm of vicious wasps, the title track quickly goes for the attack and it just doesn’t let go from here. Mille remains as convincing as ever with his piercing snarls; causing that simplistic chorus to work wonderfully. ‘Love Us or Hate Us’ has more of an attitude than most tracks and especially that thundering riff at 1:30 gets me going; bringing to mind the same maniac guitar madness of Terrible Certainty. The latter also applies to ‘Stream of Consciousness’ (even if that main riff sounds surprisingly tame) and I have a weakness for ‘Don’t Trust’. Sure, it owes its appeal to some extremely memorable and catchy riffs that almost make this earworm of a track too easy to enjoy… but sometimes that’s just what we need, I reckon.

With only a few tracks of quality, Extreme Aggression would have worked as an EP. Unfortunately, this isn’t one and once it’s bad, it becomes painful to hear. Let’s just finish off by saying that Kreator should have named Extreme Aggression after the second track on the record instead.

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