This year is a true blessing for all thrash metal lovers, the mighty legends Kreator have returned after five years of yearning, presenting their latest full-length album Hate über alles that was released on 10th June via Nuclear Blast Records. After returning back to their thrash metal roots in the beginning of a new century, they continue to explore this limited genre’s patience, never forgetting to incorporate something from their experimental times. Maybe, the most part of metalheads believe in their absolute devotion to thrash metal, but even to this day the music of Kreator keeps balancing between their 1980s and 1990s periods. And that’s how they are able to stay true to their violent past and well-known trademark while exploring more experimental roads to nurture their originality and dynamics during these rapidly evolving times.
You can’t judge such bands as Kreator just through one stylistic perception – when they were young, and along with them thrash metal was making their first steps, Kreator was one of the strongest and striking bands. With the general decline of interest in thrash metal, their music started to soften, becoming more melodic, although the compositions remained simple and straightforward. But every new album from the 1990s acquired gradually something new – even more melodies, the significance of keyboards, rudiments of death metal, electronic elements, progressive side etc. So, it was drastic and smooth transformation at the same time, when thrash metal side was replaced cautiously, but still, too irrevocably. In any case, then it seemed so. But when the great event had happened, and Kreator have returned to their origins, it was a real celebration for all old school thrash metal fans. And finally, everyone can be happy, stubborn thrashers can enjoy aggressive and speedy spirit of real Teutonic thrash, and those who feel imprisoned in one stylistic world, can truly engulf themselves in this more serious and mature part, full of melodies, atmospheric vibes and technical adornments. It seems like Hate über alles has managed to unite those conflicting sides, eventually finding this harmony, when their music sounds not fragmentary, but integral.
The album begins with relaxing, tranquil and a little bit southern introduction “Sergio Corbucci is dead”, made it ideally suited to the cinematic soundtracks (and no wonder, Sergio was an iconic Italian film director). The speediest thrash compositions are also the catchiest ones, and no surprise about that, this German foursome always was pretty incendiary and vibrant, constantly firing up the most frigid audiences towards insane social gatherings. Their live energy is incredible, the level of brisk vivacity is through the roof, so, we are incredibly lucky, that Kreator is very active touring band. Self-titled “Hate über alles”, “Killer of Jesus”, “Conquer and Destroy” and “Demonic Future” are all very concert-friendly and comply with the standards set by thrash metal’s code of conduct. Almost every song has some melodic lines, thanks to classical and harmonic guitar solo parts of their guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö. The choruses too often abandon the violent and heavy domain of thrash metal, showcasing their mildest part.
Sometimes there’s a feeling that this music is closer to heavy metal not just structurally, but also mentally, tracks like “Crush the Tyrants” or “Become Immortal” fit the description of HM quite precisely. The last “Dying Planet” not only cries out about the main global problem of the 21st century, but also opens up atmospheric channels with strong and severe mood, dissonant and ragged pulsations and pensive flirtations. And of course, Kreator would not be Kreator without extraordinary songwriting skills of their leader Miland Petrozza, and undoubtedly, his voice, the undisputed hallmark of this legendary 40-year-old band. He screams, he chants, he soothingly intones, empowering all the songs with his unique ardor and sense of completion.
Kreator has always preached certain political statements, doing it in an aggressive, but rather indirect form, noticing the global problems without mocking accusatory tone. This band emanates the aura of manifestations and protests, infecting with action and will to change something about this sick world. Cover art, by and large, represents the cruel side of the humanity – death, torture, political crimes and extremism. But notwithstanding the fact that these German performers sermonize such dark and deadly topics, it doesn’t bring out the worst in us. Just makes us angry and more active, and revives a strong desire to preserve the real beauty of our world, cutting off all the bloody political regimes.
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