SummaryNo more fiction
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After the destructive Pleasure to Kill, Kreator decided to take a step back in terms of intensity and while they wouldn’t be the only band that had this in mind (think of how Slayer’s Reign in Blood followed up with South of Heaven, for example), it’s a welcoming change. In fact, if it weren’t for Sepultura‘s Schizophrenia, this would have marked the best example of a band transitioning into the ”pure” thrash metal territory with superior results.
Whereas Pleasure to Kill recalls an overly gory horror movie, Terrible Certainty brings to mind a drama of realistic events that doesn’t resemble fiction anymore. Now operating like a hit man with extreme eye for details, the band decided to approach thrash metal in a much more calculated manner, which means that we’re no longer talking about overpowering vocals and piercing tremolo riffs that could rip your body apart. Mille and Tritze prove that they’re capable of much more and unlike Coma of Souls, Terrible Certainty doesn’t waste much time with safe-sounding riffs either. Sharp, yet extremely busy riffs fill these compositions to a point that they end up sounding extremely memorable and satisfying for any thrash metal fanatic.
“Blind Faith” may not be as crushing as anything you had heard on Kreator’s earlier albums, as it introduces a collection of puzzling and punishing riffs and who could forget Mille’s rapid-fire spitting during one of the album’s most intense choruses? That breakdown allows one to catch their breath a bit, but it doesn’t take long before the track makes a brief return to some hyper-speed pacing, making it one hell of an opener that’s driven by several exciting tempo changes. “Behind the Mirror” opens up with a surprisingly lamented acoustic introduction, but anyone familiar with Kreator should know that this won’t last long. Indeed, riffs quickly start to bludgeon through the verses and chorus here, but do so with absolute purpose. It’s hard to deny band’s determination and I’m almost convinced that they were compensating for the lack of brutality of Pleasure to Kill and the more restrained approach that they would take with Extreme Aggression. Even most of the record’s mid-paced moments sound rather refined when compared to those of Pleasure to Kill and what the band lacks in brutality, they make up with clever riffs that would have been out of place on their earlier material. Take “No Escape” for example, which features that fantastic thrash break before that atmospheric riff makes it between the conventional thrashing rhythms and Mille’s tormented screams, making it quite a dramatic thrasher of a tune.
The leads also function as more than just noisy instruments like they did previously, adding a sense of eeriness to the album’s atmosphere. That said, the sense of melody feels different than that of Coma of Souls, but it makes a welcoming change nonetheless. “Storming with Menace” does exactly what it promises with that superb main riff storming through the verses and by the time those dramatic leads foreshadow those maniacal shredding and intense tremolo sections, it’s clear that we’re dealing with another highlight. “One of Us” opens up with some frightening lead work before turning into a clinical thrasher that hardly shows any signs of restraint and thanks to its rousing riff that keeps resurrecting with fury, I can’t help but be reminded of Metallica’s “Blackened” to a certain degree – that’s certainly not a bad thing in this case.
If anything, I’m terribly certain that “As the World Burns” could have easily been left out of the album, only because it ends up as an easy-going thrasher with some restrained riffs that lack the “it” factor. Vektor’s angry yells remain effective and that breakdown after the two minute mark reveals promise, yet the track never dares to speeds up and overall the result isn’t much of an exciting song.
Of course, one weaker song isn’t much of a deal, especially when you consider that the rest sounds absolutely superb. For a while I wasn’t sure which Kreator album I considered to be my favorite, but nowadays it would be Terrible Certainty and although it doesn’t match its predecessor in terms of brute force, it’s nonetheless the best less-intense follow-up that you could hope for.
Release date: September 22nd, 1987
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