Phantom Antichrist (Nuclear Blast)
Proving that they get better with age, long-running German thrashers KREATOR are back with a kick ass new album. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to most observers since the band has been one of the most consistent bands of any group to come out of the early 80s that are still kicking around. For most of their thirty years in the business, they have been a leading light of the global thrash metal movement and we don’t that too lightly here at Metal Army. These guys are not going through the motions. They are at a creative peak and actually still write meaningful, killer, heavy music.
Kicking off album number thirteen with a calm intro, the track gives way to a regal, rocking announcement fit for an army. “Mars Mantra + Phantom Antichrist” is in typical form for KREATOR: a smoking lead off track that you envision them opening up a concert with. You can just picture them just laying the crowd to waste with this song. Mille Petrozza is ageless as a riff master and a vocalist. Riffs that sound classic and fresh at the same time will definitely resonate with the listener. Lyrically, Mille is also in typically great form. When 75% of the lyricists in metal show little artistry, context or poetry in their words, Petrozza doesn’t need to lean on obvious choices to express himself. Whether its rebellion, politics or controversial issues, KREATOR always has concise, anthemic words to sing/scream along with that are crystal clear. The combination of all of these things makes for a masterful table setter for the rest of the album.
“Death To the World” may have a meat and potatoes title, but the song behind it is massively clever. Great, aggressive riffs and melodies topped off by cool beats make this another standout early track. There is a cool breakdown and a fiery solo followed by a great harmony-lead part by Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö. “From Flood Into Fire” switches things up with a cool half-time power groove beat to nod your head to. The album is full of sick grooves, which only serves to make the thrash parts that much better. Other than a brief, chilled out interlude, the song crushes big time. They is a sweet guitar solo in it too, the kind you’ve come to expect from this band. “Civilization Collapse” is so harsh across the board; it might be the album’s best song. Great songwriting and inspiring choices musically. “United In Hate” starts of with a deceptive classical guitar piece before unleashing holy blazing hell. Shredding solos, right-hand down-picked riffs and machine gun double-pedal work by Ventor Reil make it work. Ventor keeps getting better album after album. Another strong track is “The Few, The Proud and The Broken”. Superb melodic guitar lines, a marching drum pattern and more great sing-along chorus parts. There is even a slightly prog-rock break down at one point that is a neat left turn for your ear. Mille continues to astound! Key and tempos changes, shifting solos and top of the line playing make this a can’t miss. It’s almost like the kind of song you wish some of the older thrash metal bands from the 80′s were still writing. “Your Heaven My Hell” introduces some moody dynamics and vocals with smooth walking bass lines by Christian Geisler. This is all before the big chorus explodes and the song kicks into another gear entirely. “Victory Will Come” is another fast jam, tailor made for the circle pit, while the album closer “Until Our Paths Cross Again” is another mini-epic full of a range of emotions. This album is among the best work of the band, not just in this era, but in their entire history.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes.