The year so far is developing as a landmark for thrash, with new releases announced (or already released) by Destruction, Tankard, Megadeth, Municipal Waste, Toxik, Razor and who knows what else. The celebratory mood is even more relevant when Kreator are joining the company with their 15th full length, coming out on June 10th via Nuclear Blast. First thing that should be mentioned is a change in the line up for the first time since 2001, with Frédéric Leclercq stepping in on bass replacing Christian Giesler. One could only guess if the injection of fresh blood has influenced the new album in any way, but it cannot be denied that after a short instrumental intro, the opening title track assaults the senses with such ferociousness, as if Kreator still have something to prove.
Killer Of Jesus (what a title!) is simply an amazing display of brutal, fast thrash, with a chorus to die for and the trademark agro-riffing and pissed of vocal delivery by Mille. Crush The Tyrants is a bit standard, but still solid mid-tempo track, obviously composed to be sung by the crowds live, while Strongest Of The Strong mixes in some beautiful melodic guitars and probably the best harmony guitar solos so far. Become Immortal is the first real surprise, being not only a lyrical nod towards the band’s history, but musically representing a total NWOBHM worship, even with the oh-oh-oooh chants Maiden and Accept have patented long ago. Great stuff. Conquer And Destroy seems like the next speed-thrash hammer by the Kreator book until the 3-minute mark is reached with a tastleful inclusion of female backing vocals, matching the song mood perfectly.
Another album highlight follows with Midnight Sun, which is everything Endorama failed to be, but done right this time, with fantastic vocal trade-offs between Mille and Sofia Portanet. This could easily be the album’s peak, were it not the last three brutal songs, cleverly placed at the end of an already fantastic album. Demonic Future is more aggro-thrash, immediately recognizable as classic Kreator, and Pride Comes Before The Fall bears another masterful chorus, layed upon some crushing guitars, carrying the song in a more atmospheric and melodic direction halfway through, before once again speeding up the tempo and coming full circle back to the great chorus. Dying Planet is once again an attention-grabber, managing to be the most brutal song, even if the tempo is kept at mid pace. There’s an incorporation of tremolo riffs in the verses, adding further to the apocalyptic and evil sound of the song. A more than suitable closer to an album, which, to me, is Kreator’s best since Violent Revolution. Hate Über Alles is really varied, while staying true to the Kreator values, and features probably the best guitar work I’ve heard from these guys. The production by Arthur Rizk is stellar, but still raw and not over-polished and the artwork by Eliran Kantor speaks for itself. Well done, masters! I have a new entry at my personal number 1 spot in 2022.