Release Date: January 27, 2017
Label: Nuclear Blast
Producer: Jens Bogren
Personnel: Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitar), Sami Yli-Sirnio (guitar), Christian Giesler (bass), Jurge “Ventor” Reil (drums)
Influenced by the thrash metal scene in the San Francisco Bay area of the early ‘80s, Kreator (originally Tyrant), released their first studio album Endless Pain in 1985. Hailing from Essen, Germany, Kreator achieved almost immediate success with the rise of popularity in thrash metal, but that wouldn’t last for long. For many thrash bands, the ‘90s spelled doom with the rise of grunge and more mainstream, radio-friendly metal. Even the likes of Metallica and Anthrax couldn’t avoid the ‘90s as their music suffered despite huge commercial success.
For many Kreator fans, it wasn’t until the release of Violent Revolution in 2001 that saw the band return to its roots, and get back to thrashing. Along with their return to thrash, they implemented more melodies and adapted a Gothic, doom sound.
Frank Wilson of All About the Rock made the statement about Gods of Violence: “With this record, Kreator have created a slab of truly eviscerating aural perfection. Thrash may have been born in San Francisco’s Bay Area, but it was perfected in Essen.” I wouldn’t go as far as to say this album perfected thrash metal, but it’s certainly one of the better ones I’ve heard and was worth my time reviewing it.
Having not heard much of Kreator, I listened to some of their earlier work to gain perspective on their beginnings and listened to Gods of Violence nearly a dozen times over the course of a few weeks. For any new music I hear, it just takes time for me to fully appreciate or hate the particular album I’m analyzing.
The album opens with the instrumental “Apocalypticon”, and then throws you into “World War Now”, a political anthem that would make Dave Mustaine proud.
Next is “Satan is Real”. This song has all the elements the album has to offer both good and bad. The instrumentation is tight from start to finish with superb guitar work. Portions of the bridges even hint at a whisper of power metal, hardly what I expected from a thrash album. The vocals were sufficient but not great, and that carries through the album’s entirety. Kind of a mixture of growl and melody, but not too much growl so that it becomes distracting. The chorus is simple so not much thought into it, much like the theme of the album, but it’s catchy. Honestly, if you want to get a cliffs notes version of the album, listen to this song (hint: it’s good).
“Totalitarian Terror” is a fun listen, and even comes with a positive message. The song speaks out strongly against radical, political factions and exhorts the old to teach the young so they won’t repeat the same mistakes they made. Even if lyrics don’t interest you, give this song a chance as it has a feverish guitar solo that is worth the wait, and the double bass drums are there to help you along the song’s entirety.
For any that love acoustic guitar melded in with metal, “Gods of Violence” is where you want to head. A beautiful intro to say the least, that eases you in until Petrozza screams “we shall kill!”. Once again tapping into their political side, “Gods of Violence” seems to reference the New World Order, where a few of the world’s most wealthy and powerful are pulling the strings of mankind to see their plan fulfilled.
Dehumanizing killing spree, supported by technology
Women, children everyone will die
Praying there must come a day, the spark of peace enflames again
Heaven through the world into their lives
Protectors of the masterplan, waken darker sides of men
Instigate the war for all to see
Collateral damage in their name posse of luciferian
Commanders of satanic liberty
“Army of Storms” provides my most favorite intro with its heavy sound, and “Hail to the Hordes” shows the band’s more melodic side that I mentioned earlier. The guitars are beautiful throughout.
Overall, the album seems to continue in its anti-Government, anti-establishment vein throughout with the likes of “Fallen Brother” and “Side by Side.” With “Death Becomes My Light”, the album takes more of a religious tone if you will by discussing the afterlife. The man in the story isn’t sure if the angels or devils will take him, but realizes it was his destiny that he would become light as all “religions will be joined a shamanic odyssey”. Basically, everything he was taught on earth was for nothing, and we all go to heaven. Unfortunately for the main character in our story, his time had not come and he returns to the world of “famine, jealousy, and greed.”
This album shows a lot of growth for the band over the years from an ‘80s thrash band to a modern day heavy metal band, implementing Gothic and industrial elements. Since I hadn’t heard much Kreator before, my expectations were unknown, but this album proved its worth, and will probably be in the top ten of metal albums this year.
I’m going to give Gods of Violence an 85%.