Kreator has it’s roots going back to 1982 so the fact that this band is still active and prolific is a testament to the ability of this band to remain relevant while adapting to an always changing metal scene. They are also quite polarizing since their turn of the century “return” to their extreme metal roots from the experimenting they were doing with their nineties output. Ever since Violent Revolution in 2001 they have combined the best parts of their experimentation and melded it with their thrash roots and it has caused some to not be as accepting as I think they should be. Kreator is still a force to be reckoned with and, despite the accusations of trying to go “Gothenburg” with their sound (an accusation I find absurd), they have managed to keep churning out top notch heavy metal…and isn’t that what matters?
So 2017 brings us Kreator’s fourteenth full length album, Gods of Violence. This album has it all and shows that these Teutonic thrashers can still kreate (sorry, just had to) brilliant metal. No, not every moment is thrash. No this is not Gothenburg worship. No this is not the reincarnation of Coma of Souls or Extreme Aggression as it seems so many are always looking for. Yes there is a lot of melody on this album. In fact, it’s the melodies on this album that make it catchy and unique. And if you listen objectively and closely enough, you’ll hear some really cool nods to the aforementioned classic Kreator albums.
Songs like the opener, “World War Now” and the monster thrasher “Totalitarian Terror” shows this band can still write killer thrash riffs. The latter comes in with a catchy and melodic chorus that gives this song an extra dimension. Both songs have moments that can be compared to their “classic” thrash era with the brilliant riffing going on here. Having that melody is what changes the game for me. These songs are thrash monsters that are also epic metal anthems. How is that wrong? Then you have the solos on this album, which are brilliant and show that Mille and Sami are still on top of their game.
The title track is actually a five minute epic beginning with some cool acoustic guitars and some eastern sounds before crushing with the opening and Mille shouting “We shall kill!” This song is metal as fuck with some serious thrash riffing and a melodic chorus that is super catchy and gives this song that anthemic vibe.”Army of Storms” is another just brilliant song that has some really cool riffing that reminds me of “Come of Souls” a bit before morphing into a totally new killer riff. Once again, the addition of the melodic bridge and the anthemic chorus adds to the brilliance of this song.
The lyrical approach to this album is classic Kreator. Down with the corrupt, fascist, oligarchy that rules us all. Mille’s lyrics has always been geared towards opening our eyes to the injustices of the world and this album is no different. “Side by Side” shows Mille creating a personal dialog between himself and anyone that can personally relate to this song. Mille uses his clean vocals on this song as well as on the closer, the seven and a half minute “Death Has Become My Light.” This song could be Kreator going power metal. The galloping tempo and the melody going into a truly power metal chorus shows this band going into some uncharted territory.
This is modern Kreator and I think it’s fucking brilliant! I’ve been a fan of this band since I first heard Extreme Aggression back in the day. I don’t expect a band of this magnitude to stay stagnant and not grow. This album shows that they can still release quality metal after all these years…a feat that some bands from the 80s just can not pull off. Gods of Violence is a great album and there’s no sign of them slowing down. Nope, this isn’t the second coming of (insert classic Kreator album here). It’s a new chapter.