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Friday, May 25, 2012

Kreator - Phantom Antichrist review

Year : 2012
Genre : Thrash Metal with an Epic Power Metal tint
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Origin : Germany
Rating : 8.8 / 10

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I would never-ever be miserable enough to withhold myself from giving a perfect score of 10 out of 10 to the latest-to-date album of one of the greatest Teutonic thrash metal bands of known history, had said band - Kreator - been persistent enough throughout to bring the top tier form it declares in titular track "Phantom Antichrist". As noted, the disc starts out in nuclear fashion, revealing top of the food chain thrash eloquence, and it never "sinks" below a steady 8.0, figuratively and bumptiously speaking. The "problem" is something else, if it is a problem at all, that is.

I feel that this Kreator delivery is more peaceful-, and less entangled in the hilariously sick sonic aggression the band is deservedly renowned for. This shift in the direction might seem "just logical" (?) when following such a stupendously and sublimely angry release as 2009's "Hordes of Chaos" is. Still, I won't hide the fact from you that I personally love "my Kreator" angry and furious, and I accept that the Teutonic thrashers reveal more pronounced affections towards a little bit tamer type of metal in 2012. A tamer type of metal that borders on power metal on numerous occasions. Read on to find out more about this.

After a tame intro and a stupendous thrash sequence composed of the titular track and the next one, "Death to the World", the album exhibits a notable shift towards a power metal fascination with track number 4. From this point on, a greater emphasis is placed on the clearly identifiable melodic chorus. Indeed, the previous songs had choruses, too, but those are rabid-ass choruses, the kind that smuggles a drop of tear into the eyes of a thrash metal fan worth calling one.

Yet, track number 4, "From Flood Into Fire" sports a chorus and a narrative that strikes a pretty power metalesque tone, a precedent which I somehow find a little bit odd and almost alienating from this band, as, to me, Kreator always was, is and hopefully WILL be about the unrelenting fury that seeks and accepts NO refuge from its own nature to which it submits instead on a constant agenda. Kreator of course has all the right in the W.W.World and beyond to resonate whatever temper of metal music they want, which still does not change the fact that currently I don't want to see Kreator being at peace. NO. I want to see Kreator THRASH, or I want to see them preparing for it. I don't want power metal vibes from them at all, not even the promise of those. This is enough bitchwhining for a paragraph, right?

While the track is an eloquent and superb build when inspected for its structure-, for its anatomy, its mild-but-present power metal dispositions are even more strongly cultivated in the very next track, "Civilization Collapse". The verse is top tier-, rabid Kreator thrash fucking metal warfare, but the chorus is pretty WTF, in my opinion. The hook craft of this latter track has kind of a - GULP! - metalcore vibe. The song ends in an explosion. Not surprisingly. The effin studio rebelled against this chorus, Gentlemen.

Next track, "United Hate" : similar recipe. Awesome thrash verse, pretty "uhuh"-grade power metal chorus, strange "warcry" at the very end. On the 2009 Kreator album, there is this awesome track, "Warcurse", and I'm sad to say that currently the chorus of "United Hate" sounds to me like the parody of "Warcurse", which I consider one the best thrash songs I have ever heard so far. For your information, I found the lyrics in these power metalish/metalcore-esque tracks weaker than the super-steep Kreator standards, too. A random quote : "I don't know if I can trust you, all I know is that I cannot trust myself." Oh dude. Immune.

I feel I already have made my point and attempted to get it across about the quasi-power metal subtleties and compliments the contribution exhibits in its fabric, especially in the choruses. With that said, I'd like to make it clear that I find these power metal elements superbly realized, I just think that Kreator can do much - "better" is not the word here - MORE than this. (And they do, in track two and three of the album, and throughout all the verses.)

The producer of the album, Jens Bogren - has worked with Devin Townsend and Vildhjarta, among others - did a decent job at capturing a beefed up old school thrash sound the genre works the best with to this day. The premiere strategy of the disc is classic Kreator, which is to offer apt occasions to indulge your ears gratefully amidst layers and layers of smartly sculpted riffs and motives that always give you something to assuage your curiosity through the efficient respective registers of rabid thrashing and elegant neoclassical affectations. It is "just that" there are a healthy amount of tracks on this disc that flatter traditional-, "safe-passage" power metal charms. Other than that, Kreator still reigns at the top of the foodchain, and they better!

Rating : 8.8 / 10

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