Hate reigns supreme.
The USA may have been the birthplace of thrash metal, but when it comes to its most extreme adherents, said nation has some utterly forbidding competition on the German front. Whereas the original Big 4 presents something of a balanced equation of extreme, progressive, comedic and mainline expressions of the style, their Teutonic equivalent presents a lopsided scale of unapologetic carnage that could be likened to 3 Slayers and a Metallica/Anthrax hybrid in the group’s lone outlier Tankard. Though the jury has been out for nearly 40 years as to whether Sodom or Kreator presents the most intense expression of pure sonic rage, there is a pretty strong case to be made that the latter has been the more willing of the two to incorporate some modern influences to further augment their craft. Indeed, with Kreator’s latest studio effort aptly dubbed “Hate Uber Alles,” this quartet of part-time horror show purveyors, part-time political commentators have molded arguably their most balanced package of vintage mayhem and modern ferocity yet.
For those who have rode the train of human horror and social commentary that has been this outfit’s stock and trade for the past couple decades, not much has changed in the personnel front since the early 2000s. The notable exception being the inclusion of former Dragonforce bassist Frederic Leclercq to the fold in the time since Kreator’s last manifesto of rage “Gods Of Violence.” His contributions when combined with the exemplary post-production work this time around definitely result in a darker and heavier presentation, though most of the standout performances have been put forth by those who have served under the flag of hate for a longer tour. The kit work of long time drummer Jurgen “Ventor” Reil proves about as thunderous as it does versatile, as much of the material found on here explores a more nuanced, mid-paced crevice in the thrash paradigm to go along with the unrelenting flurry of chaotic fills and machine gun double kick work. Likewise, the twin guitar assault of Mille Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirnio recalls both the dissonant harmonies and blurring speed of classic Slayer, but also taps into some of the more consonant themes occasionally heard out of more progressive adherents to the old Bay Area sound and even parts of the 90s Gothenburg melodeath style.
But when all is said and done, the chief selling point of this album is the brilliant showcase of versatile songwriting that matches the extreme aggression with a more epic and elaborate take on the thrash game. The opening prelude “Sergio Corbucci Is Dead” almost sounds akin to the sort of stereotypical Spaghetti Western soundtrack material associated with the film maker in question and superimposed on what sounds like a military funeral march. In like fashion, much of the pounding metallic anthems that follow reflect this sort of clashing of different worlds, with heavy-ended crushers like “Conquer And Destroy” and “Crush The Tyrants” incorporating a blend of power and old school heavy metal elements to augment the obligatory brutality. Likewise, even when things go off into full speed as on “Killer Of Jesus” there is still a lingering sense of consonant, old school metal charm at play in the riffing approach. Even when things go into full on Slayer mode and the descending harmonies reminiscent of “Raining Blood” hit the speakers on the titan of a title anthem “Hate Uber Alles” and “Demonic Future”, there is an enduring sense of modern precision and technical flair that lends almost as much to a sort of Arch Enemy meets modern Exodus take on things.
In this time where the younger generation seems hell bent on dismissing the wisdom of the elder guard, regardless of what subject the conversation may fall, there is something to be said for a band that is still killing it in a manner that most bands in their 20s can’t match while well into their 50s. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of this album’s charm is how Mille Petrozza’s vocal work has gone from a monolithic extreme growl during their mid-80s beginnings to a highly versatile blend of cleaner and even rawer vocalizations that could embody multiple subsets of metal within a single song. The haunting gang chorus that close out the mid-paced melodic beast “Become Immortal” and the atmospheric low chants that kick off the blistering berserker anthem “Pride Comes Before The Fall” seemingly come out of nowhere in the context of Kreator’s ongoing stylistic evolution, yet fit in seamlessly with the plethora of fresh new takes that this entire album has to offer. It might not outclass the zenith points that exists in this band’s extensive history, be it undisputed triumphs like “Pleasure To Kill,” “Coma Of Souls” and their riveting millennial return to form “Violent Revolution,” but it gets as close as they’ve ever gotten in the past two decades.
Released By: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: June 10th, 2022
Genre: Thrash Metal
“Hate Über Alles” Track-Listing:
1. Sergio Corbucci Is Dead
2. Hate Über Alles
3. Killer Of Jesus
4. Crush The Tyrants
5. Strongest Of The Strong
6. Become Immortal
7. Conquer And Destroy
8. Midnight Sun
9. Demonic Future
10. Pride Comes Before The Fall
11. Dying Planet
- Mille Petrozza / Guitars, Vocals
- Sami Yli-Sirnio / Vocals
- Jurgen “Ventor” Reil / Drums
- Frederic Leclercq / Bass
“Hate Über Alles” can be ordered in various formats here.
The Teutonic thrash scene gets another massive adrenaline boost as Essen natives and 80s thrash mainstays Kreator unleash a torrent of auditory violence with a melodic edge on their latest and 15th studio LP