Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (2012) Album Review

Many of you might wonder why I never had a review around here about a thrash metal band. The answer is simple, I was not too fond on them a while back, but everything changed with this album, and with this band as a whole. I used to listen to thrash metal even in the past, but somehow it did not impress me, I though that it was a little bit random, all about speed and stuff, in my mind, it was shallow, without substance. Though things changed after I glimpsed at the new Kreator single, released in spring before the official release of this album. I have to say that unlike the American thrash metal scene (with the exception of Slayer and Overkill) the German thrash metal scene knows how to be extreme, how to be brutal and how to make thrash metal.

The expectations that were not met with the new Metallica opuses, the last one which definitely sucks big ass (wondering why the fuck are they still around, putting shameless albums on sale with a lack of quality), Kreator proves that thrash metal is still alive and still kicking ass, same way like it did 20 or 30 years ago. Screw “The Big 4”, the german teutonic trio (Sodom, Kreator, Destruction) is far better but less popular. They deliver opuses with better quality but because of the fact that they are more brutal and more unconventional, they did not manage to get ahold of a proper place in the thrash metal scene. The years of glory of the thrash metal scene were entirely occupied by Metallica and the other American thrash metal bands, leaving the German thrash metal scene in a shadow for almost a decade. Bands like Kreator rose to fame after the decay of Metallica, especially after the 90s.

I was pretty surprised when I grabbed Kreator’s discography for a more careful listen, and I found that the previous 3 albums were also well received and had some thrash metal songs that would definitely put Metallica to shame. Hell, after 3 amazing thrash metal albums, many would expect them to walk on a path downhill, however they didn’t. On contrary, they might’ve released their best opus ever, that’s the extent of Phantom Antichrist and the quality that it delivers.

So, thrash metal fans and thrash metal bands and artist, grab this album and listen closely. It begins with the self-titled track, Phantom Antichrist (well it is actually preceded by an intro called Mars Mantra) which was released as a single and a video was also made for it. The song definitely convinces you that you’re on for a fist, but this is not necessarily the best track this album has to offer, but for an intro, it is a great choice a really inspired one and a really good way to promote an upcoming album and a long awaited one as well. We hear insane riffs, great symmetry between the two guitars, the bass lines at some points are also audible and the drum beats are well executed. I seriously include Jurgen in the top 5 best thrash metal drummers all time, probably after Slayer’ Dave Lombardo. This track has everything you love about thrash metal.

It descends to the 3rd track of this album entitled Dead to the World  a track that for many will remind of Nightwish, as the song was featured on a Nightwish album (I think Century Child). Well, it is nothing as cheesy as that, but rather, a less brutal act when compared to the previous song, still it is a song that carries the name and trademark of Kreator with it, powerful drum beats, impressive guitar solos and riffs and amazing vocals performed by Mille Petrozza.

Probably the high-light of this album is the 4th track, From Flood Into Fire. The song begins with a rather slow-paced guitar solo which is soon followed by Jurgen fast and ruthless blast drum beats. It won’t take long until you will recognize that Kreator does not stray from their brutal aspect. The chorus features a choir which blends pretty well with Mille’s screams and his guitar solos. Civilization Collapse follows the same pattern like the previous track, this time we are introduced with a rhythmic drum beat, resembling a ritual afterwards descending into the brutality we are used.

United in Hate briefly reminds me of Paradise Lost‘s 2009 opus entitled “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us“, not in style but in name only. It features an accoustic guitar intro and a pretty well performed one but it does not take long, because soon after we hear angry guitar riffs and ruthless blast drum beats.

I’ll stop here with the track by track presentation, the only high-lights I want to mention are the tracks The Few, The Proud, The Broken another track that deserves to be praised and the ending one, Until Our Paths Cross Again which is a sort of see you next time. Thinking back, Kreator has always placed quality albums, I cannot deny the fact that their first albums were the root of brutality and had an important contribution for the development of underground extreme metal. While in the 90s they were focused on experimenting with different sounds and styles, the opuses the released were not that convincing. A come back happened with the beginning of the new millenium and since Violent Revolution, I only heard great quality albums. Unfortunately, at their latest concert that I attended (this was a couple of days ago) I was surprised to see the fact that they prefer to focus a lot more on their 80s albums rather than these ones which makes me think that they do not know how to promote themselves, probably this is the reason why Kreator has been overshadowed all these years by the American thrash metal scene.

Still, the previous 3 albums were not entirely great, there were good tracks and bad ones as well, but this is one hell of a solid album, all tracks deserve to be praised and to be played live, in fact they should just sing the entire album live (too bad its length is only 45 minutes and when we talk about Kreator, we talk about a band that deserves to headline any kind of metal festival, without a doubt). Thrash metal for sure it is not dead, it is a genre that re-invents itself and it is maintained alive by bands such as Kreator, which even after 30 years of thrashing, they still can release quality material.

One thing helped them throughout the years, the fact that their line-up did not change much since 2001 (when Violent Revolution was released). I believe that the stability within the band was the benefactor. Well guys, if you love thrash metal, this album is a must listen. You get everything you want from this genre while listening this opus, fast and furious riffs, amazing and ruthless drum beasts, subtile yet audible bass lines, well executed guitar solos and a vocal style performed by Mille Petrozza better than ever before (though he does know how to tone down his voice when it is necessary, check out Your Heaven, My Hell). If you hate Metallica’s new opus, and if you’re not entirely satisfied with Megadeth‘s new opus, grab Kreator’s last instalment, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall: 100/100