Nuclear Blast (2012)
When you’ve been involved in the metal scene for as long as Germany’s Kreator, there’s a lot to be said for pure longevity. You must be doing something right within your niche, or you might as well pack it in and retire. Kreator as one of the forefathers of the European thrash scene continue to assault the listeners with their brand of distinct speed, twin jackhammer rhythms, militant drumming and the acidic screams of the irreplaceable Mille. “Phantom Antichrist” is their thirteenth studio album and first for Nuclear Blast- and given their last touring onslaught with acts like Exodus, Death Angel, Warbringer, and Suicidal Angels (some acts in North America, others in Europe) it’s no wonder that this 9 song album combines angst and aggression with a strong melodic sensibility.
Songs like “Civilization Collapse” and “Death To The World” have this retro-atmosphere in terms of the riff attack with the added benefit of a punchy, live production- Mille’s rabid vocal buildups uncoiling as if a cobra striking for its last meal. When the quartet slow down for the first half of the historical “From Flood Into Fire”, you can feel the words come alive, the mead hall orientated chorus and an shifting arrangement tide because the lead break jacks up the tempo intensity to Slayer proportions. Kreator sticks to their strengths throughout the 9 song effort- the lead breaks from Mille and Sami Yli-Sirnio are fluid and most often stick to the context of the song, and Ventor’s drumming hasn’t lost any of its impact in the tom rolls, kinetic double bass runs or the snare/cymbal work.
A possible factor that could kill some impact is the watering down of certain choruses towards the back end of “Phantom Antichrist” as in “Victory Will Come” and “The Few, The Proud, The Broken”. It’s one thing to be simplistic, but the sheer repetition can be annoying when less is more effective- although the slow Ventor drum break for the latter seems tailor made for future drum solo action in a live setting.
Overall though, I will say “Phantom Antichrist” is another exciting thrash album for Kreator- blending together the “Extreme Aggression” era of the band with the modern knowledge and maturity they’ve displayed over the course of their last three studio offerings.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe