Kreator’s talismanic frontman Mille Petrozza has gone on record to state that the 90’s were “a horrible era for bands like Kreator” and with thrash predominantly dead in the water, what was a band to do? Of course, the only option was to diversify, to adapt, and to challenge the status quo. And, as the decade drew on, that was exactly what Germany’s favourite sons did.
While the results weren’t exactly embraced by all quarters – particularly the thrash die hards! – Kreator’s 90’s output is hardly without merit. So,Worship Metal asks….are Kreator’s 90’s albums worthy of re-appraisal?
Coma Of Souls (1990)
In 1990, thrash was still a powerful force to be reckoned with and Kreator would unleash one last tirade of terrifying teutonic thrash before succumbing to inevitable change. Fortunately, fans were treated to one of the finest thrash releases of 1990, in the formidable shape of Coma Of Souls.
Following Extreme Aggression (arguably, Kreator’s finest album) was always going to a challenge but, in 1990, Kreator were still a rampaging thrash machine, more than capable of surpassing the majority of their peers and delivering one last hurrah in the name of bestiality!
Elements of groove and Priest/Maiden-esque melody may have seeped into the the achingly catchy “People Of The Lie” and “Terror Zone” but there’s no denying that the likes of “Twisted Urges” and the appropriately titled “Agents Of Brutality” were frenetic bursts of feral thrash.
29 years on and Coma Of Souls remains a masterclass in melodic thrash metal. 8/10
1992’s Renewal was a complete u-turn for Kreator, an industrial metal flavoured racket which all but jettisoned thrash entirely, and settled on clanking, clattering grooves and Mille Petrozza’s harsher sounding vocals.
Harsher? Yep, with Mille’s rasp reaching a pitch that should be considered hazardous to health, Kreator were now achieving heightened levels of sonic devastation!
Unfortunately, Renewal‘s new noise lacked the creative spark delivered just two years prior on Coma of Souls, and fans were left confused and, ultimately, disappointed.
While time has been kind to Renewal (the punchy one-two of “Zero to None” and “Europe After the Rain” sound better than ever), it can hardly be considered an essential Kreator release and will please Kreator completists only. 6/10
Cause For Conflict (1995)
Following the semi-confusing Renewal, Kreator’s Cause For Conflict heralded a temporary return to thrashier realms and while it hardly compares to the ferocity of Kreator’s 80’s output, it at least sounded more energetic, more rounded and, most importantly, mrore like the Kreator of old!
With Joe Cangelosi (Whiplash/Brooklyn Militia/Uncivil War) ensconced behind the kit, Kreator sounded utterly unhinged again as they rattled and roared through a bevy of industrial-tinged thrashers; seamlessly combining Mille Petrozza’s recent experiments with his thrash metal glories of the 1980’s.
An antidote to the chart-bothering sounds of nu-metal and grunge, Cause For Conflict was less conflicted than Renewal and far more confrontational. This time around, Kreator were experimenting with noise and sheer propulsive, percussive power and remains a sonic onslaught of ear-spitting volume.
There’s a strong case for Cause For Conflict being Kreator’s most underrated album and the band were undeniably thrashing hard, fast and with more extremity than ever! 8/10
By 1997, Kreator certainly were outcasts, operating in a world entirely dismissive of thrash with metal fans seemingly none too keen on any direction Kreator pursued. Basically, they were in a no win-situation but Outcast was nowhere near the disaster it’s often labelled as!
We defy anyone not to admit that “Phobia” is one of the catchiest tracks in Kreator’s arsenal while the apocalypse-baiting “Black Sunrise” – which would have been right at home on Renewal – is an epic sojourn into doom-laden brutality. Brimming with a sense of unmistakable evil, Outcast is the sound of pure darkness; highly emotive and delivered with a crushing intensity.
Perennially unloved and by no means perfect, Outcast is still the one Kreator album that’s deserving of reappraisal! 7/10
An album that potentially would have benefitted from being released under a different name, the overly gothic Endorama is, to many, the absolute nadir of Kreator’s oeuvre.
“Shadowland” and “Chosen Few” are well crafted highlights – heavy on mid-paced groove and an ever-darkening atmosphere – but there’s something stale about the whole enterprise that seems to need a jolt of well-place ‘thrash’ to drag it out of the doldrums.
You can’t fault Mille Petrozza’s desire to experiment in the 90’s but Endorama was definitely one step too far and, if it wasn’t for the rip-roaring thrashing comeback of 2000’s fantastic Violent Revolution, could have sounded the death knell for this beloved band.
Is Endorama a good album? Yeah, it is.
Is it a good Kreator album? No, it’s most certainly not. 6/10
In conclusion, that’s actually not a bad run of albums released during a decade that thrash disowned. Well worthy of rediscovery and, Coma Of Souls aside (which already had a great reputation and was included here for completeness), the likes of Cause For Conflict and Outcast are far bette than we remembered.
What’s your opinion on Kreator’s 90’s output? Utter pish or undervalued gems? Sound off in the comments below!