Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
text: Basak Gunel
Kreator is a thrash metal band from Essen, Germany. They started as a speed metal band with influences from the band Venom, but from 1992 till 1999 industrial influences were mixed with thrash metal roots. Their style is also similar to other German thrash metal bands such as Destruction and Sodom.
Kreator has released thirteen studio albums, including the latest album ‘Phantom Antichrist’,two EPs, one live album and three compilation albums. Kreator’s first debut album ‘Endless Pain’ was released in 1985. Kreator gained the biggest success in the USA in 2009 with their twelfth (and previous) studio album ‘Hordes of Chaos’.
Kreator was first formed in 1978 but they formalized under the name Tormenter later in 1982. The original line-up of the band was vocalist and guitarist Mille Petrozza, drummer Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil and bassist Rob Fioretti. ‘Pleasure to Kill’, which was released in 1986, is considered as one of the classic thrash metal albums and a big influence on the death metal genre. With this album, Kreator also became one of the most promising European metal acts.
Starting from 1990, with the decreasing popularity of thrash metal, Kreator had a change of style and they experimented with more death metal and industrial metal. In 1992 they released ‘Renewal’. This album did not receive good criticism mainly because of the band’s change of style. In 1996, the drummer Jürgen Reil, who left the band beforehand, rejoined Kreator again and the band released two albums ‘Outcast’ and ‘Endorama’. These albums had more gothic and ambient influences. Once again, these albums unfortunately did not make the band’s success any better and the record sales went down.
In 2001, the new guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö was added to the line-up and Kreator released ‘Violent Revolution’. With this album, Kreator returned to their classic thrash metal style and gained good criticism. Worldwide successful tours are followed by ‘Enemy Of God’ in 2005 and ‘Hordes of Chaos’ in 2009. Both albums show a mature Kreator easily leaving other bands behind with their new influences and remarkable sound of Mille Pettroza.
The album opens with a short intro “Mars Mantra” and the main song “Phantom Antichrist“. The intro starts really slowly, but it is clearly an indication of a pure thrash song; like the silence being an indication of a storm. The first thing that attracted me, are the powerful drums in the song. Of course, there is no need to say how amazing the riffs are; they are really fast and technically really successful. The guitar riffs from Sami are also in the foreground of the song; especially the guitar solo towards to the end is really catchy. In my personal opinion, this song is an amazing intro song and it will surely attract any metalhead in general. It is also proof that Kreator did not change in any way. As a matter of fact, they have been stronger than ever!
The fast rhythm of the album continues with the second song “Death To The World”. Also this song is technically fast with the riffs being in the center of the mix. What attracted me the most in this song is the aggression in the lyrics(especially in the chorus). It is impossible not to headbang to a song like this!
The album becomes more melodic on “From Flood Into Fire’. The rhythm also becomes slower, but the listener can still feel the aggression. The fast guitar solos in contrast to the rhythm of the song are really good. What I also liked is the ‘slow’ part in the middle of the song.
Generally, the album is really fast and ‘thrash’ with songs like “Phantom Antichrist”, “Death to The World”, “Civilization Collapse” , “Victory Will Come”. These songs can be defined as the songs with ‘true thrash-metal vibe’ which means fast guitar riffs, powerful drums, aggressive lyrics. On the other hand, the album also has a ‘slower and ‘more melodic’ side with songs like “From Flood Into Fire”, “The Few, The Proud, The Broken” , “ and the last song “Until Our Paths Cross Again”.
In my opinion, the highlights of ‘Phantom Antichrist‘ are the two amazing guitar solos from Sami Yli-Sirniö in “Civilization Collapse” and the last song “Until Our Paths Cross Again”. These songs really stay in the listener’s mind. Especially the starting of “Civilization Collapse” and the ending of “Until Our Paths Cross Again”.
All in all, it is impossible to pick a favorite from this album because each song is different from each other (although they might seem the same during your first listening session). The vibe of the songs are different; some are more melodic, some start slowly and continue fast and some are just pure thrash-metal.
It makes this album even more successful and more original. As a matter of fact, the listener might expect an ordinary thrash-metal album but this is not the case and the listener will feel it while listening to the songs; each of them carry a different vibe but the same aggression. Nevertheless, if I had to pick my favorite songs, they would be “Phantom Antichrist” , “Until Our Paths Cross Again”, “Civilization Collapse” and “United In Hate”.
I have to say that this album is the fastest and the most ‘thrash’ album I have listened to recently. It is aggressive and powerful. It is not only ‘full-metal’ but it is also very original and it proves that Kreator is still there on top of the scene.
1. Mars Mantra + Phantom Antichrist
2. Death to The World
3. From Flood Into Fire
4. Civilization Collapse
5. United in Hate
6. The Few, The Proud, The Broken
7. Your Heaven My Hell
8. Victory Will Come
9. Until Our Paths Cross Again
Miland “Mille” Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Christian “Speesy” Giesler – bass
Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – drums