Mille, Rob and Ventor formed the band Tyrant (soon Tormentor) in the town of Essen in the industrial Ruhr area of West Germany in 1982 and issued two demos before changing the band’s monicker to the more original Kreator and adopting an ‘ultra-thrash’ sound. The band operated on a two-vocalist basis with Mille and Ventor alternating as vocalists on songs. The group signed with Noise Records and shocked the world with the ferocity and speed of its first two albums. Pleasure To Kill saw the addition of guitarist Tritze and the band became a quartet. While drummer Ventor was often criticized in this period for his lack of drumming skills his rolls, nonetheless, became a trademark for the band. The group played shows with the likes of Rage, Destruction, as well as Voivod, Possessed and Desexult. An EP in 1986 was called Flag Of Hate and featured a new song and a couple of rerecorded favourites.
Terrible Certainty, while extreme, saw the band adopt a more rational approach and also expand its lyrical horizons. The band toured with Virus and Celtic Frost in Europe and DRI and Holy Terror in America on the back of the album. A promotional video clip for the song Toxic Trace was also shot. Extreme Aggression was even more so despite the title. The album’s cover was changed because the band found the drawing too demonic and aggressive. Tritze then departed. Randy Burns recorded this album, and Coma Of Souls, in Los Angeles. The recording of Extreme Aggression had in fact begun in Germany, but the sessions were abandoned and the band was flown to Los Angeles to regroup and re-record. Tritze’s replacement was former Sodom man Blackfire. The band reached central and South America during this period.
Renewal was either that or a complete watered down industrial placeholder. Mille would later admit to having mental and drug problems during this period. The band lost many fans with this release and would suffer the departure of bassist Rob. Andreas Herz of Slasher replaced him, although Kreator would not record anything during his tenure. In fact, Kreator (like many of its peers) was in a dispute with Noise Records looking to buy its freedom from the label. Another blow was the departure of Ventor leaving Mille as the only original member in Kreator. Ventor/Reil would return three years later.
Free from Noise Records the band would sign with G.U.N. Records home of the band’s management and record an album called Cause For Conflict with drummer Joe Cangelosi and bassist Christian Giesler. The choice of Vinnie Wojno, who had worked with Machine Head, earned the band some criticism. The drummer would last only for this one record. Tommy Vetterli (a.k.a. Tommy T. Baron) of Coroner would soon join, yet would be replaced by Waltari’s Sami Yli-Sirniö in 2001 himself. The group would tour with Destruction again covering North and South America.
Violent Revolution would see a resurgence for Kreator with a sharper sound and a more humanist lyrical outlook. Enemy Of God would hit the German charts and would be supported by touring, festival appearances and a video clip. The band toured America with Napalm Death and Undying. A tour with Celtic Frost was announced for 2007. The planned King Diamond, Kreator, Cellador and Leaves' Eyes tour of America in April of 2008 was cancelled in 2007 due to King Diamond’s ailing herniated disc of the spine. The vocalist was not expected to be fully recovered in time for the touring. Kreator’s double DVD At The Pulse Of Kapitulation - Live In East Berlin 1990 was issued by SPV in March of 2008. Supporting its Hordes Of Chaos album (which was due in January of 2009), the band announced touring in North America with Exodus, Warbringer, Belphegor and Epicurean for April and May of 2009. The latest album was available in three versions and included a bonus DVD for the special versions. Jürgen "Ventor" Reil opened his own tattoo shop in Essen, Germany under the name Carnap Ink Corporation in 2009. Kreator was hitting Australia for a tour at the end of August of 2009. Support for the Germans was provided by Mortal Sin. Kreator drummer Ventor would not be with the band on upcoming tours in 2009 due to “personal issues.” The band enlisted Necrophagist and Illogicist credited drummer Marco Minnemann. Kreator announced a tour of North America for March of 2010 using the Hordes Of Chaos Part II monicker. A revolving cast of openers included Lazarus A.D., Voivod, Kataklysm, Evile and Nachtmystium. The band’s 2010 North American tour would feature music from the band’s earliest days. The band was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Kreator also signed to Nuclear Blast Records. The band would headline Thrashfest 2010, the "thrash metal tour of the year" in autumn of 2010 in Europe, which also featured Exodus, Death Angel and Suicidal Angels. Overkill and Exodus teamed up for the Thrash Domination 2010 mini-tour of Japan in September. Support on all three shows came from Outrage. Kreator’s next album, Phantom Antichrist, was out on June 1st, 2012 through Nuclear Blast. A single with the same name preceded it. The album was engineered at Fascination Street Studio in Örebro, Sweden with producer Jens Bogren. German author Hilmar Bender's Kreator biography, Violent Evolution, was due out in 2012 in a translated and English edition. The German edition was issued in 2011. Kreator and other bands like Iced Earth would make their respective Indian live debuts at the Bangalore Open Air, which took place on June 16th, 2012. Many Indian bands were on the list. Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist has entered the German Media Control chart at position number five. Kreator, Morbid Angel, Nile and Fueled By Fire announced a European tour beginning November 1, 2012. The German band would release a new DVD, Dying Alive, on August 30th, 2013 through Nuclear Blast. The show was recorded in Oberhausen, Germany on December 22nd, 2012 where the band was promoting Phantom Antichrist. Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and Tankard having been billed as The Big Teutonic 4 performed at Germany's Beastival on June 1st, 2013. Mille was a guest at Doro Pesch’s thirtieth anniversary as a recording artist. It involved two concerts on May 2nd and May 3rd, 2014 at CCD-Stadthalle in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2014, Germany’s Kreator would be featured on the show Schau In Meine Welt on German children's television channel KiKa. Kreator would conduct a European headlining tour in November and December of 2014. Support would come from Vader, Arch Enemy and Sodom. For Arch Enemy and Kreator’s autumn tours the bands would release split seven-inch singles available on the road. A transparent red 7” single and a dark red 7” single (each limited to 500 copies) would be available during the tours. Kreator was headlining Europe while Arch Enemy was headlining North America. Kreator was to tour Europe in support of its upcoming, and as yet untitled new record, with Sepultura and Aborted in the winter of 2017. Nuclear Blast Records was issuing the band’s Gods Of Violence album in January. Kreator would headline 2017’s Decibel Magazine Tour. Support would come from Obituary, Midnight and Horrendous. Gods Of Violence entered the charts in Germany at position No. 1. Kreator conducted a European tour in early 2018. Decapitated and Dagoba were to open. Kreator and Saboton would tour North America in February 2018. Kreator, Bloodbath and Dimmu Borgor would tour Europe in December. Judas Priest, Kreator, Helloween, Massacre, Arch Enemy, Revocation and others were confirmed for the Colombian edition of Knotfest on October 26th 2018. The festival would take place in Bogota the capital of Colombia. Following Dave Mustaine of Megadeth contracting cancer and the band cancelling touring Kreator replaced Megadeth at the Santiago Gets Louder festival, which was taking place in Santiago, Chile on October 6th 2019. Kreator picked up former Dragonforce bassist Frédéric Leclercq replacing Speesy in September 2019. The band would release London Apocalypticon – Live At The Roundhouse through Nuclear Blast this year. Kreator reissued its Terror Prevails – Live At Rock Hard Festival 2010, album on two cassettes limited to 444 copies through Reborn Through Tapes Records in 2020. The band was working on a new album for 2021. The band also jumped on the merchandising bandwagon and collaborated with coffee roasters The blend was called Black Sunrise. Kreator‘s Under The Guillotine: The Noise Records Anthology was a box set which was released on February 26th 2021.
KREATOR - VOICES OF TRANSGRESSION - A 90S RETROSPECTIVE - PAVEMENT
Licensed for North America by Pavement, the sampler at hand reminds me again why I haven't bothered with Kreator in the 1990's. In fact, last I seriously focused on Kreator was at a ten year old show where the Germans were playing with Biohazard - which should have told me something then! While a few featured tracks, namely those from 1995 and 1997 sessions, do have a respectable metallic feel, there is simply too much monotonous gothic/ industrial and hardcore influences here to take in for too long before the need to come up for oxygen. The band lost its way a long time ago, as Kreator's last good album was issued in 1987 - and that is a long time ago. - Ali "The Metallian"
KREATOR - PAST LIFE TRAUMA - NOISE
Not long ago Gun Records released a Kreator compilation called Voices of Transgression. Compiled out of the band's 1990's material, the compilation exhibited Kreator's downfall in that decade and the reason why the band has steadily lost popularity. That compilation is made so much more painful by the release of Past Life Trauma featuring music from the Kreator's heyday of the 80's when the band had not succumbed to 'progression' and slowed down to a crawl of pseudo industrial/hardcore irrelevance. While songs like Renewal and Winter Martyrium are as stale and boring as the day they were released, the appearance of gems from the band's first 2 1/2 albums complete with lyrics, band notes and vintage photographs give the fans the chance to remember Kreator as an innovator of 'ultra thrash' - in their own early words - and remind us that Kreator was one of the very first bands to revolutionize heavy metal to a new stage of speed and heaviness. Favourite track Toxic Trace is sadly omitted, yet there is enough vintage Kreator to make this sampler more than just another Noise reissue or compilation. - Ali "The Metallian"
KREATOR - VIOLENT REVOLUTION - STEAMHAMMER
I am from the minority who didn't think much of Kreator's efforts after Terrible Certainty. While some liked albums like Extreme Aggression and Coma Of Souls, these ears found them pale to be follow-ups to the extreme pleasure of the first three albums. The killer aggression of those Kreator albums has been AWOL since the late eighties and even though Kreator gave almost as many back-to-the-roots notices as Megadeth it never came to fruition. Violent Revolution is a return to Kreator's Extreme Aggression era. It is sure to please fans who howled at the mess that was the industrial, Machine Head clone or keyboard-burdened Kreator. On VR Kreator, thanks to Mille's restoration and new guitarist Sami Yli Sirni, finds its footing again and brings back thrashing semblance (along with Iron Maiden melodies) to the demon. It is respectable and even honourable after the aforementioned atrocities but it's a terrible certainty that the band's best output will forever reside in the eighties.
KREATOR - ENEMY OF GOD - SPV
The 2005 Kreator album, provocatively entitled Enemy Of God, is a maintain to the future album. That is, the album follows the path of the band's last album, 2001's Violent Revolution, with a relentlessly aggressive and relevant body of music that nonetheless features enough innovation to both keep the band moving forward and the fan-base content.
Vocalist Mille Petrozza is everything he should be, raspy, belligerent and emotional. The music is guitar-oriented thrash metal and the concept is timely and befitting of the times addressing "terrorism on both sides" as Mille has best put it. Still, and on the disappointing side of things, the 55-minute album's cover and the included video are too dull, unremarkable and monochromatic.
The title track is heavy and has a brilliant riff. Suicide Terrorist has some Slayer-isms in it, while Murder Fantasies features nifty guitar acrobatics and equal amounts of Iron Maiden and Slayer. The latter song sports a linear riff that is as effective as Mille is pissed off. The rhythm changes nicely accompany the "I want to kill youuuuu" scream. When Death Takes It's (sic) Dominion starts like Metallica's Call of The Ktulu and features a wobbly lead sound later. The dual-guitar interplays and the fabulous harmonies are balanced against a razor-sharp rhythm. Dying Race Apocalypse begins with an acoustic intro which is calm before surging to the edge of the abyss with an offbeat chord. The melodic guitar overlay and the catchy rhythm sound like Iron Maiden. The Ancient Plague ends the album slowly and deliberately with a big sound and chugging power.
Enemy Of God is a real stimulating album full of commendable riffs. Fans of thrash guitars wont be left wanting. The band is not at the 1985 to 1988 levels, but damn good anyway. - Ali "The Metallian"
KREATOR - ENEMY OF GOD REVISITED DVD - SPV
The German thrash metallers that are enemies of god certainly make a good case for it on this DVD. Filmed at the Wacken open air festival the live portion of the DVD contains 13 tracks covering the old in Tormentor, Flag Of Hate and Pleasure To Kill and the new in Enemy Of God, Impossible Brutality and Suicide Terrorist. The aggression of Mille’s conduct between songs is perhaps surprising, where he asks the massive crowd if they are ready to kill each other and goes on to send a 'fuck you' to both the governments and terrorists of the world. The crowd seems responsive to it all and the quality of the live show reflects that. The DVD viewer could do without the grainy green filter but nevertheless Kreator easily out-deliver many of the younger bands in all metal aspects. Four video clips, including an animated one for Dystopia and one made by a contest winner for Dying Race Apocalypse are also included. Other extras include a four-song 'bootleg' of the band playing at Live At The Rockpalast and a complete audio of the Enemy Of God studio album in theater quality 5.1 DTS sound. - Anna Tergel
KREATOR - AT THE PULSE OF KAPITULATION (CD+DVD) - SPV
At The Pulse Of Kapitulation brings together two pieces of Kreator’s early 1990’s history into a remastered DVD and CD set. The main segment of this combo is a recording of a show in the former East Berlin soon after the Berlin wall had fallen. Kreator along with Coroner, Tankard and Sabbat had ventured into an interesting situation and gotten an interesting and enthusiastic crowd response. Considering the date obviously this is Kreator playing their very best with emphasis on what was then their latest release, Extreme Aggression. The band play a good selection from Endless Pain, Pleasure To Kill and Terrible Certainty too with the likes of Flag Of Hate, Tormentor, Under The Guillotine, Riot Of Violence, Toxic Trace, Behind The Mirror and not forgetting Awakening Of The Gods and a drum solo. As this show was recorded for a VHS and not most professionally either there are gaps in sound and video quality but that doesn’t deter from the musical quality. The second part of the DVD is a 're-edited' or director’s cut version of the Hallucinative Comas short movie that the band released in conjunction with their 1991 release Coma Of Souls. Looking back, this dark story of the thoughts of Dr. Wagner interspersed with video clip style footage of four songs, People Of The Lie, Twisted Urges, Coma Of Souls and Terror Zone, from the said album show tentative and early signs of the change that was to come with Kreator’s subsequent release, Renewal. The CD that accompanies this release is an audio version of the East Berlin concert but even though it is listed as such it is not exactly like the video version as the timing doesn’t always match especially around Ventor’s drum solo. Also worth a look are the interviews with some of the people who were there or involved with setting up the East Berlin concert and their account of the mood and sometimes surreal circumstances. - Anna Tergel
KREATOR - HORDES OF CHAOS - SPV
The opener and title track takes a few seconds to take flight but it is immediately clear what Kreator has intended when recording a simple and ”˜realistic reflection’ of the band’s live performance with the help of producer Moses Schneider. The song’s simplicity and theme has a decidedly politicized feel to it and in some ways not unlike a System Of A Down song, but that is not meant in any way in a negative sense. Warcurse is next and this is again an angry Kreator with the world’s corruption seemingly taking more of a toll on Mille and Co. Escalation takes the simple and crushing thrash theme further. Amok Run starts with sort of a spoken word segment, Mille and Kreator are pretty much seething here, and almost take the song to hardcore realms, but one interspersed with some melody that are like moments of angry reflection. Destroy What Destroys You reminds the listener of Extreme Aggression’s Don't Trust and No Reason To Exist. Radical Resistance is once again no nonsense speedy anger with backing vocals that also once again in hardcore territory. Absolute Misanthropy starts off with hard rock-ish riffs then speeds up before settling into the expected and signature Kreator with the solo making an enjoyable appearance and lasting slightly longer than most. To The Afterborn like most others here is in the Extreme Aggression mold but is anthemic and is meant as a 'Warning to the afterborn'. Corpses Of Liberty is a 55 second acoustic intermission and paves the way for the closer, Demon Prince, to jump into the ultra speedy riffing and flashes of catchy melody. One can argue that with Hordes Of Chaos Kreator have allowed the (lyrical) fury to take over the music, but the Germans do not get it wrong. - Anna Tergel
KREATOR - HORDES OF CHAOS - SPV
When reviewing a thrash metal album, most things taken into account completely pale in comparison to the question: does this make me want to destroy? Does this make me headbang and smash stuff and generally act like a maniac? Fortunately, most thrash does. At least, all good thrash does. But a truly good thrash album will bring that power, but also remain interesting – it'll contain more than just the redone riffs. It's not just great metal, but great music. This is what separates great thrash bands (like Dark Angel) from legendary thrash bands (like Kreator). And Hordes Of Chaos is almost legendary. It firmly cements what was discovered in 2001's Violent Revolution and proven with 2005's Enemy Of God ... that the Teutonic legends in Kreator are back, and they're making great thrash. Hordes Of Chaos isn't Coma Of Souls, and it's definitely not Pleasure To Kill. It's not Kreator's best album. But it is a fucking awesome thrash album that's definitely different then the majority of the modern thrash around.
The first thing you'll notice about Hordes Of Chaos is that it bears little resemblance to the classic Kreator sound. Hordes Of Chaos continues in the vein of their last two albums, but anyone hoping to hear Terrible Certainty will be let down. For one thing, it's a hell of a lot more melodic. Hordes Of Chaos is very heavy, but it contains as much melody as any Kreator album that's not between Coma Of Souls and Violent Revolution. In this album, the songs least plagued by melody are generally the best. The album's low points are stuff like To The Afterborn and Amok Run, where Kreator seems unwilling to let heavy be heavy. To The Afterborn, in particular, is probably the worst song on the album. This isn't usually a problem, but in some songs it seems like Kreator isn't willing to fully let loose, to fully show the extent of their power. However, in most cases, the melody works to the album's advantage by varying up the sound. Mille's voice has also changed, to a very angry throaty kind of yell. It actually works very well, It adds another level of intensity to this already intense album. The melodic influences and Mille's voice are the two main modern influences to the album. Honestly, both work, well. Kreator is still evolving and improving, and Hordes Of Chaos is the logical step up from Enemy Of God.
Hordes Of Chaos is ultimately the work of a band in control. Relatively short at ten songs (and one is a fifty-five second instrumental), it says what it needs to without bogging down like, for instance, another veteran thrash band's The Atrocity Exhibition ... Exhibit A. And it is paced extremely well. Hordes Of Chaos opens and closes with a bang – the title track starts the album with a blast of fury, and Demon Prince ends it on an extremely high note. Played straight through, it's very powerful. Hordes Of Chaos is a good case of an album being more then the sum of its parts. It gives you the feeling you've been pummeled, like good thrash should.
The best songs on the album are the multipart Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite), the pummeling ender Demon Prince, (which features stunning guitar work, but we'll get to that), and the balls-out thrashers Destroy What Destroys You and Warcurse. Fortunately, the album keeps up a high level of intensity throughout. Absolute Misanthropy and Escalation are also highlights. Nothing really bogs the album down. It's very consistent, and every song is worth repeated listens. The drum work is good, but the guitars stand out. Sweet solos on Demon Prince and To The Afterbirth are worth repeated listens, but the thrash breaks on Warcurse and Destroy What Destroys You are where the guitars really stand out. Kreator has always been good at Angel Of Death style thrash breaks -- go all the way back to Pleasure To Kill and you'll hear amazing breaks on Riot Of Violence and Pleasure To Kill. The breaks are here too. When they slow the pace and an insane riff comes in, you know the song is really going to take off -- listen to the pounding awesomeness in Radical Resistance. The drumming is relatively unremarkable, although Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite) features some great fills.
All this adds up to one great thrash metal album. Kreator simply annihilate on this album. Talking about this album objectively and dryly the way I've been doesn't capture the way this album made me bang my head and flash the metal horns, the way it made me thrash around like a lunatic. I could honestly see this being in the top ten metal CDs this year, and it's going to be hard to top the standard they've set for 2009 with this album. If you like music that sounds like knocking shit over, then make sure you get Kreator's Hordes Of Chaos. You won't regret it. - Max V.