New album for my favourite European band of all times and one of the five most favourite in my whole life. As you can easily understand, I was very eager to see what Mille Petrozza and his company were preparing these three years since the previous release “Hordes Of Chaos”. Let’s get things clear, there is no chance for me to get disappointed from a Kreator album, I’m in love with most of their albums, some more and some less, Mille is for me personally the brightest mind in European metal all these years and his influences have reflected on the music of Kreator through the years. From the industrial vibe of “Renewal” and the fresh air of “Outcast” to the very personal and unfairly judged “Endorama”, and the “back to the roots” aesthetics of the three previous albums (“Violent Revolution”, “Enemy Of God”, ‘’Hordes Of Chaos’’), Kreator always had a succesful way to state their uniqueness. “Phantom Antichrist” continues from the point where the three previous albums stopped and if you add a little more melody to the compositions, you have a picture how it sounds like.
“Mars Mantra” is the intro track that simply makes room for the title track to enter and start decapitating anyone that might think it’s going to be a crappy album. Easily one of the best songs in Kreator’s career, it is certainly going to open their future gigs and become a live favourite. Unfortunately for me, it is such a level higher compared to the other tracks that somewhere here starts the conflict inside my mind and it’s the little thin line where I ask myself if I must judge with love or in cold blood. I’ll choose the second way this time because it’s a Kreator album, I wouldn’t do it if any other band was in this position. The truth is that Kreator are repeating themselves since “Violent Revolution” and on and that every album they release since then, is a click worse than the previous one. Any other new or old thrash band that has declined way too long before, would kill for an album like “Phantom Antichrist” but Kreator is the only band who looked Slayer in the eyes all these years so let’s reconsider things.
The compositions are characterized by demanding structures, especially the guitars have many to state, we are dealing with a fully qualified guitar work including amazing riffs, rather clever and pointful, some insane difficult solos and in general, it is the wild card of the album. On the other hand, too much melody is something I can’t get used to, especially if we’re talking about a thrash album. There has been melody and experimentation in albums of Kreator, especially the ones mentioned above, but this time some beginnings of songs would remind me of Arch Enemy (?!) and some clean vocals from Mille don’t fit that much as in the past. So I’m somewhere in the middle of things. Tracks like “Civilisation Collapse” or “United In Hate” are really great, but there comes the thought that somewhere I’ve heard such stuff before, from Kreator and other bands. And the worst thing is that I’m completely intolerant in listening stuff I’ve heard before in a Kreator album. What made Kreator more than great was that they always dared something different, something that doesn’t happen the last decade.
Yes, my beloved Germans seem somehow trapped in the style of their last three albums, surely it’s not easy to avoid a succesful recipe, even if you are called Kreator, but that doesn’t always guarantee a great result. Things confuse me because I really like the album, I’m not disappointed but on the other hand, it’s three years and maybe I was expecting something more or at least something better than “Hordes Of Chaos”, which was also a very good album but couldn’t keep me as a listener after the first ten listenings, so I’ve left it back. The case is quite the same with “Phantom Antichrist” and I can clearly tell you that it’s my less favourite Kreator album together with the debut album “Endless Pain” right now. I may confuse the ones that read this also, but only this way you may understand what Kreator mean to me and how much high are my expectations from them each time. An album above average which reaches very good scale is something like a privilege especially in the year of 2012, but not for Kreator.
You see, this was, is and will always be a band that held the flag of revolutionary expression in metal music. No borders, no repetition and no cliches would follow them, but this time things are different. It saddens me a lot and I may underestimate the true worth of this album. Kreator are above all metal bands almost, for me at least. I can’t put up with the fact thinking that some tracks would never enter some older albums even as b-sides. There comes someone screaming “then why the fuck do you put a 7.5 rating and not lower?” and the answer is quite simple: Kreator’s least finest hour the last 25 years is some others’ dream come true situation. This is the difference between them and most bands out there. A very good album for thrash metal (even a little more melodic than required) but a typical normal Kreator album which could/should have been better, maybe I’m the one wrongly complaining and it is better than I tell you. The only chance to find out is listen to it and decide yourselves. I still love them but there are much better albums to listen than this one for 2012.
01. Mars Mantra
02. Phantom Antichrist
03. Death To The World
04. From Flood Into Fire
05. Civilisation Collapse
06. United In Hate
07. The Few, The Proud, The Broken
08. Your Heaven, My Hell
09. Victory Will Come
10. Until Our Paths Cross Again
|Miland ‘Mille’ Petrozza – vocals, guitar
Sami Yli-Sirniö – guitar
Christian ‘Speesy’ Giesler – bass
Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil – drums, vocals