Sound — 9
Kreator's twelfth record starts off with a few immediate changes that are immediately noticeable. The first is production: where the past two Kreator records (Violent Revolution and Enemy of God) were heavily polished, this album was recorded straight to tape and is as old-school sounding of a record as you're likely to find in this day and age. The second thing you'll notice right away is that the riffs are MONSTROUS when the band let's loose. I can't say enough about how aggressive or intense this album is. Really good stuff. The band, over time, has gotten tighter than back in the glory days of Extreme Aggression, and you can tell on this album because every mistake (and it doesn't sound like there are many) is clearly audible, just like in the old days. This album just sounds tighter than those albums. There are a lot of exceptionally good songs on this record. Not all of them are thrash - "Destroy What Destroys You" sounds horribly out of place because it's a heavy groove song - but most of them are fast, heavy songs that feature some of the biggest thrash riffs in years and some of the best riffs Kreator's played since Coma of Souls. But this CD doesn't quite live up to Coma of Souls or Extreme Aggression. There feels like there's a little too much filler and a little too much modern groove metal influence in there. The chorus to "After Burn" sounds decidedly like In Flames to me, and some of their guitar melodies are a little too Gothenburg-ish, which is a problem that also plagued their last two records. I'm pleased to say it's least noticeable on this record. Jurgen Reil is also a drumming beast and is one of the highlights of this album - as I'm sure many of you know or have guessed, it takes some crazy skills to be able to do an album live like this.
Lyrics — 7
Mille's back to his usual vocal duties, and it's amazing how well his voice has held up. He might not be the best singer ever (let's face it, he doesn't really sing), but he's been doing this for twenty-five years and his voice barely sounds any different from what it did twenty-five years ago. Some of his lyrics are horrible. I wouldn't say any of his lyrics are especially good, but they don't have to be on an album like this - Kreator is about the music and the way the vocals match it more than the lyrics. And the vocals really match it. "Destroy What Destroys You" is a horrible song musically, but vocally, it's a vibrant example of Petrozza's skill and one of his best performances on the album. There isn't a single vocal performance that sounds unbearable, which is better than we can say for some of Kreator's past work.
Overall Impression — 9
There are some fantastic songs on this album - it's overall very consistent. I love the title track, and Amok Run is an absolutely epic song. It's not handled as well as Metallica would handle a ballad, but for Kreator, it was a very interesting song and a surprise to hear on the album. Corpses of Liberty is the best interlude I've heard since Shadows Fall put out Threads of Life, and Demon Prince is a very high note to end the album on. Absolute Misanthropy is also a fantastic song. The only song on here that I'm not a big fan of is "Destroy What Destroys You", which just doesn't really seem to fit in a record that's full of aggression. Does the raw production work for this album? I would say it fit's in 90 percent of the time. It's a thin sound that reminds me of Extreme Aggression's production. This album starts on full throttle with the Blackened-esque intro to the opening track and doesn't let up for the rest of the album, and it's arguably the band's most vicious attack since Extreme Aggression. Highly recommended thrash metal with only a hint of modern influences, and one heck of a way to start off 2009.