Album Reviews

Kreator – London Apocalypticon Review

Released by Nuclear Blast Records

Release date February 14th,2020

Genre: Thrash Metal

 

Lineup:

Mille Petrozza – Guitars, Vocals

Sami Yli-Sirniö- Guitars

Jürgen “Ventor” Reil – Drums

Christian “Speesy” Giesler – Bass

 

Tracklist:

1. The Four Horsemen/Choir Of The Damned

2. Enemy Of God

3. Hail To The Hordes

4. Awakening Of The Gods

5. People Of The Lie

6. Gods Of Violence

7. Satan Is Real

8. Mars Mantra

9. Phantom Antichrist

10. Fallen Brother

11. Flag Of Hate

12. Phobia

13. Hordes Of Chaos

14. The Patriarch

15. Violent Revolution

16. Pleasure To Kill

17. Apocalypticon

 

 

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music which emerged in the early eighties. It’s characterized by its overall aggression and it features fast tempos, low-register, complex guitar riffs, high-register technically demanding guitar solos and double bass drumming. The rhythm guitar parts are played with heavy distortion and often palm muted, while several bassists use a distorted bass tone and a plectrum, to keep up with the rest of the instruments. Thrash tends to have an accelerating feel which may be due in large part to its aggressive drumming style. For this reason, drummers often use two bass drums, or a double-bass pedal, to create a relentless, driving beat. Moreover, thrash metal can employ a wide range of vocals, from melodic singing to shouted vocals. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, hence the lyrical themes include concern over the destruction of the environment, dissatisfaction and criticism towards politics and the establishment, along with disorders that could affect individuals and the entire society.

Even though the Bay Area is considered the fountain of this amazing subgenre of metal, Europe couldn’t stand watching. In 1982, the first steps were made in Essen, Germany by Kreator, one of the “Big Four” of Teutonic thrash metal. They are often credited with contributing to the creation of death and black metal since their compositions include various elements of those genres. The band’s style has changed several times over the years, from speed to thrash metal. After a period of transition to industrial and gothic metal throughout the 1990s, Kreator returned to their classic thrash sound in the early 2000s, which has continued to the present.

The band’s lineup has changed multiple times over its 38-year career, most noticeably with their bassists and lead guitarists. Lead vocalist – rhythm guitarist Mille Petrozza and drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil are the only two original members left in Kreator, though the latter had a break from 1994 to 1996. On September 16th, 2019, it was announced that Christian “Speesy” Giesler had left Kreator after 25 years as their bassist. The current lineup is completed by lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö, and ex- Dragonforce bassist Frédéric Leclercq.

Kreator has released fourteen studio albums, but have reached mainstream success mostly with “Phantom Antichrist” in 2012 and “Gods Of Violence” in 2017. At the beginning of December 2018, Kreator embarked on a tour of Europe, entitled the European Apocalypse, with the bands Dimmu Borgir, Hatebreed, and Bloodbath. The final concert of the European Apocalypse in London was filmed and produced as a live DVD entitled “London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse” and it was released on February 14, 2020, by Nuclear Blast Records.

The four-piece makes their best effort to represent every era contained in their almost four-decade career. This live performance is structured like a theatre event, including intervals between acts, which help the audience to recuperate and reflect upon what they have just experienced. On this purpose, there is a strategic use of short instrumental intros, such as “Mars Mantra” and “The Patriarch”, followed respectively by title tracks “Phantom Antichrist” and “Violent Revolution”. Moreover, there is some improvised material, for example, the extended intro to “Gods Of Violence”, which provides an important contribution to a great quality live performance. The same fundamental role is played by spontaneous moments, such as the song “Fallen Brother” with the effort of Mille Petrozza to rev up the crowd and honor the memory of belated Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell.

A variety of songs have been chosen for this tour, from the classics “Flag Of Hate”, “Pleasure To Kill” to the thrash anthems “Enemy Of God”, “People Of The Lie”. A tribute to the experimental years with the masterpiece “Phobia” and the most recent smashers “Hail To The Hordes”, “Satan Is Real” are part of this highly animated concert of the tectonic quartet in London. It’s not easy to fully comprehend the greatness without attending the show in person, but still, this album consists of a grand addition of the band’s finest performances.

The listener has to appreciate the perfection of the execution of the songs together with the excellent technical abilities of the musicians with Mille Petrozza doing what he knows best: playing the leading role of the absolute dominator of the masses, with the extreme aggression of his voice and the excellence in rhythm guitars. The elegance of Finnish Sami Yli-Sirniö in the leading guitarist’s duties, the devastating drumming of Jürgen “Ventor” Reil and the modern asset of now-former bassist Christian “Speesy” Giesler manage to push the arrangement to the next level, into an even more massive sounding live exhibition.

The thrash metal machine has given another perfect live show from start to finish. Even if Mille Pretozza and associates have been on the road for almost forty years, they seem they haven’t aged a day. The frequent lineup changes have not influenced the excellent quality of the compositions and the performances of a band that has fully kept up the flag of the competition to the Bay Area since day one. The German thrash warriors have set London on fire with a massive interpretation of some of the major highlights of their discography.

 

Ratings: 10/10

Written by: Katerina Paisoglou

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

 

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