Kreator was there during the genesis of thrash metal with its seminal ‘85 debut Endless Pain. Going by the evidence presented on its thirteenth album, Phantom Antichrist, the German band looks likely to be stirring the scene’s embers until Judgment Day.
Kreator has released a raft of textbook thrash classics—including ‘86’s Pleasure to Kill and ‘89’s Extreme Aggression—ever since founder, guitarist and vocalist Mille Petrozza, pulled on his cruelly tapered jeans. Hitting a slump in the early ‘90s (like many thrash titans) the band’s popularity and virtuosity were heavily reduced, and it limped home with albums that were pale reminders of its heyday.
However, Kreator has come back stronger than ever in the new millenium, releasing a series of albums that are as aggressive and inspired as its best work. Phantom Antichrist holds the distinction of being Kreator’s finest album in two decades. It’s a quintessential thrash monstrosity, and tracks such as “Death to the World”, “From Flood into Fire” and “Victory Will Come” set a neck-snapping pace. Sedate intros detonate incendiary bombardments on “Mars Mantra/Phantom Antichrist” and “United in Hate”.
Phantom Antichrist is 45 minutes of Teutonic circle-pit slammers, dissonant ‘80s solos and shout-along tales of apocalyptic destruction. It’s an industrial-strength battering treat for thrash fans. Kreator sounds vital and ferocious, and continues to teach those whippersnappers a few lessons in violence.
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