January 19th, 2009
Kreator - Hordes Of Chaos
Kreator return in early 2009 with one of the best thrash metal albums in recent memory. This reviewer can't think of an album in the last 15 years by the Big 4 of US thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax) that even comes close to the thrash assault offered up by Kreator. Even in Germany, the only album that comes close to matching Hordes Of Chaos in old-school thrash intensity mixed with modern musicianship and writing is maybe Sodom's latest self-titled release, but Kreator just blows it out of the water and is sitting comfortably on the thrash throne.
There are some moments in this album where you might begin to dismiss as not being thrash (beginning of Amok Run), but Kreator fixes it right away with speedy riffs and headbanging breaks that make it feel like the '80's thrash movement all over again. These remedied faults are the low point of the album but they don't so much detract from the album as they just serve as the “good” part before the “awesome” part. Even when the guitars aren't blisteringly fast, the mid-tempo songs (Radical Resistance, To The Afterborn) are really fist-pumpingly great. A note about “To The Afterborn” though: Milli really should not try to sing. When he screams, he sounds like the world is ripping in half, but that really does not do a good job of transferring to his singing vocals. It really doesn't take away from the overall strength of the album, however.
Every song has a bit in it that was practically written to include the crowd in it. This album would transfer over to the live setting extremely well. There are breaks in the thrashing for lots of headbanging breaks and vocals that were made to shout along to (just about every song on the album, in fact). I can imagine screaming along with “Amok Run” or “Hordes Of Chaos” live. “EVERYTHING AGAINST EVERYTHING!” Kreator really should play this whole album live.
When the speed let's up in those rare moments, Hordes Of Chaos makes sure to make you bang your head and never gives you a moments rest. The solos are here, the aggression is here, the vocals are top notch, and everything about this album makes it work. I'm no expert on thrash, but as far as the big US thrash bands and the Teutonic thrash bands, this album is leagues ahead of what any of them have done in the past 15 years, Kreator included. An undeniable high point, if not peak, of their career. Do whatever it takes to get this album, and then cherish it for many, many years to come.
Highlights: Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite), Amok Run, Absolute Misanthropy, Demon Prince