The veterans of the German thrash metal band Kreator are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, if we take the appearance of a band called Tormentor as the moment of foundation, and are also releasing their new (fifteenth) album, which fans again had to wait for as long as 5 years. Kreator is the second band from the so-called big Teutonic four of thrash metal, which released a record this year. Let me remind you that another thrash band veterans, Destruction, were pleased with the new album earlier. It will be all the more interesting to compare these two new releases, as well as to listen to what is new and interesting offered by Mille Petrozza and the company compared to the last album of 2017, which, by the way, collected very polar reviews.
Since the release of the last album, the band has undergone some personnel changes. Since 2019, Frenchman Frédéric Leclercq (ex-DragonForce) has become the new bass guitarist, replacing Christian Ghisler, who has been a member of Kreator for more than 20 years. In addition, the band decided to abandon the services of producer Jens Bogren, with whom several albums were recorded. The new producer was Arthur Rizk, who worked with Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly.
In general, whether in connection with the pandemic, or for some other reason, but the material for the album began to be recorded only in September 2021 at Hansa Studios and Studio Wong, in Berlin. Before the release of the record itself, the band released three singles, for which video clips were shot.
The finished record was released on June 10 on the Nuclear Blast label. The label commented on the release of the new album:
World renowned extreme Metal titans Kreator are back. “Hate Über Alles” features 11 tracks that once again show who’s boss in this game that many begin but only few ultimately last in. The crushing frenzy of the title track, the pounding “Strongest Of The Strong” featuring world famous vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian, the nostalgia of “Become Immortal” or the extravaganza of “Midnight Sun” make the band’s 14th album their most diverse and thrilling so far.
The leader of the group Mille Petrozza commented on the new album:
Hate Über Alles reflects the time we’re living in. Everything is really loud and aggressive. The way we communicate has changed, thanks to social media. It causes a lot of imbalance. The world is in a state of disrepair. Life is not harmonic right now, it’s disharmonic… that’s where I was going with the title.
In general, looking ahead, I would like to say that those who have been waiting for a return to raw and old-school thrash metal will be disappointed. The new album continues the line they created with the previous albums Phantom Antichrist and Gods Of Violence, mixing the remnants of thrash with catchy melodies. Moreover, Hate Über Alles even enhances the melody in the sound of the band, making hints of traditional heavy metal, and sometimes power metal, making this album the most experimental since the 2000s. At the same time, Kreator is not softening, because the intensity of thrash is still present, although not in full.
The album begins with a beautiful, but not quite clear minute introduction by Sergio Corbucci Is Dead. The Italian film director died back in 1990 and became famous as the director of the so-called spaghetti westerns, which were distinguished by a level of cruelty and violence beyond the limits of their time. And also shot comedies, including famous ones such as Signor Robinson and Bluff.
Next comes the title track Hate Über Alles. A very promising start for the album. It opens with the classic Kreator attack and the cry of Mille Petrozza. This is a fast, vicious and quite aggressive track, with a title that translates as “Hatred above all”. The impact of the song is enhanced by the infectious chorus, and the music demonstrates the band’s ability to play thrash with melodies. As it turns out later, this is the best track on the album.
Next comes Killer of Jesus. This composition is also aggressive, but the influence of traditional metal is already appearing in it. In the middle, it slows down and is filled with extremely melodic guitar parts and solos.
Crush the Tyrants begins with a rather elegant drum intro. A mid-tempo and swing composition, here the band approaches an even more melodic sound, and they continue to support it throughout the series of subsequent songs.
The second single from the album Strongest Of The Strong, for which a video clip was shot by director Tom Schlagkamp in South Africa, and in the video itself you can see the famous vegetarian bodybuilder Patrik Baboumian and the Kreator group itself, surrounded by red (Soviet?) flags. Musically, the new composition is very melodic, at a medium tempo, at the junction of traditional heavy, thrash metal, and also reminded me of melodic death metal like Children of Bodom with a very bright and clear sound. In general, there was no return to the roots here either. Although the song claims to be a hit.
Strongest Of The Strong represents every person on this planet who is striving to become a force of good in a world filled with a lot of bad. It’s a straightforward banger with a message that only one man could carry; his name is Patrik ‘Earthraiser’ Baboumian! Great working with him in the studio and on the music video, a man with a lot of shared values with my own. We hope you enjoy!
Become Immortal. It is a traditional heavy metal track with epic vocals. It seemed to me that the introduction is somewhat similar to the Phantom Of The Opera by Iron Maiden. The song is dedicated to the creation and development of the band itself, so to speak, a look at their legendary career. A music video was shot for the song, and the musicians of the young German thrash metal band Destroy Them act as young Kreator.
Commented by Mille Petrozza:
The video was our third in a row with Tom Schlagkamp and his team, it’s been a pleasure working with them. The video is based on the lyrics, which is a full circle look back through the years and celebrating our early beginnings, through to the release of our latest record, Hate Über Alles.
Conquer and Destroy opens with a very melodic guitar harmony, turning into a furious thrash verse and then into a melodic chorus, with the same harmony as in the introduction. Guitar solos are very harmonious and appear at the right time. There is even pure vocals, sounding in unison with the guitars. That is, again the same hackneyed scheme of slowing down tracks with faster and more aggressive riffs turning into melodic hymn-like choruses.
An ambiguous composition Midnight Sun, with the participation of guest vocalist Sofia Portanet, who nevertheless brings even more variety to an already diverse album, but at the same time her presence seems inappropriate and spoils the song. The composition itself has a very interesting introduction, as well as a dark, atmospheric and powerful chorus. Mille Petrozza comments:
Midnight Sun is something a little new for us, our first time collaborating with a female artist. When I was writing the song, I could hear this Oracle type voice over the pre-chorus and chorus and I immediately reached out to my talented friend, Sofia Portanet who is an emerging artist, here in Germany. Sofia added exactly what I was looking for and gives the song a really dark, ethereal vibe.
The video is the second production we shot with Tom Schlagkamp and his team. The concept was drawn up from the song’s lyrics which I envisaged to take place during a ritual sacrifice. Director, Tom came back with an idea loosely based on Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ which has powerful visuals, perfect for a killer metal music video!
The pace is picking up again on Demonic Future. And again there is a switch to a slower and more massive melodic chorus, the trend that runs through the entire album. In general, a very melodic composition with beautiful guitar harmonies.
Pride Comes Before the Fall opens with a sort of lullaby intro with a clear voice, gradually moving to the more familiar sounds of the band with a very melodic chorus. Next comes the slower and more atmospheric part of the track smoothly flowing into a fast tempo with a guitar solo.
Dying Planet was written by Mille in collaboration with Leclercq and is the longest composition on the record. A mid-tempo song with a Gothic atmosphere and melody. Very different from the classic Kreator material and the most progressive on the whole album. It ends with a slower section with spoken vocals.
As a conclusion. The album made a double impression. If you are a fan of raw and real thrash metal, then you are unlikely to like the album, well, maybe a couple of topics, but if you want something new and unpredictable from Kreator, then this album is definitely for you. The record turned out to be very diverse with very diverse material from thrash metal and melodic death metal to classic heavy metal. In this respect, the new Destruction CD is more related to thrash metal and looks much preferable. All three singles released before the album’s release plus one presented on the day of release perfectly characterize the entire album as a whole. The group is clearly in search of new ideas for its development. Of course, there was also a commercial component, but on the other hand, it’s still boring to hack classic German trash for 40 years. The best tracks of the album: the title Hat Über Alles, the melodic Strongest Of The Strong and, oddly enough, Midnight Sun, this one with female vocals.