album review : Phantom Antichrist (2012) – Kreator

album : Phantom Antichrist

artist : Kreator

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2012

The thrash veterans are making an attempt to master the laws of heavy metal so they can continue composing music albeit having lost their original identity somewhere.

That Burzum wore a t-shirt of Kreator‘s classic 1986 release Pleasure to Kill when he set out to stab Euronymous (guitarist, Mayhem) in the skull is not the only fact that makes this an exciting act to hear. While thrash metal had already taken shape in another part of the world, Germany had slowly started developing thrash giants in it’s womb. We all have masturbated to Sodom‘s music, and savoured Destruction‘s tracks umpteen times. Before Kreator became one of the game changers in German world of thrash, they went by the name of Tormentor. A few demos, an alteration in name, and a superior understanding of the genre helped them trudge their way to becoming a one of it’s kind band playing severely neck-damaging, frantic thrash. I know, I start talking blabbering about Burzum at the drop of a hat. Let’s get on with the review…

Apart from worshiping the genre gently, Phantom Antichrist, Kreator‘s thirteenth full-length, has a lot of soul in it. On one side you are enjoying an outbreak of pace on the songs, and on the other there is this strong rhythmic melody liberated by several of the sections, reminiscent of Accept‘s latest Stalingrad. Kreator has had it’s phases. We’ve been through a time when you could expect nothing but out and out thrash metal, when there was no scope for even the slightest bit of manouvering from the rigid path of thrash. Another one had them giving in to the demands of the ‘scene’ and in a bid to stay higher up in the race they compromised on what they were known for in the first place but they were still always listenable. Always. Painting themselves with sweet tunes, borrowing portions from melo-death also did not make their albums laughable. Times have definitely changed, and ones that speak the language of pure thrash are very few today and Kreator definitely isn’t one of them.

When I hear a thrash metal album today they all seem to lack the sound that defined the genre in the first place. Too much of clean production has affected the music adversely, thereby leading one to ask the most important question – is it the recording or is the band isn’t good enough? I’m a firm believer of rawness, and had any of the early 80’s thrash metal band’s album been produced the way it is done today, it would not have had a similar appeal or impact, neither would they have changed lives nor would they have enjoyed the cult status they went on to achieve. Phantom Antichrist‘s production is crystal clear, which is my biggest grouch with the record. If I push that out of the way, which I cannot, the music here has the ability to light up even the darkest of dungeon. With more than twenty two years of learning, preaching and teaching metal, this band seems to want to be remembered as long as there is metal.

Hordes of groove coming in the way of thrash, which hurriedly scatters the listener’s attention. Whether they hamper the flow or add flavor to the songs is purely a personal choice. Some wouldn’t mind that at all. But some might find them to be fun-spoiling moments. The abrupt breaks can be heard more on the title track, United In Hate and Your Heaven My Hell. Solos, played endlessly by lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö supports the spoken screams by Mille. By the way Mille is the only original member on the current line-up, who stuck to Kreator from the start. Heavy groove is spotted on the album on Death To The World, The Few The Proud The Broken and Your Heaven My Hell. I see strong old-Mille Petrozza moments on Civilisation Collapse where he does not feel the need to pause even for breathing.

There are several tracks on Phantom Antichrist that could be termed as anthems featuring lengthy guitar solos, chorus, better quality and more quantity of melody, and are sure to be crowd favorites during their live shows. I’d put From Flood Into Fire first on the list, followed by The Few The Proud The Broken and Victory Will Come. An unexpected Until Our Paths Cross Again happens just before the album’s closing. The song is surprisingly catchy, has an intro that’d remind one of Iron Maiden, and alternates between epic dreamy vocals and rapid riffing. Fan of thrash? – Don’t expect to be blown away by Phantom Antichrist and this stuff isn’t enough for you. Not a fan of thrash? – Still the guitar playing will lure you into repeating the songs again and again.

Phantom Antichrist, although more inclined towards heavy metal, is meant for an audience that is looking for a fully baked album which is explosive in it’s approach, is methodical yet brutal in it’s feel, contains adequate amounts of pain-killing solos and does not stick to organized thrash. Who would not be completely satisfied by Kreator‘s latest album? – A few of us who at a time believed that Kreator‘s aggression is unmatchable and their speed unbeatable. Phantom Antichrist is a proper decent effort by these thrash veterans, who are making an attempt to master the laws of heavy metal so they can pick and choose the proportion of elements they want to have in their music, and hence can continue to compose music. It would be interesting to watch them shed all the weight of expectations they seem to carry on their shoulders, and bring back the golden Kreator era’s original racket that would force us to wear their t-shirts and go on a killing spree. This planet requires a lot less human beings to begin with…

Rating : 3.5/5

About Itihas Shetty

Is a verbomaniac. And a human being. And that's where the problem begins. View all posts by Itihas Shetty

4 responses to “album review : Phantom Antichrist (2012) – Kreator

  • humansorrow

    I see a lot of people that say that ”Kreator lost their sound” or ”Phantom Antichrist is nowhere a thrash album.” First of all,Kreator never lost their sound. They might have lost some aggresion,but they gained melody instead of it and it soundss fucking awesome. Melodic Death Metal is my favorite genre and I’m not usually that big on Thrash,but this album is totally different. There’s not one filler song and the drumwork,solos,vocals…everything is perfect. I can easily consider this to be Kreator’s best album. Many people may pop up saying ”Oh fuck you,Hordes of Chaos was way better than this.” or refer to another album,and that’s fine. But in my opinion,this is their best album. A big bravo to everyone in the band.

    • Itihas Shetty

      Kreator is an institution of thrash, mate. No doubt about that. On ‘Phantom Antichrist’, Kreator sounds very comfortable and would appeal to maximum people, if not everybody. This band hasn’t produced a single repulsive album till now, and have been open to every inspiration coming their way, which is a good thing. But I wonder how it would’ve been had they retained every bit of their aggression. But that’s too much to ask for, considering a band, like a person, matures and brings forth those things to the table that is going on in their head which again reflects their experiences.

      And, by sound I mean the production that they carried on their early releases like ‘Endless Pain’ and ‘Pleasure to Kill’ which is obviously missed.

  • arun

    I’m a firm believer of rawness …….

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