Album Review: Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Posted by Reggie
German thrashers, Kreator, have just released Phantom Antichrist – their 13th album since 1985. Though I lost touch with the band’s recordings for the better part of two decades, hearing Phantom Antichrist has greatly renewed my interest in back-purchasing some of their albums all the way back to 1992’s Coma of Souls…where I left off. I have no real explanation as to why I stopped looking for Kreator albums, but it just happened. I guess its Grunge’s fault. I have been hearing and reading a lot of hype about the new album and that is was a throwback to old-school Kreator. After I heard the self-titled single a few weeks ago, the album immediately became a must-buy. After double-digit listens, I have zero regret and establishing a new relationship with Kreator music is now a priority.
The intro, though nicely recorded, doesn’t really do the album justice. Mars Mantra is quite mellow and leads me to believe the next song will follow-up with some kind of rhythmic head-banging cadence. However, Phantom Antichrist is actually a pulse-pounding, mosh-pit inducing Thrash song. This song defines the very core of Thrash – double bass drum, catchy riffs, guitar solos, and head-banging breakouts. Petrozza’s vocals are as harsh as they have always been, yet still understandable which a bonus. Hearing the lyrics isn’t normally a priority for me, but when you can hear them it’s a bonus.
The album progresses nicely from the more brutal introduction in Phantom Antichrist to the less aggressive songs like From Flood Into Fire which begins with melodic guitars before developing into a mid-tempo song. The chorus is sung in unison and when the solos hit, the overall tune of the song picks up speed before returning to mid-tempo. The guitar work in this song is some of the best on the CD. It is one of the three songs on the CD over the 5-minute mark; the extra time being used up by guitar solos. It sort of reminds me of Be Still And Know off Machine Head’s Unto the Locust album.
Civilisation Collapse is on par with Phantom Antichrist in sheer viciousness. It takes almost a minute to get to that point, but once the full force of the song kicks in it just doesn’t let up. When the guitar playing is not at lightning speed riffage, it maintains a melodic pace that breaks up the break-neck speed of the song; definitely one of my favorite songs on the CD and perfect for a Thrash compilation or cardio workout CD mix.
The thing I like most about this album is that although it will encourage circle pits 10-times over, musically this is a very well-balanced Kreator album. Based on what I remember of the band 20-years ago, they were always fairly brutal with touches of European melody, but this album showcases a great deal of harmonious guitar work that is rhythmic, energetic, and pulse-pounding. This is a guitar-lovers album, no doubt about that. Every song has solos and some even have acoustic pieces here and there. Kreator takes their standard high-energy Thrash and injects it with a ton of melody; a very solid Thrash metal album – a contender for an end year spot on my best of list.