Welcome to Kreator week! Kreator has a new album coming out this week and seeing as they are one of my favorite bands I thought it might be fun to explore the “darker” era of the band.

That’s right, that middle era after Coma of Souls and before Violent Revolution’s return to form (somewhat). The 4 albums that make up this period are generally reviled and even being such a fan of the band myself, have not delved into these albums much. Are they as bad as people say? Could be. Maybe it’ll give us a greater appreciation for the new album. Either way, I’m going to be reviewing them all this week so buckle the fuck up.

If you’re not familiar with Kreator and their balls to the wall Teutonic thrash nastiness, stop now and go get some fucking Kreator. Start at the beginning. You need to hear Kreator. Now as I mentioned, Kreator went through a stylistic change in the 90’s, experimenting with different types of metal stylings. Renewal is the album people point to as the first contain these changes in sound. Although their sound has steadily progressed from the first album until the previous Coma of Souls, Renewal is the first big departure and it’s evident right from the get go. Despite the slower, more chugging sounds of the guitar, Mille’s vocals are way less nasty. He’s almost at a different register. His raspy growl is still there but it sounds tonally different. Like he’s going lower or something. It’s glaringly noticeable.

And that’s kind of the whole tone of the album. Everything seems “darkened” up. While the thrash element isn’t entirely gone, it’s pushed to the back in favor of a more, methodical, mechanical, even industrial sound. Industrial not so much as Skinny Puppy but more like it was recorded in a fucking factory, although some light industrial music elements do pop in here and there. The whole thing is just bleak, which isn’t unusual for Kreator but instead of a bleak outlook as to the operations and future of mankind, this one is more of a depressing, introspective bleakness.

I think this is a huge change in style for Kreator and I’ve read reviews saying this one is among their best. I can’t for the life of me see that logic, though I don’t think the album is bad at all, just way different for Kreator. I’m sure the changing landscape of extreme metal and the music industry scared a lot of bands and I can hear Kreator trying to shift with the times. It’s not as big a let down as some bands would be in the 90’s (cough Metallica cough) but it’s definitely in a different place. This album is probably more for the established Kreator fan, I wouldn’t recommend jumping in to the band with this one, but if you, like me, have been avoiding this middle era, it’s worth checking out.

Side note: the cover artwork was done by the amazing Dave McKean, who’s worked on some classic comic book series like Hellblazer and Sandman, amongst so many.