Disclaimer: You have not entered the wrong review when comparing the style, the rating and the reviewer. This is not a joke or a try at satire, what you are about to read is real!
I must say that the past year has been something of an epiphany for me in terms of Thrash Metal. Originally I could not stomach any kind of Thrash, unless it was mixed with Power or Death Metal. Then at one point I discovered EXODUS’ “Tempo Of The Damned”, followed by TESTAMENT’s “The Formation Of Damnation” and now KREATOR’s “Hordes Of Chaos”. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of Thrash still doesn’t give me anything whatsoever, but I now seem to be finding some stuff that actually gets through to me, mostly, though, the releases that seem to infuse more melody into the party than others.
So “Hordes Of Chaos” is KREATOR’s twelfth full studio album and with the exception of a few songs off “Endorama” (which admittedly is KREATOR’s least conventional album), I never found any liking to anything I’ve heard by them. I have no clue, where the idea came from to listening to “Hordes Of Chaos”, but I did and boy was I in for a surprise! Anyways, if you read my review and opinion about it, don’t count on it containing much information about how it stacks up against the KREATOR back catalogue both in terms of quality and style, but I figured that it would be interesting to put down my thoughts, as this is something so unusual for me...
Apparently the Germans took a rather unusual approach to the recording process in the times of Pro Tools, triggers and what not, by recording the whole thing more or less live, with a few solo overdubs, if that is true, then damn, did they do a good job, because the sound is powerful, organic and clear. Now on to the music... This still is obviously Thrash, but I did not remember KREATOR to have that many melodies amidst their heavy frenzy from the few songs that I had heard of them previously, but it was not even the melodies that made me continue to listen beyond the first few seconds, but the opening riff of the title track “Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite)”, which carves through the speakers with scalpel-like precision and the song itself also weaves this cool subtle melody into the frantic onslaught, where Mille also coins the catch phrase of this album in the chorus: “Everyone against everyone”. “Warcurse” ups the speed and Mille sounds seriously pissed off on this one, but again the melodies laced throughout the intense riffing and leads are what does the trick and sets the Westphalians apart from the countless young bands trying to reinvent an “Endless Pain” or “Pleasure To Kill” (or any of the other old Thrash classics of the Eighties).
Another important factor in this is the fact that KREATOR do not just thrash through the 38 and some odd minutes of this album, but actually vary the tempos and rhythms and keep things fresh and interesting throughout, especially in a time where it seems vogue to produce one straight thrashfest after the other. And also their ability to put intriguing details into the songs aids this endeavour, like the filigree lead in the chorus of “Escalation” or the calm spoken intro to “Amok Run” (which, btw, builds up into a frenetic Thrasher par excellence), while “Absolute Misanthropy” sounds more geared towards their older sound and is probably my least favourite track, but that is more than made up by “To The Afterborn”, because the chorus is probably the most melodic I’ve ever heard KREATOR and the guitar work on this one overall is great and intricate.
So, that’s it from my side, for everybody who wants to know, how “Hordes Of Chaos” stacks up within the Thrash context, Matt’s review will review shortly, so I’ll refer you to him. For me “Hordes Of Chaos” has turned out to be an excellent and varied Thrash album that shows maturity and a band that is not afraid to shake things up a little without losing track of where they came from or where they’re going, absolute thumbs up from me!
(Online December 24, 2008)