After the band had been returning to Thrash with their 95 album "Cause For Conflict", two years later they took another turn. As Thrash Metal had not been as alive as years before, this step was not really surprising or unusual, even though I would not have expected it from KREATOR.
To outline "Outcast" with a few words, it is very dark and mystic. In the strong opener "Leave The World" the band reduces the tempo a lot, compared to the songs of "Cause For Conflict". But still the track is heavy. Where before speed was responsible for the brutality, we now get it through hammer hard mid tempo riffs and an intense, powerful voice. Best proof for that is the great second song "Phobia". Especially live it is a hammer, I could hear and see that myself on the last tour.
Then we get the first real surprises. The hypnotic "Forever" and the dark steamroller "Black Sunrise" show a completely different and unknown side of KREATOR. On "Black Sunrise" Mille shows even some of his clean vocals. This is no longer Thrash, but incredibly intensive and catchy Dark Metal. Not all will agree with me, but what the guys offer us here is really impressive. The following "Nonconformist" cannot fully keep up with that, sounds a bit like a leftover of the writing sessions for "Cause For Conflict".
The revenge song (read the lyrics) "Enemy Unseen" is 100% top again. The title track is the next highlight on the album, going more into the direction of "Black Sunrise". Mille shouts out his pent up anger. If you ask me so far, pure variety. And it continues like that with "Stronger Than Before", "Ruin Of Life" and "What Ever It May Take". All of them in the faster mid tempo range, all good. And the last three songs don't let down anymore either. The last track "A Better Tomorrow" even is another real dark killer!
Everybody can tell me whatever he wants. "Outcast" is a really great album! The die hard KREATOR fans of their early days will heavily disagree, because they feel that they and Thrash have been betrayed, but what the hell? With "Outcast" KREATOR just grew and have delivered a very good, variable, accessible and unusually dark album. Yes, I am happy, too, that they are back to Thrash, but with this album KREATOR have proven that they are able to do something different, too. A big praise also for the great sound and Mille for his really interesting and intelligent lyrics.
Check out tips: "Phobia", "Enemy Unseen", "Outcast"... (Online March 8, 2003)