Gods of Violence
German thrash giants Kreator have released their 14th studio album Gods of Violence, and to make it blunt: it is excellent. With so many big thrash bands that released records last year, Gods of Violence is easily at the top of that list with their contemporaries. With powerful, melodic, and death metal blends all throughout the album, each track is either enjoyably catchy, or a balls to the wall ripper. Thrash is a genre that traditionally has always tread that thin line of playful, while still tackling hefty subject matter. Kreator balances the use of some slight fanciful imagery with lyrics that take on real world issues; together these never come off out of place or ineffective, but help to build the overall core of the messages, and the instrumental energy behind them.
Title track “Gods of Violence” leans more towards this fantasy appeal, centering around war-like lyricism that is wrapped in ear splitting shredding. Songs like “World War Now” and “Totalitarian Terror” aid more to the footing in realism. In the former there are these great tempo shifts that settle for brief moments, only to let loose the flood gate of anger and speed. “Totalitarian Terror” has some of the most devastating drumming on this record, and is a relentless attack of shredding and speed that meets melody.
The composition of absolute soaring solos with darkening shreds is on point, creating tremendous and epic songs. Nothing ever becomes stale, shows signs of slowing down, or sounding similar to one another. “Army of Storms” opens with a strong rhythm, to then dropping in this uplifting melody. Playing off its title, the track has a great structure that settles, then rises, then settles, etc. In a sense its rhythm comes off like a storm, and this use of rhythm and structure through Gods of Violence is always fun and unique. “Death Becomes My Light” is the strongest example when the band uses slower elements, easing off the gas to let the epic energy collect itself for a bit longer. What mostly helps Kreator is that the music is always fun, the messages are to the point and hit home, and the instrumentals are always powerful.
With this album primarily being a political record, there are plenty of songs that let loose their anger and opposition towards fascism and totalitarianism. This being said, there are tracks that deal with the flip side of politics, in the sense of being together and equality. “Fallen Brother” instrumentally tips into somber waters, taking away from the constant speed and brings in a melodic and uplifting whirlwind of a chorus. “Side by Side” is a powerful title that cries unity and equality. This is a pure pro LGBTQ track that states that there will always be allies in the fight for love and peace. There is at once gentle and fierce passion within the instrumentals, all which makes for a terrific and emotional work.
Everyone in Kreator is at their best in Gods of Violence. Terrific composition that meets devastating speed with soaring melodies, and powerful lyricism make this one of the best thrash albums in a long time. The band has a strong balance of so many qualities that make for a superb and intense record. Always 100% engaging and thrilling, this is an album that deserves constant repeats throughout the year. With an already a strong catalogue of work behind them, Kreator have proven their skills and worth as valuable musicians, and have crafted one of their best works in Gods of Violence.