In my mind, this album is one of the gold standards for extremity in black, death, and thrash metal, and an album every bit as important towards the evolution of extreme metal as Slayer
’s opus Reign
. It’s true that the album is pretty damn sloppily played; Ventor goes almost out of time on the drum every now and then and Mille’s solos are incredibly sloppy in that Slayer
sense of the word. But frankly, the album wouldn’t nearly have the chaotic and incredibly violent impact that it does otherwise.
Basically, this is a death/thrash metal album from 1986, roughly fourty minutes – or fifty-six, depending on if you have the reissue or not – of carnage and brutality. While that might not sound special at first, it becomes apparent that it is when you consider the fact that there were only a bare handful of bands as extreme or more so at this point in time than Kreator
– only Slayer
, and (MAYBE) Repulsion
could hold a candle to what Kreator
played on this album. A good deal of the riffs was hugely influential on the early death metal groups; I wouldn’t doubt it if Death
, Morbid Angel
, and Nihilist
got a huge amount of inspiration from the blindingly fast single note tremolo riffs that are at play on here.
The dual vocal attack of Reil and Petrozza also goes down as one of the most savage vocal performances in all of metal history. The two are totally different tonally; Mille’s voice is a tattered, raspy shout/shriek, coming off as sharply vicious, whereas Ventor’s is a thicker, throatier bellow, a voice intended more towards crushing blows. The two do vocals on different tracks and it makes a lot of sense given what songs they vocally perform on – Ventor’s voice wouldn’t make any sense on the title track, whereas Mille’s wouldn’t on “Riot
The thing that makes this album truly great is that while it is extra fucking fast much of the time, it’s also those moments of speed combined with the absolutely crushing thrash breaks that makes many of the tracks on here very much worth listening to. Take the title track, for example – it goes hyperfast for two minutes, with a pair of sloppy-assed solos after the second chorus before going into one of the most savagely written riffs ever. That
riff is easily one of the most crushing things I’ve ever heard in a metal album to this day, and the fact that it comes out of fucking NOWHERE is what makes it so great. I could say the same thing about the extended instrumental break in the nearly seven minute long “The Pestilence
”, in which riff after vicious riff absolutely decimates the listener. Some of the songs go fast basically the entire way through – “Ripping Corpse
” and much of “Death
Is Your Saviour
” – but they manage to pull them off anyway.
The production is actually quite excellent, in that it’s very raw, very sharp, and pretty bass heavy, but the instruments manage to retain clarity in the mix – it manages to perfectly capture the violent interplay between the guitars, the drums – complete with tinny sounding toms – and the loud, thudding bass. It’s hardly perfect technically, but it perfectly capture the essence of the music.
Admittedly, the album is somewhat flawed. For one, I can see why people would be turned off by the sloppy musician-ship; they’re very talented, but one gets the feeling that Kreator
were barely keeping things together throughout most of the album’s running time, and while I personally find that engaging I could see why someone wouldn’t like it. I could also see why someone would call this a ‘samey’ album; while they all have their distinct riffs and songwriting ideas, they’re also a little self-similar in execution, ala Reign
. I prefer this album to RiB truthfully, but I can see how someone would compare the two in general execution.
But when all is said and done, not only is this an excellent album, it’s also important towards understanding some of the inspiration behind early death metal. It’s an excellent album, hell all of Kreator
’s first five are great… but this stands as their most violent, savage, and powerful efforts.
(the re-issue has the Flag of Hate
EP as bonus tracks. I’ll probably cover them in a later review because while they generally fit in with the flow of PtK proper, they’re also badass tunes that are also pretty distinctive and worth mentioning.)