"Hordes of Chaos"

(SPV 2009)Kreator - Hordes of Chaos

How long can one man stay angry? Well, in the case of Kreator founder/singer/guitarist Mille Petrozza, as long as effin' necessary. Since forming the thrash powerhouse in 1982, Petrozza has maintained a level of animosity unmatched by any of his peers; Slayer is more evil than pissed, Anthrax is plain goofy, and Dave Mustaine's vocals never really allow Megadeth to go beyond sounding mildly irritated. This has served Kreator well, as they've used all that piss and vinegar as a means to stay relevant for far longer than most band can claim. This is, of course, discounting the '90s, a period which saw Kreator go into an experimental phase, with questionable results. But since 2001's "Violent Revolution," the band has brought the old-school style pain. That trend continues with their latest, "Hordes of Chaos."

The title track opens the album with triumphant scales before twisting into a riff reminiscent of Metallica's "Blackened," and from there the rip-fest is on. Kreator tear through many of the tropes familiar to their brand of thrash, but have the skill and experience to make it more menacing, melodic, and catchier than most other bearers of the thrash torch. The overriding theme of the album is war and conflict, but while there's scorched earth and machine gunnery galore, there is also an undeniable sense of victory running throughout; this shines through most clearly on the truly rousing choruses in songs like "Absolute Misanthropy" and "Amok Run." Petrozza turns in another typically great vocal performance, in his gnarled yet clearly distinguishable style. And while some of his lyrics come across as stilted or even downright silly, that really only adds to Kreator's signature sound.

It's great that Kreator are back to a place where we can expect some reasonably awesome music every time they release a new album. Here's a band that never broke up, never softened up, and aside from a slight hiccup, has been making top quality thrash for over two decades. "Hordes of Chaos" is a worthy addition to a discography that includes classics like "Pleasure to Kill" and "Terrible Certainty." Let's hope Petrozza doesn't mellow out anytime soon.


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