It's been an amazing thing to follow this German thrash institution for over 20 years now, watching them burst on the scene in the mid-80's with their brand of raw, yet powerful extreme metal, to their hit and miss years in the 90's, up to their pinnacle Enemy of God a few years back. All told, Kreator has delivered plenty of classic material, cementing their position as one of the legends of the genre. Enemy of God though was a monster release, and many predicted it would be pretty tough to top. Here we are in early 2009, and Hordes of Chaos is the first major metal release of the year, six years in the making for this German juggernaut. So how does it stack up against their more recent releases?
Well, guitarist/vocalist Mille Petrozza is still shouting and screaming about war, violence, religion, and politics as always (some things never change I guess), but there seems to be a greater emphasis on melody here, as well as an abundance of tasty, acrobatic guitar solos amidst all the pummeling thrash arrangements. "Escalation" features no shortage of complex riffery and blinding leads, Petrozza's angry bark still delivering the goods, and "Amok Run" even sees some clean vocals at the outset, yet make no mistake about it, this one is another thrash monster, Ventor slamming into his drum kit like a man possessed with raging riffs flying all over the place and Petrozza's venemous screams. Plenty of memorable, fist pumping thrash anthems here that will stick in your head for days, such as the title track, "Destroy What Destroys You", "Absolute Misanthropy" (which has a certain Slayer-ish feel to it), and the catchy "To the Afterborn". Gotta also love the wild closer "Demon Prince", complete with raging whammy bar solos, beefy riffs, and another addictive chorus sure to attach itself to your brain for the long haul.
Though Hordes of Chaos doesn't quite match the overall brutality of Enemy of God, it's safe to say that this one is easily more melodic, more polished, and more musical, Kreator upping the anti as far as the guitar musicianship is concerned, creating a collection of thrash anthems that are sure to become staples in the Kreator discography. It's taken them 20 years, but Kreator have finally settled into their role as one of the leaders of thrash metal alongside Megadeth, Exodus, Slayer, and Metallica, and quite possibly their output is eclipsing their peers. Highly recommended, and one of 2009's early gems.
1. Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)
4. Amok Run
5. Destroy What Destroys You
6. Radical Resistance
7. Absolute Misanthropy
8. To the Afterborn
9. Corpses of Liberty
10. Demon Prince