When Kreator first graced the cover of Bloodstock last summer, many people seemed surprised at how easily they conquered such a big opportunity. In reality, the Germans have been in imperious form throughout this century, and their stature and popularity have grown steadily as a result.
As this Bloodstock set has proven, Kreator is a serious heavyweight with a ridiculous number of unstoppable metal anthems. From the first seminal bursts of primitive chaos like Flag of hate and Pleasure to kill down to the sharp sophistication of recent crowd-pleasing products satan is real and 666 – World Divided, frontman Mille Petrozza has always been a great songwriter, with an intuitive sense of what works. The fact that he’s also one of the certified good guys in metal, albeit armed with a deathless scream that would cut through any stupor, is an added bonus.
With all of this in mind, Hate Uber Alles feels like a milestone, despite being Kreator’s 15th studio album. Well established as one of Europe’s biggest bands, the quartet could easily tread water and get away with it. But from the laugh-out-loud intensity of its title track, Hate Uber Alles absolutely screams his commitment to the cause and to the noble yet visceral art of heavy metal songwriting.
This title track is the perfect starting point. With its ferocious thrash approach and gargantuan screaming chorus, it’s a perfect encapsulation of Kreator’s timeless powers. Just in case anyone is unconvinced, killer of jesus (again, Mille gives great title) repeats the trick, delivering another exhilarating extreme metal assault with at least two colossal hooks.
Kreator is also in top form at mid-pace; both Crush the tyrants and The strongest of the strong strike a sublime balance between harsh heaviness and melodic finesse, with eternally underrated guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö delivering a particularly stunning solo on the latter. As if to prove just how malleable his band’s sound remains, Mille revels in old-school nostalgia on the Priest-like become immortalbefore delivering the mother of all thrash mini-symphonies on conquer and destroy. With ethereal, syncopated female vocals, tech-death precision and yet another giant chorus, Midnight Sun is an instant classic. Demonic future is every bit as sinister, wild, and clever as its title suggests.
Another sign that Kreator feels invincible, Mille’s clear vocals on the otherwise monstrous and haunting Pride comes before the fall are a sweet revelation. Finally, the edifying epic of dying planet tells us everything we need to know about how upset Mille is about the state of the world right now. Closer to symphonic black metal than traditional thrash, it’s the perfect, black conclusion to an album created in the midst of global chaos.
An intro, 10 really fantastic songs, absolutely nothing to fuck. They may have nothing to prove after nearly four decades of active duty, but Hate Uber Alles anyway proves it. When it comes to hitting the heavy metal nail on the head with maximum conviction, Kreator is firmly at the top of the list.