Overall Score: 8/10 Classic Thrashing: 9/10 Surprises: 7/10 Artwork: 9/10 Pros: Kreator are still thrashing, still relevant and still capable of melting your face! Cons: You can't slate a band willing to quarantine for a week to play one show for us!
Hate Über Alles marks the return of Teutonic thrash metal’s staunchest defenders of the faith; KREATOR. This is album number 15, for those who aren’t keeping count, and it’s jam-packed with all the typical skull-crushing anthems we expect from Mille Petrozza and his crew. There may just be a few surprises along the way too.
After a brief flirtation with some acoustic Spaghetti Western style intro-music, we are hit with several hard and heavy numbers straight out of KREATOR’s classic cupboard. The title-track features a typical song structure from the Germans; repeat “Hate Über Alles” several times, whack in a face-ripper of a guitar solo and then start screaming the chorus-line over again. It’s a simple formula that KREATOR have stuck with throughout their career and it still works a treat.
Killer Of Jesus follows in a more frantic fashion with some speedy riffing and Mille sounding particularly venomous, while Crush The Tyrants slows down to a deliberate groove-laden stomp. So far so good… KREATOR have delivered the goods like only they can. Strongest Of The Strong is perhaps the icing on the cake for any lover of all things Teutonic thrash. Soaring guitar lines with a lovely crunchy riff, that aforementioned barking of the chorus-line and all delivered with colossal power, this is what we crave from KREATOR.
It’s not just the music that is impressive. For the vinyl lovers, this album has some luscious artwork too. The album cover itself is fantastic but when you see the full tryptic on a big gatefold cover, it is simply stunning. Eliran Kantor is fast becoming the modern-day Ed Repka when it comes to heavy metal artistry. Having recently worked with VENOM PRISON, TESTAMENT and SOULFLY to name just a few, his artwork is becoming a must-have for new heavy albums. This particular creation is some piece of work, combining themes from Hate Über Alles with cleverly intertwined references from previous KREATOR albums, it’s one of those covers you can sit and stare at endlessly.
If it’s a musical curve-ball you are after, then that would be where Midnight Sun comes in. It all starts in familiar territory with some blistering fretboard work from Sami Yli-Sirnio, but fast-forward to the chorus and we have some female vocals courtesy of fellow German, Sofia Portanet. It’s certainly something different from Kreator and Sofia’s haunting vocals are the perfect opposition to Mille‘s brutal thrash roar.
Of course, it’s not the first time KREATOR have strayed from their well-trodden path. The recently re-issued Endorama (2021) was a stab towards the melodic side while the mid-nineties clatter of Cause For Conflict (1995) was an obvious acknowledgement of the Roadrunner Records heavy-hitters of the time. Midnight Sun may not be a departure on the scale of those two albums, but it certainly gives a new dimension to this release and perhaps adds a little variation to what is a top quality album, but one that could fall victim of being a little predictable without added little flourishes like this.
Become Immortal has a little addition of some IRON MAIDEN: Heaven Can Wait style “Wow-wows” in there to break thing up once again, where as Conquer And Destroy does exactly what it says on the tin. So the boundaries are being pushed gently, but we’re not going off on any mad tangents here; first and foremost, this is a classic leaning thrash album.
KREATOR haven’t just turned out yet another KREATOR album here. With Hate Über Alles, there’s been considerable effort to get the balances of classic and new just right. What more can we expect from a band who went into quarantine for a week last August just so they could headline Bloodstock Festival and bring us the show we wanted? These guys are still ruling… have no doubt about it. Long may the Flag of Hate fly high!
Hate Über Alles is available now via Nuclear Blast Records
For more information on KREATOR, like their official page on Facebook.