Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
Since Kreator’s return from their foray into things slightly less brutal with 2001’s Violent Revolution, we’ve seen a very good, albeit spotty album (Violent Revolution), an amazing album (2009’s Hordes Of Chaos), and a terrible horrible no-good very-bad album (2005’s Enemy Of God, although the title track may very well be my single favorite Kreator song). After hearing “Phantom Antichrist” as the album teaser, I was cautiously optimistic. Enemy Of God made me wary of all things Mille, but I had hopes that maybe, just maaaybe, we’d get another Hordes Of Chaos. Well, not quite, but what we have is something between the good-but-not-quite of Violent Revolution and the sheer badassery of Hordes Of Chaos.
Phantom Antichrist is bookended with the best 2 tracks on either end (“Phantom Antichrist,” “Death To The World,” “Victory Will Come,” and “Until Our Paths Cross Again”), and the middle filler being exactly that. There’s an old saying that if you add a teaspoon of wine to a barrel of sewage, you get a barrel of sewage, and if you add a teaspoon of sewage to a barrel of wine, you get a barrel of sewage. That pretty much sums up “From Flood Into Fire,” “Civilization Collapse,” and “United In Hate.” “From Flood Into Fire” sounds like Mille Petrozza got his order at Riffs ‘R’ Us mixed up with Jon Schaffer’s. It’s almost a Kreat-Earth song, with the overuse of a choral chorus and a bit too much melodic guitar lead. However, the first solo and bridge, and the third solo are to die for (your teaspoon of wine), so all is not lost here, and the bridge might be my favorite moment on the album!
“Civilization Collapse” and “United In Hate” are totally badass, other than their choruses are something from one of the Something Wicked albums’ scrap heaps. Lyrically, one would think they’re going to be a highlight of the album (“There will be darkness/There will be blood tonight/Now let the riots begin/Convulsed by protest/At civilization collapse!”), but they fall flat musically. Everything else is there: phenomenal riffage, great drumming, and very Mille-like vocals, but the choruses almost kill the entire song! (Your teaspoon of sewage.)
“The Few, The Proud, The Broken” and “Your Heaven, My Hell” are both throwaways that would be welcomed in the bowels of Enemy Of God. Let’s forget these even exist, mmkay?
“Mars Mantra” serves as the intro to the title track, and the album opens with one hell of a bang. “Phantom Antichrist” is just as furious as every other “current” Kreator title track, and it catchy as hell. Sure, the chorus goes into a bit of a breakdown/half-time bit, but it’s a short, 4-bar chorus (“PHANTOM! ANTICHRIST!”), so it serves as a “pump up” rather than as a “buzz kill” like in the middle tracks. “Death To The World” is the best song on the album, loaded with riffs. The feel changes from the verse, break, and chorus going from straight to half to double time are killer, and this will definitely be a concert staple. After all, how can you not want to chant “DEATH TO THE WORLD!” while in the middle of a mosh pit? Coward.
“Victory Will Come” is a bit more melodic than “Death To The World,” but is still thrashy. The closer, “Until Our Paths Cross Again” is a little weird for a thrash epic. It’s almost like Kreator’s spin on Deep Purple’s “Child In Time” (condensed into 6 minutes), with the soft opening and sudden eruption into mad riff-fest, and then wrapping up with a reprise of the opening.
I’m not too big on Sami Yli-Sirinö’s soloing, but Mille’s riffs are the focal point of the album, and they don’t really hurt the music. They’re a bit repetitive, so it’s more of hearing the same licks in every solo rather than listening to CC Deville crash and burn mid-song. The production is also crisp, and exactly what you’d expect from a top-tier thrash titan.
Kylie’s Rating: 4 out of 5