Hordes Of Chaos
posted on 1/2009 By:
Hetfield's shopping at Armani in his flip-flops and plaid shorts, Lars is hawking paint-by-numbers "art" for millions of dollars, Mustaine is holy rolling his way to the right wing, and a whole slew of other European and US legends of yore are muscling every last fiber of strength to release sub-par thrash metal records (names withheld to minimize flaming) during a time when you can't seem to throw a rock without hitting a third-tier thrash revival band in the head. And all the while, Mille and the boys have been (not so) quietly releasing very high quality European melodic thrash metal with absolutely no signs of slowing down. That's nearly 25years of playing pedal-to-thrash-metal, folks, give or take an Endorama or two. Some might argue this genre is best left to the angry youth, but by God, Mille's still pissed as a drunken hornet, and Hordes of Chaos is testament to exactly that.
Admittedly, there've been some stumbling blocks along the way for this longstanding German troupe. I've personally ducked in and out of the Kreator timeline a number of times: out shortly after 89's excellent Extreme Aggression; back in for the utterly weird Renewal; ran the other direction as fast as I could for Outcast and Endorama; but bounced right back in for 2001's triumphant Violent Revolution. Basically, we all have our favorites and our not-so-favorites, but I have a feeling this record will finally level the playing field.
Hordes of Chaos represents what I'd call a seamless connection between the more melodic Kreator of this decade and the raw-as-dog-balls Kreator of the early 90's. The key, ladies and gents, is the way this record was produced. This time around, the boys used a producer (Moses Schneider) who had the band simply play the songs live in the studio as the foundation for the recording, giving Hordes of Chaos a very "live and personal" feel to the songs. To quote Mille directly, "the new album is a 100% realistic reflection of Kreator's live qualities", and I must say, the pitch works. It works really, really well. Thrash is supposed to be dirty, raw and unforgiving, and I've never quite understood why so many bands in this genre (especially the noobs) shirk those qualities in favor of a production that spit shines everything into a bright, crisp and completely manufactured turd. Thrash in a live setting generally beats the shit outta thrash on record, except for those bands who know how to capture that live energy in the studio. Heed Mille, thrash bands, he's a very wise dude.
But it's obviously not just the production that's got me singing the HoC praises. Kreator has gotten back to the basics this time around. The songs are short, mean and mostly stripped of unneeded bells-and-whistles. As I mentioned, the melodic side of the coin is certainly still there -- especially "To the Afterborn", "Demon Prince" and portions of the title track -- but the bursts are mostly shorter and certainly don't stand in the way of the immensely vitriolic feel of the record. The album's midpoint -- "Destroy What Destroys You", "Radical Resistance" and the absolutely classic sounding "Absolute Misanthropy" -- is especially strong and spotlights another huge selling point for Hordes of Chaos: it's CATCHY as hell. This sumbitch is catchier than the bird flu in a cuckoo's nest tucked away in a submarine full of old people, and that's pretty bloody catchy. Each day will bring a new hook to your brain as these tunes begin to settle in, and before too long you'll be shouting things like "DIE LIKE JESUS CHRIIIIIST!!" "UNITE-TO-FIGHT, UNITE-TO-FIGHT!!" and "I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO DIIIIIIEEEE!!!" to people in parking lots as you cruise around with this record blaring from your speakers. And I'd advise you do just that, metal fans; this album is dying to be cranked at maximum capacity.
I could honestly babble on for another page about the strengths of this recording, but suffice to say it's easily the snappiest, most energetic, aggressive and catchy album Kreator have released since Extreme Aggression, at least for this reviewer. The only thing I'd like to see improved on in the future is a boost to Christian Giesler's bass playing. The entire band sounds incredible, once again, but Christian's fretplay ends up getting buried for much of the songs. Other than that, I'd call Hordes of Chaos an absolute must-buy for Kreator fans and thrash fans alike. And if this record is any indication of how 2009 will fare in terms of metal, we're in for one helluva year. Hail Kreator!! FUCKING HAIL KREATOR!
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