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KREATOR


KREATOR  "Violence Is Golden!"


Interview by Dr. Abner Mality

I'm a real late comer to Kreator! Certainly, I'm aware of the tremendous impact the German thrashers had on the underground metal scene of the 1980's...anybody who was there for that scene HAS to be aware!...but I was never what you would call a huge fan. I always preferred the Bay Area thrash sound of Metallica, Slayer and Exodus to the German version spearheaded by Kreator and Destruction. Believe it or not, I never even got "Pleasure to Kill", the record that many fine conneisseurs of thrash rate second only to Slayer's "Reign in Blood" as the best ever.

But better late than never! The latest Kreator release "Violent Revolution" is a real revelation, combining the aggression of old Kreator with a superb sense of musicianship and melody. The result is without doubt the band's best effort, as one listen to the likes of "All of the Same Blood", "Second Awakening" or "System Decay" will surely prove. So when I had the chance to speak to Mille Petrozza, the guiding mind behind Kreator, I jumped at it like a duck on a junebug (to use a little hillbilly-speak). Mille had a lot to say not only about Kreator, but about terrorism, his checkered past and the relationship between Zen and heavy metal!

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: It seems like "Violent Revolution" contains the best of all previous Kreator albums. Was there any rush of inspiration to write this material or was it something that you had planned for a long time?

MILLE PETROZZA: We didn't really plan on doing a record like this, it just came very naturally to us. Every time we write a record, we'd rather follow our instincts than come up with a master plan. Everything you hear on "Violent Revolution" is the result of what we really feel at this particular time. It's extremely natural.

WC: You experimented with a number of different styles on your previous records "Endorama" and "Outcast" that weren't what people thought of as typical Kreator. Was it necessary to travel that path to reach the destination of "Violent Revolution"?

MP: Yeah, it was very necessary. We took a lot of the experience we got from experimenting with more melodic styles and put it into "Violent Revolution". This record has combined the band's future with the band's past, in a way. We redefined our style by being inspired by our own history.

WC: The record is compared most often to "Coma of Souls". Was that past album your main jumping off point for "Violent Revolution"?

MP: Not really. There's definitely similarities to "Coma of Souls" but I would really say we took the vibe of the late 80's and early 90's and brought it forward to the year 2001. Like you said earlier, it's really a little bit of everything.

WC: Was it an easy album to write and record?

MP: Yeah, it came very easily and very naturally to us. The one thing we didn't want to do is experiment with electronic instruments this time. We got rid of stuff like keyboards and industrial loops. We wanted to write a record for a basic band...guitar, drums, bass. Go back to basics.

WC: Right now, it seems like there's a huge revival of all the 80's German thrash bands. It's not only you, but I got the new Sodom record which is awesome and the new Destruction is great as well. Do all you guys get together, have a beer and say let's show these young punks how it's done?

MP: (laughing) Not really! We do see each other but it's not like we hang out every day. We'll get together and talk now and then. Each individual band, even though we come from the same background, is doing their own thing at the moment. We're all unique and have characteristics of our own style.

WC: Any talk of all you guys playing together? That would be an awesome package.

MP: We are doing this in Europe. It will be Kreator, Sodom and Destruction together...

WC: Any chance of getting that over here?

MP: We're working on it!

WC: "Violent Revolution" was obviously written before the terrorist attacks in the US but there are a lot of lyrics on the album that can relate to that situation. There's some irony in that...

MP: It's weird, isn't it? The record was written way before the horrible things in New York happened. It's strange how reality and fiction overlap. It's a strange coincidence, that's for sure.

WC: People in the States are really jumpy right now. Is that the prevailing feeling over in Europe? Is there a lot of interest over there in this?

MP: Oh yeah, definitely. People over here are worried about what's going to happen next, especially since the anthrax thing.

WC: I got the package with your CD in it from Trenton, NJ, which is where anthrax was first found in a postal facility...

MP: Oh shit!

WC: Your CD packs a wallop but that might have been too much! Now looking at the lyrics on the title track, it seems to be the battle cry of somebody who is totally disenfranchised and who is striking out. In your mind, is any kind of violent revolution ever justified?

MP: Violent revolution doesn't necessarily have to be war or terrorism. It can be a drastic change. A change that is not peaceful. A revolution by its nature is not peaceful. If you really want to change something, you have to take action and jump into hot water. That's what "Violent Revolution" is all about. You need the energy and the strength to do something. You just can't sit around and wait for change.

WC: You take negative energy and turn it into something positive...

MP: Exactly!

WC: Your song "Mind on Fire" seems to be about a drastic change in someone's state of mind, a change in their consciousness. Is that based on personal experience?

MP: Yeah, in a way. It's about a drug experience. When I was younger, I used to do acid and mushrooms. The song is about the mental experiences I had then, about altered states of consciousness. It's just about being on drugs!

WC: Nothing more to it than that?

MP: Well, I leave a lot of room for interpretation. It's about an altered state of mind but there are other ways of reaching that state than drugs.

WC: You've discovered these other methods over the years?

MP: Of course. I'm not taking drugs any longer. If I would have stuck with that, I would have gone crazy, I guess. I'm not pro-drugs or anything, but if you want to have that experience, be careful. If you want to try drugs, that's one thing. But if you don't...you don't miss much. It's just one experience among many.

WC: And how does the experience of making music compare?

MP: It's way, way more precious. And also way healthier!

WC: People have a hard time understanding this but there's been times when I've been to real noisy thrash concerts and the sound just washes over you. You get carried away and it's actually almost like a New Age experience...

MP: Exactly ,exactly! Some people get the same experience by religion or even buying and consuming things. But the consumer experience is very hollow. It's nothing that lasts for long. Music lasts forever. Getting into music has been a spiritual thing for me, it's very hard to describe.

WC: It's a little like Zen, which says people's troubles are creating by grasping for things instead of ideas...

MP: Actually, Zen and metal are not that dissimilar. If people close their minds, they will never experience those sort of things. They have too many preconceptions.

WC: What's the inspiration for the song "Ghetto War"?

MP: My own youth, when I was 16 or 17 years old. I wasn't in a gang but I hung out with people who were in gangs.

WC: The lyrics weren't specific as to place or time.

MP: It can happen anywhere, in any big city. The main concept of the album is life in the big city. If you check out the lyrics closely, there's always some relation to life in the city.

WC: How's your new guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio fitting into the band?

MP: Very well. He's very harmonic, we get along very good. He's a good friend, which is always important, and he really likes the music we're playing. He identifies himself with Kreator very strongly now.

WC: You've always been the mentor of Kreator, the guiding force of the band. Do you see Sami or the other members taking a stronger part in the songwriting?

MP: (sighs) That's really hard to tell. Usually I write and arrange all the songs and play them to the other guys and then they bring their ideas into it. I think what we'll do in the future is stay on this path and maybe get more melodic but not like on "Endorama". It will be similar to "Violent Revolution".

WC: Do you ever get inspiration from younger bands in the scene?

MP: Yeah, I pick up music all the time. I've been listening to old 80's New Wave stuff and modern punk rock. I've been listening to a new metal band, System of a Down. They're a very cool band with a hardcore edge to their style. I was very ignorant about them because I thought they'd sound like Korn. But they're original and have a lot of things going on. They reminded me a little of old Dead Kennedys. I almost didn't check them out because I thought they'd be another Slipknot or Linkin Park.

WC: There seems to be a difference between the European and American scenes. Over here, MTV has a death grip on everything. That doesn't seem to be the case in Europe.

MP: I know what you mean. Over here, the structure of communication is different. I think the States are so big,it has an effect. We have a lot of great magazines over here, they make communication to the fans very easy. In the states, I don't know how many underground mags there are.

WC: Any Spinal Tap moments to share with us?

MP: (groans) It's hard to remember because I'm always trying to forget them, they're so embarassing. There's been so many ,especially when you're on the road. I'll have to write them down someday. Maybe a book! But no, there's no one particular incident that stands out.

WC: What was the last CD you got for your own enjoyment?

MP: It was either System of A Down's new one or the new Mission CD.

WC: What was the last show you went to?

MP: That was God Dethroned, a band from Holland.

WC: That's a band that sounds like they get a lot of influence from you...

MP: Yeah, yeah, they were playing only around the corner from where I live, so I checked 'em out.

WC: What would you say Kreator's legacy to the heavy metal world is?

MP: Ooooo! Honesty, maybe. We always try to be ourselves no matter what. We always follow our instincts and try to let things flow naturally. We are a natural metal band.

To contact the writer of this article, send your email to: drmality@wormwoodchronciles.com