"Phantom Antichrist"

By Professor Jocko

I remember the first time I heard Kreator; it was 1985 where I was introduced to a guy named Jim. He looked like Jesus, but was a huge fan of satanic music such as Celtic Frost, Venom, Exodus and Slayer before they became a household name. He had a black inverted cross made from railroad ties in his living room, a goat skin with names signed in blood worshipping Satan. He had other various inverted crosses and pentagrams around his neck and scattered through his house.(Sounds like a typical politician--Cynical Mality) It was around this time that I really started to get into this type of music and the partying that went along with it. It was also here when I first heard Kreator’s “Endless Pain” and where I took a genuine interest in the darker side of music, and when “Pleasure to Kill” came out, I was hooked. These interests weren’t perhaps at the same level that Jim had taken it, but I was a fan and have been ever since, and still have my “Out of the Dark/Into the Light album as a reminder of those infamous days. Now on their 13th studio album, this German-based band has stood the test of time and are here to prove once again that they haven’t lost their edge with "Phantom Antichrist"; following only after three short years from the previous album, “Hordes of Chaos”.

This album seems to possess the initial qualities that drew me in to these guys over 25 years ago, which is just a continuous string of pure thrash. These kick-ass songs are a consistent and amazing display of what Kreator does best, and “Phantom Antichrist” is a perfect example of what makes thrash metal as powerful as it ever was. There are more tracks where the band seems to take more of a melodic approach with a stylistic feel that they meet with what makes them the epitome of balls-out music! I've always been one for intro pieces, and the Mars Mantra lead-in is the perfect overture to set the pace for the rest of the album. Several verses of the lyrics deal with political issues, such as in "Death to the World", which preaches in regards to how the human race is inevitably killing the Earth. The guitars really come to life in this particular track and overall in this album as well. The solos are very fluid and fit it in with each song perfectly, and although they might not be flashy, the overall sound  still has that classic Kreator sound; more specifically in tracks such as "From Flood to Fire" and "Civilization Collapse".

One track in particular where Kreator took a slightly different approach is with "United in Hate", where they begin with an acoustic guitar intro and then burst into battle with a gut-wrenching finish where the vocals, drums, bass and guitars all come together and tear your ears apart. "The Few, the Proud, the Broken", is perhaps where Petrozza sounds the best he has since the "Violent Revolution" album, which saw the band returning to their classic thrash metal style. I also appreciate the musical qualities of the song "Your Heaven, My Hell" where the opening riff is based in on a blues approach and reaches a pinnacle just as powerful as anything you would expect from Kreator. You can feel just an incredible power and angst from “Phantom Antichrist”, which in retrospect is something I didn't completely expect after "Hordes of Chaos". One of the things that astounds me about this album is that it doesn’t have to rely on overdubbed, overproduced, over synced studio frills to make it spectacular; the music speaks for itself, where the guitars have a deep, heavy rhythm that is complimented by Mille Petroza’s voice which has a riveting scratch that carries every song along very well through the chorus’ and versatile verses.