Pavement Music, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The more I look back at what was the metal scene when I was a teenager, the more I realize just how much I didn't get into the scene nearly as much as I thought I had.

Thanks to new releases from some of the bands who were slugging it out some 15 years ago, I have since discovered joys from many of these bands - and I've been left to wonder why I never got into them when I was still a teenager. It does seem a little odd at times to be within sniffing distance of 30 and I'm given strange looks when I go up to the counter at the used record mart with handfuls of heavy metal tapes.

Well, let's add another name to the ever-growing list of bands I wasn't into then, but I could easily get into now: Germany's Kreator, whose latest album Endorama is an incredible, melodic metal force that demands to be reckoned with.

Now, I'm freely admitting ignorance about the band's back catalog, but when I listen to this disc, it reminds me of the times when bands like Metallica and Megadeth started to introduce melodies into their music, scaling back a bit on the balls-out approach to the music. For some bands, this was disastrous; for others, it took a while to click. For Kreator, it sounds like the perfect match.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Kreator - vocalist/guitarist Mikke Petrozza, guitarist Tommy Vetterli, bassist Christian Giesler and drummer Jurgen Reil - dare to present a darker side of heavy metal in a format that is so enthralling that you might not immediately grasp that Kreator, at heart, is a death metal band. (Memo to CDNow: what is this "explicit verson" nonsense, assuming I'm listening to the same disc you were? There's not a single obscenity on this album that I can find, and the imagery is hardly worth raising a stink over.)

Being from Grmany, you might expect to hear Kreator go for the jugular right off the bat. Instead, you're presented with "Golden Age," a song that has its heavy moments but is more melodic hard rock than anything. Petrozza and crew seem to realize that to get the attention of the listener, you don't always need to go for the power shredding and vocal chord destruction. No, they realized that the two key ingredients - solid songwriting and water-tight performances - are all the weaponry you need.

It's not that Kreator is against the heavy metal sound; tracks like "Shadowland," "Soul Eraser" and the title track prove this. But Kreator wisely does not forsake tunesmanship for flash, and they continue to uphold an excellence in songwriting that lasts throughout the course of this album.

And if you're not careful, you might forget to hear that Kreator still has their own views about religion and death, though they present things in a more intelligent fashion that makes you question exactly what view they're supporting. The interesting thing is that, at times, Kreator sound like they're taking both sides of the issue, like on "Entry". I will gladly give Kreator credit for making the listener think about this rather than hitting them over the head with a specific viewpoint as so many bands tend to do.

Endorama is a disc that transcends what you would consider the normal boundaries of heavy metal and takes the lstener on a trip you would never have expected. It's discs like this one that make the strongest case for metal's return to glory - as well as possibly earning the guarded respect from the genre's opponents who think it's all just screaming and power chording. Kreator never did make it to the "big leagues" in the '80s metal scene... but they're a leading candidate for this decade's resurgence of metal.

2000 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of the record label, and is used for information purposes only.

Rating: A

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pavement Music, and is used for informational purposes only.