Kreator- Phantom Antichrist
June 5th, 2012
Being 100% honest, going into this I didn’t know what to expect. Growing up, I was more exposed to the Bay Area thrash bands and almost completely ignored the Teutonic wave of thrash all together. I knew several songs, but I never really accepted it and welcomed it into my life just like so many well wishing Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, if there ever was an album to turn you around, this Phantom Antichrist would be it. I now repent for my ill-gotten sins. And though I know I’ll get tonnes of flack for not giving Agent Orange all the credit for everything after 1989, every era deserves a new king to be crowned and this is definitely it. With Phantom Antichrist, Kreator have succeeded in not just amazing myself, but the rest of the metal community with such stellar work. In my eyes, this album is the new masterpiece to aim for as far as modern thrash is concerned.
From end to end this album pounds like pornstar after a forced bout with celibacy. The unrelenting pace of the double bass and the hammering of the guitars work so beautifully that it’ll make most metalheads cry. The guitar solos are a thing of such beauty that renaissance artists could only dream about them as they fiddled away on their milk carton ukuleles. While there are many typical 200kmph thrash songs on the album, Phantom Antichrist sets itself apart from its compatriots by often slowing down, taking a breather and then building back up to a fever pitch. This helps the album from becoming too monotonous, and too dried out for its own good. Lyrically, Phantom Antichrist touches on themes of apocalypse and extreme annihilation which in the end cautions you to enjoy life before it’s swept away. Think of a modern day Jugulator. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not one for concept albums; usually what happens is the songs become overtly elaborate in order to satisfy the prog metal crowd and we’re left with a boring ass album that you only feel like listening to twice a year. Luckily, such is not the case with Phantom Antichrist
Also, I’m a sucker for long intros, especially at the beginning of albums. Usually (but not always), it signifies the coming of something big. Whether or not it’s used as a story device, it just plain rocks. Ten seconds in and we’re already earning points. Then the bomb drops and the ten tonne Teutonic hydrogen bomb explodes and shoots helicopter blades as shrapnel, and decapitates any and all charred corpses not knocked down by the initial blast. Exploding out of the gate the title track “Phantom Antichrist” rocks for every second that it’s playing, same as the next track and the one after that. The sheer quality of the song writing is amazing; there simply is no such thing as filler on this album, every song is killer. The choruses have a real flavour to them and are easily memorable. It’s easily evident that Kreator themselves spent time on this very aspect. Also worthy of noting is the Gothenburg sound that they picked up in the mid 2000s makes a slight return here. There’s parts of the album where it sounds as if it had been infused with In Flames and Kamelot. Two things I definitely wasn’t expecting . What results is a very modern and evolved thrash sound, not something that’s permanently stuck in the 80’s. Though there’s nothing wrong with the 80’s. So, while there is no point in me doing a song by song review, I ask, nay, implore you to check out the album, it is more than worth it.
Personally, I can’t stop listening to this album. While I usually pitch the albums after I review them, I can see this easily becoming one of my new favourites, finding its way into my playlist. Don’t miss out on this.