Being one of the stalwarts of thrash metal brings with it a legion of die hard heavy metal fans from all over the world. Despite Kreator having a penchant for doing multiple tours for each album they put out, I have always been preoccupied with other ventures, causing me to constantly miss out on one of my favorite thrash bands. However, there is something far more special than just being a fan attending the gig, and that is when you actually get to sit down and have a chat with one of them, like guitarist and vocalist Mille Petrozza, for example. Mr. Petrozza was nice enough to grant me a short sit-down with him before the group would unleash their “Extreme Aggression” (see what I did there?) upon the audience at the Newport Music Hall on September 14th.
MB: “Phantom Antichrist” makes your 13th studio album. After doing this for so long, where does the band continue to find the inspiration to write thrash?
Mille Petrozza: We are touring a lot, but we take time off in between, which is the most important part of writing music, to become creative again. If you are always on the road and you try to write in this environment, like in the back of the bus like some bands do, the music suffers, because you are always distracted by something else. Going home and taking a break to live your life, then coming back to music gives you the inspiration to continue, and to come up with something excited. We are on tour a lot, usually doing two U.S. and one whole world tour per album, which takes us a couple years. After that we would take a break and start writing for about half a year, then go into the studio. We need at least three to four years for a new album. “Hordes Of Chaos” came out almost four years ago, so that gives us enough time to come up with new and exciting music. We want to keep it exciting or else we would lose interest. If we don’t like what we are doing, and writing it just to go out on the road, then that would be wrong.
MB: “Hordes Of Chaos” debuted on the Billboard Charts here in the U.S., and any metal band like yourselves to do that is pretty crazy. How has the reception of “Phantom Antichrist” been worldwide?
Mille: I would like to be on those Billboard charts again! It has been received really well in Germany, debuting in the top 5 on the official German charts, but that’s not what matters. It just shows you that the metal audience is really faithful to the bands, and they go out and buy the record, which is really important these days. Some people tend to think that music is for free and that bands don’t need the money they make when the fans buy the records, but it’s the opposite… it’s not like the record company is making the money, it’s the band. We need the record company to advertise the band. So, it’s great to see that the metal audience is so faithful when it comes to supporting bands. It helps us in today’s music climate to really launch us into the official charts with all the pop acts out there. It really shows you that a lot of metal heads go out the day it is released and buys the record, which a lot of pop fans won’t do.
MB: You guys do offer a very unique product, especially in terms of the thrash that you are playing. Plus, you guys are on tour with Accept, which is one of those big and longtime players, as well as having Swallow the Sun here. Accept and Kreator makes sense, but then Swallow the Sun comes out of nowhere and sticks out like a sore thumb, but in a good way. How did it come about to bring them on the tour?
Mille: I think they are a great band. They start out the evening really slow and doomy, then Accept comes on and goes a little bit faster, then we come on and destroy the place [laughs]. I know what you mean, that it isn’t total thrash and extreme on one bill, but I like it that way. It gives us a mixed audience and it seems they all dig the three bands, so it is really cool, especially to see some fans who came in skeptical of one of the bands, then going away being a fan of them.
MB: Kreator has always been a politically and socially aware band, and looking at the way the world is today being in constant chaos, does the group look at what you have to say today is of anymore importance than it was in the past?
Mille: There is a thin line between preaching in the lyrics and just making people aware. For us, we try to make lyrics that go well with the music, but on the other hand, I try to get my point across about what I feel with things that are happening here. I know the political climate here in America and the rest of the world is, like you said, very chaotic, very unpredictable, everyone is afraid no terrorist attacks. We have a hard time even coming to the United States just because of all these security checks. When you get here you can see that a lot of people disagree about politics, and I think politics in general has to be renewed somehow. It is not going to work like it is now for much longer. I don’t have a solution of what to do, but I know that it can’t stay like this. We are constantly being lied to when it comes to choosing the lesser of two evils. A lot of those politicians are people that I don’t trust and have nothing to say, as well as getting the impression that they don’t know what they are talking about most of the time. It’s all bullshit [laughs].
MB: Believe me, I bet the rest of the world is with you on that. I want to focus on your home country, Germany, real quick. Obviously Germany is a gigantic heavy metal haven with some great bands and fans. Have you gotten a chance to look at any younger and up-and-coming talent from there?
Mille: Oh yeah, there’s a couple of them. There is this band I did guest vocals for on called Caliban. They have been around for a little bit, but are younger guys. They play really heavy stuff with German lyrics. There are always new bands popping up and some of them are really, really good. The scene is, like you said, very healthy, so I would recommend them.
MB: Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans here and across the world?
Mille: Thanks for the support, and we are going to be out on tour for a while, so come out and see us!