Kreator — Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast)

It was 1982 and the German town of Essen had never seen anything quite like it.

Metal Militia was the brainchild of Miland ‘Mille’ Petrozza.

And the furiously fast and unashamedly fierce riffmeisters were on a mission to make brains melt.

Two years down the line — via brief but equally brutal incarnations as Tyrant and Tormentor — Petrozza emerged as the face of Kreator.

And a metal legend was born.

So what’s happened since?

Well, 37 years after Kreator dropped cult debut Endless Pain it’s remarkable how little Petrozza has diverted from the thrash metal path.

Hate Über Alles boasts all the hallmarks of classic Kreator.

There’s the familiar refusal to compromise.

The relentless procession of fret-melting riffs and wicked wordplay.

And those frequent blasts of ferocious heaviness that have punctuated Petrozza’s best work for four decades.

Pure, unsullied thrash metal is still the heartbeat of Hate Über Alles.

But Kreator’s 15th studio album doesn’t belong in the past…just skip to Demonic Future.

Visionary Arthur Rizk — the man behind Turnstile’s unique sound — helms this multi-layered body of work.

And the Philadelphia-based producer has managed to bring to the fore shades of Kreator hitherto under-appreciated and overlooked.

There’s volume, aggression and blunt anger.

There’s Petrozza’s spitting, sparky delivery.

And there’s a savage sense of unrelenting cynicism.

But Hate Über Alles’ slick production often gambles with the perception of Kreator as trad thrash titans.

It’s a Rizk well worth taking.

Kreator Conquer And Destroy On Album Number 15

The potentially troublesome juxtaposition of Petrozza’s ageing — some would argue, ageless — growl with Rizk’s polished twiddling works a treat.

If one thing has changed since the early 80s it’s the voice behind Kreator’s greatest triumphs.

By rights Petrozza shouldn’t be in any position to belt out such wickedly hostile metal with such class and consistency four decades down the line.

But with typical German efficiency, the charismatic 54-year-old has found a way to remain at the top of his game and at the top of his range.

Tonally, Hate Über Alles occasionally lacks the raw, rapid-fire vocal assault so prevalent on Pleasure To Kill or Coma Of Souls.

Yet, as a singer, Petrozza probably sounds even more accomplished and confident than he did during Kreator’s initial decade of destruction.

The classically bleak Killer Of Jesus is a triumphant case in point.

It’s almost as if Petrozza is on a mission to intonate every last consonant with deliberately robust and commanding clarity.

The trad metal platform on which Conquer And Destroy is so carefully constructed (check out the Maiden-style intro and blistering solo) makes for an album highlight.

And the foreboding set closer Dying Planet has Rizk written all over it.

Echoes of Rage For Order-era Queensrÿche and early 90s Death Angel pace the most progressive metal track here.

It’s a near seven-minute, mind-bending mash up of heavy music’s most innovative genres and sets the seal on a truly titanic return to form.