Kreator - Phantom Antichrist

Phantom Antichrist
Nuclear Blast
Kreator, I guess, need very little introduction. As one of the most legendary and storied bands in the Thrash metal genre, they have soldiered on for countless years, rarely stagnating and always pushing the envelope. Their lyrical metaphors, since they morphed from a Sodom type of blackened horror themed bunch of youngsters to a more a mature and somewhat politically conscious entity, have always been sharp and radical and their overall sophistication and attention to detail has been very noticeable.
“Phantom Antichrist” continuous the tradition of great albums for the band, sounding great production wise and being very consistent with the bands output from the last decade especially, while managing not to sound too anachronistic. The riffing is a bit more traditional, than one would expect, which is very welcome, but the songs, don’t suffer the lack of melody, that a lot of trad thrash bands, are plagued from. The melody however doesn't water down the aggression of the material, as is the case for a lot of “mellow-death” poser bands (esp Swedish ones), but rather benefits the songs by making them more memorable. Also Mille’s vocals, are a lot less “treble” and whiny, than they were on say “Hordes...” something that had me worried, about his voice, possibly being shot, permanently. His usual vile spewing motor-mouth tone, is here again, as everybody has come to expect and love it.
“Mars Mantra” is a psychotic but also psychedelic sounding, eerie, soundtrack-like intro, that calmly yet surely introduces us to the title song, “Phantom Antichrist” which is a real Thrash Metal onslaught that bears all of the bands trademarks!
“Death To The World” is a vision of the end days/”apocalyptic vision” kinda of song and it’s standard vintage Kreator, for most part, save the rather modern sounding riff, that’s repeated often during it.
“From Flood Into Fire” is a bit more tribal and modern sounding, but still heavy as anything song, with a great chorus and a surprisingly interesting mellower part from the 3rd to the better part of the 4th minute, that includes a rather psychedelic solo as well as some trippy vocals as well.
“Civilisation Collapse” is inspired by the riots in Athens, Greece and it’s about how people are left with no option than to rebel against the dominant, despotic Capitalist system, that seeks to eradicate them, in order to secure its own existence. A revolution is inevitable, unless more socialist ideals prevail and this is just an aural “visualization” of that. The early indications of a tendency towards violent revolution, chaos and disorder, which is only natural means of restoring some sort of natural order. As every other system, society self regulates itself. Not always to the benefits of its members, but it does... the outcome is yet to be seen, but the fires, still burn....
Musically, the song again has all the typical Kreator trademarks, but has some more fierce, percussion, with some very punkish ideas, but also a very interesting galloping rhythm on the drums. Unlike the “Maiden” gallop, this sounds actually like a multitude of hooves, and I’m not sure, if this is some sort of a sample or just the way the drum skin, resonated, because of being tuned a little unusually, but it's cool as fuck! The guitar solo is sweet as well, even if it’s a little too chaotic!
“United in Hate” is of a more sing-along, gig-anthem type of song, that might disguise itself, for a few seconds with its acoustic solo, but as soon as it fires up, it just maws down everything in its path. Another chaotically melodic solo, makes a most welcome appearance and I’m pretty sure, that many pits will be organized, during this one!
“The Few, The Proud, The Broken” is decidedly slower and more melodic and a condemnation, of the militant, policing, authoritative, mentality, that objectifies human beings and turns them in tools of blind hate. Coppers, militants, Nazi’s and all kind of assholes, that pollute society with poisonous ideas, that have narced their minds.
“Your Heaven, My Hell” is a celebration of anti-religious sentiment. Atheism, logic, agnosticism against, religious hypocrisy, fanaticism and falsehood. Deities have become tools of mass control through the thorough utilization of metaphysical fear. The personification and embodiment of “perfection” in idols/gods, leaves the “believers” feeling “lesser” and more prone to allow, the concept of a “higher being” subjugate them and dictate them how to leave and act. The first half of the song has a distinctive gothic feel to it, but the rest, becomes substantially heavier.
“Victory Will Come” is a call to arms, to change things around us, by not allowing the enslavement of the human spirit. Eventually, victory WILL come and only death can triumph over us, but then we also, triumph over it, as our legacy remains. That’s why people in ancient times, cared about their post-humus fame. It’s not a matter of heaven or hell, it’s a matter, of making your mark and being remembered fondly, or becoming forgotten and fading into oblivion.
“Until Our Paths Cross Again” builds further into that notion, but just philosophizes and preaches the vanity of all things, but also the meaning of seizing the day in equal measures. A moralistic terror, pierces through it, but there’s also defiance of that and a glimmer of hope, maybe in the form of a metaphor. I don’t think the soul exists, but the common soul, the collective conscience certainly does survive, in a ceaseless cycle. It’s quite a thing to ponder on really, so it’s musical value is a little irrelevant – it’s a rather simple piece, but it manages to wrap a lot of messages and a lot of concepts into just a few verses, which is a great achievement, indeed!
The limited edition of the album features an alternative cover and also features a DVD in a separate digi, housed inside a double slipcase, along with the normal digi of the actual album, with its normal cover. The said DVD features an almost hourly gig, from Wacken, which combines footage from the 2008 and 2011 performances into a seamless stream. Very gratifying, in terms of it being a bonus, with only 2 quibbles. This is an under-lit night shot, so the producers have used sepia/red toning excessively in a bid to counter that. While it works, it kinda “kills” the life out of the material. Secondly, Mille’s voice, especially, during some of the 2008, performances is pretty shot. It’s brave, not to go back and try to doctor it, but yeah, it’s a little underwhelming... I guess. Well it is what it is, I guess and that's it! There’s also a documentary about the making of the album that’s a little shy of an hour. It’s interesting, to watch once, but I guess, I’m unlikely to watch it ever again! It’s pretty in-depth though and worth the trouble of including!
Kreator, have returned, with an album that meets the highest standards and that does their name, justice. It might not quite be “Coma of Souls”, but it sure gets, pretty damn close!