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It would be easy to be cynical about 'Live at the Pulse of Kapitulation', which is basically a rehash of 'Live in East Berlin' with a few extras, all given a bit of a polish for the 21st century. However, one should bare in mind a few things: first, most people don't own VHS players any more, and even those who do probably wore out their copies of 'Live in East Berlin' years ago; second, this material is well over two decades old at this point, which seems like a perfectly adequate gap to leave before a reissue; third, Kreator simply haven't been this good in a very long time, so a reminder of just how immense the 'Endless Pain' to 'Extreme Aggression' material really was, is a winner of an idea if you ask me.
Musically, this is flawless. Mille and pals churn out classic after classic, the sound razor-sharp and the performances - especially the blistering lead guitar of Frank Blackfire - spot on. Mille's vocals are harsh and abrasive, free of the breathy squawking he indulges so much in on every album since 'Violent Revolution'. The bass isn't particularly audible, but Ventor's drumming is as punchy and pulverising as ever. The production, too, is clear and beefy enough to comfortably stand up to modern standards.
Unfortunately, while this collection is a treat for the ears, it leaves the eyes somewhat defiled. The visuals, though clear, look cheap and the effects are amateurish (I loathe the use of any special effects in concert videos anyway). The camera is jittery at times; whether this is a deliberate attempt at capturing the raw atmosphere, or simply a case of incompetent cameramen, I don't know. I imagine it's the latter, though. If this had been released as a stand-alone live album, it'd probably score much higher.
The bonus material is a mixed bag. While the 'horror movie' is nothing but a series of naff music videos linked together by some equally-naff dramatic footage (we are mercifully spared any dialogue), the short documentary is a nice touch, giving us a snapshot of the scene in East Germany at the time of the show. The enthusiasm of the interviewees is infectious, though the absence of Kreator themselves is a bit of a let-down. On the plus side, Andy Sneap of Sabbat (who supported Kreator) does turn up for about 15 seconds to add nothing particularly noteworthy to the discussion.
If you enjoy modern Kreator, there's little incentive for you to splash out on 'At the Pulse of Kapitulation'; compared to 'Live Kreation', the picture quality on this DVD is inexcusable, and the bonus material is really little more than a minor distraction, which can almost certainly be found on youtube anyway. If, however, like me, you can't stand the Gothenburg-tinged sound of modern Kreator, with its predictably melodic riffing and Petrozza's squawky vocals, this DVD is as good as you're going to get. It presents Kreator as the raw, uncompromising and bestial thrash band they once were, at the height of their powers. Hell, the CD alone is probably worth the asking price!
Kreator have been thrashing around for some time now and this release is a testament retrospective. The fit-to-burst CD/DVD is an expanded re-release of the classic ‘Live in East Berlin’ tape from 1990 combined with the horror short ‘Hallucinative Comas’.
The CD, the live audio from the concert, contains a strong setlist with numbers that are still staples in the band’s live set today, namely ‘Flag of Hate’, ‘Extreme Aggression’ and ‘Pleasure to Kill’. The quality is commendable for a release from a vault long ago. The live atmosphere sharpens the music and intensifies the bloodshed, from the lacerating opener ‘Some Pain Will Last’ right to the classic ‘Tormentor’ closer. For some reason, there are actually only 14 tracks on the CD version, omitting the drum solo (for good reason) whereas it is featured on the DVD version.
The concert footage has been re-edited and upgraded all round, with legendary producer Andy Sneap mixing it in a clean 5.1 sound format. It utilizes experimental and varied camera angles interspersed with grainy shots and a raw feeling. Unfortunately, these stylistic features appear to be the footage’s downfall; frequently the shots appear amateur and very sketchy, the imperfections are bold, some shots are blurred and all the cameras seem indecisive as to what they should be focusing on, the biggest victim being the guitar solos of which are never focused on in any great or consistent detail. The drum solo is a fairly mediocre one and it is no great sin for its lack of appearance on the CD counterpart. Whilst Kreator’s stage presence is hardly brimming with epidemic charisma, the performance is verily austere and commanding. However, it seems a shame various portions of the audience are not thrashing madly.
This concert (Kreator playing with Sabbat, Coroner and Tankard) was one of the first metal shows in East Berlin since the Berlin Wall came down and die-hard metal fans packed the venue. The accompanying documentary is more of a history of the East Berlin metal scene from the eyes of fans and journalists of the time, rather than the history of Kreator. Still, this feature is definitely worth checking out for those even remotely interested. It is probably more useful than the concert footage itself.
The so-called ‘Horror Movie’ is a somewhat conceptual one, playing with visual aids rather than a clearly presented storyboard for twenty minutes. Every so often, a more archetypical music video of the band playing a track is substituted in. Although the film heralds little adequate and substantial suspense, there are a few images of gore and extra scenes absent from the original release because apparently “the censors just couldn’t stomach [them] back in the day” according to frontman Mille Petrozza. For those expecting a fully-fledged 'Cannibal Ferox' gore fest or even a compelling story, you will be severely disappointed.
Whilst it is a challenge to not fall in love with the great Kreator, this DVD/CD piece is far from essential and really should be for the avid collectors. The live CD is no doubt the best element followed by the mini documentary for reasons not so linked to Kreator. The rest of the material is far from tedious; it just feels like padding at its core and is unsuccessful at presenting anything new.
Originally written for www.soundshock.net
I’m honestly flattered when Kreator dishes out crucifying thrash, and I also think watching live DVDs are fun, so what would ever inhibit these two things from working together in an enjoyable fashion? Let’s make it easy for our slower readers: try mixing terrible performances, quality that pisses on your senses, bare-bone extras, and over two hours of wasted time into one shit-filled package that’ll make Kreator fans wish they never even considered coughing up money in the first place. Basically, this release sucks more than any live video I’ve seen, and there’s little doubt it shall ever be dethroned from that disgraceful position. Ten out of ten physicians agree: Kreator’s pulse during “At The Pulse of Kapitulation” is flatter than a pancake.
Once our attention is finally focused in, Kreator’s miserable show originally caught on the “Live in East Berlin” VHS shows exactly why it was, and still is, a mistake. For one, the audio and visual quality is vaguely mediocre, often times appearing foggy or lagging; now imagine such ugly features balancing an entire show for over seventy minutes. Also, where are the cameras? I can see three different perspectives at most – showing Jürgen Reil’s percussion, Mille Petrozza’s microphone, and an occasional audience shot – all bringing on the same scenes again and again. It’s like everything was caught with piss-poor equipment from the early 1990s. Oh wait…
When it comes to the overall energy of the performance, Kreator is soulless. All four members stand still like frozen statues with their heads lightly bobbing again and again until the show finally finishes. I know that’s quite a bold thing to say considering the concert’s legacy, but watching Jürgen Reil piss out the most uninspired drum solo I’ve ever seen was when his minimal passion crushed my (remaining) moral; everyone else follows his pathetic attitude like mindless zombies. They do, however, occasionally pitch curve balls by taking a few steps across stage every three songs or so, but still not soil-your-pants worthy like Kreator is known for. Is there anything that doesn’t suck? Watching Mille Petrozza speak to the audience, mainly because his German narration is an identical copy of his singing voice, and it’s kind of funny when you see how alike they are. But yea, it’s shit beside that.
Finally, we have the infamous “horror movie” entitled “Hallucinative Comas,” which sounds interesting, but I’m still left wondering what the fuck it is. Picture multiple music videos with Kreator (yea, ok!) and some bald douche bag glimpsing through gory pictures, and presto! You got “Hallucinative Comas!” After four songs of that shit, the antagonist (at least I think so) decides to slaughter a random babe with a hook while our German buddies still rock out in the background, making it the one piece of awesomeness in sight. Unfortunately, that little pocket glorifying random murder and boring thrash quickly dies within time, and soon enough, empty videos just keep on coming. I do think the title is fitting, mainly because REM cycles had raped my mind beyond measure when it finally finished. Thanks Kreator, for inducing one hallucinative (that’s not even a word, you twits) coma after another!
I find this set’s moniker rather humorous, because Kreator’s pulse slowly loses its spike from powerless performances, pseudo-films, and crappy extras not even worthy of dirt; it does, however, excel at collecting dust, and can also provide good blunt force if needed. When analyzing a DVD release, anyone can typically find something good, but “At The Pulse of Kapitulation” is a special case lacking substance in all areas, even when boldly attempting things like a horror movie; it’s really too bad. The white sheets haven been placed over Kreator’s disgraceful effort, and all I can do is suggest you avoid this pompous abomination like a horde of gremlins trucking toward your asshole.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com