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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