without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
As you have guessed correctly, dear metal brother or sister, the sound found in Kreator's seventh LP is quite similar to Slayer's release from one year before this one. And that is, modern thrash with hints of groove metal and, in this case, also some of the industrial components from the Germans previous material, Renewal. 1995's Cause for Conflict is an anomaly in the band's discography: It is their only Ventor-less release, replaced here by American drummer Joe Cangelosi, which sounds closer to Paul Bostaph in sound than to its German predecessor, one of the many comparisons I can think of between this and Slayer's also ill-reputed album from the mid-nineties. There are two small, under two-minute ragers in “Bomb Threat” and “Dogmatic”, akin to “Sex. Murder. Art.” and even the color palette of their covers are similar, both bands abandoning the often quite predominant red tones and opting for a cooler, darker feel.
But it is the production's work what makes this one sound like the younger and inferior brother of Divine Intervention, as both bands opted for a heavier, lower-end sound, perhaps to compete with the groove metal scene and the more underground death metal appearing at both sides of the Atlantic. This is most noticeably in the drums mixing, which are louder than on previous albums, with emphasis on the dry pummeling of the double bass drum, along with muscular throbbing sound of the bass guitar, though forgetting a bit about the cymbals and plates. The guitars also deliver quite the punch, but Mille's vocals, though aggressive as usual, end up a bit low in the mix and sound quite compressed, a loss of balance that ultimately renders the sound of this album unconvincing and imperfect. And that is of course, aside from the totally unspectacular compositions. The riffs range from fast palm mutes to slow groovy chugs, but none of that variety helps to conjure something worthy of bearing Kreator's name on it. Speesy's bass sometimes follows the guitar lines, but other times ventures a bit outside of the box, and with an interesting sound it’s somewhat of a highlight. Cangelosi employs some virulent tom fills and pulverizing double bass work, and his performance is also one of the brightest here, but given the poor choice in riffs, his power is lost amidst the grey. And the solos are particularly weak for a Kreator release.
Though I wouldn't include any of the twelve tunes here in a hypothetical Kreator Best Of, some of my preferred are “Catholic Despot”, which features punishing drum work by Cangelosi, and Kerry King-esque soloing, and its following companion “Progressive Proletarians”, in which Kreator's old demonic form somewhat materializes again, though not entirely. I even feel Mille's voice almost sounding like 80s' Mille. Track number four, the slower “Crisis of Disorder” also has its merits with an eerie melody somewhere between Slayer and Killing Joke, some stops and go and a more worked solo (by this album standards). Though the song's potential is not fully reached, its middle section becoming again a generic mess of this albums uninspiring elements, I can almost picture it appearing as an Enemy of God bonus track, imagining it with that album's superior production values. The two shorter tracks are the sweetest, but suffer the Reign in Blood disease and are too goddamn short for their own good. I was curious and hopeful about the almost 12-minute closer, “Isolation”, expecting Kreator to go nuts and experiment a lot, but the truth is that the slow paced song's actual length is just 4 minutes. Again, this reminds me of 90s Slayer, in particular their tune “Gemini” from Undisputed Attitude, but boring. I'll save you 4 minutes and 40 seconds of your time, which is the silence inserted into the track, after which you'll get a reminding 3:15 of animal slaughterhouse noises that will end this record playing time. On second thought, just skip this track altogether.
Even when they chose to revisit their thrashier roots of old to a degree, something is missing here. The tunes are not particularly memorable; they feel like a decently violent thrash battering with groovy grit but with no real spirit at its core. The production doesn't help, but apart from that the riffs, solos and lyrics come and go without long-lasting impact on the listener, and thus the album feels like a grey, long multi-part song with few discernible highlights, though on the other hand there are no horrible lows in quality either. Despite Cangelosi's brutal and sometimes interesting performance, different from Ventor's usual feel, Cause for Conflict ends up more like a failure than a triumphant return to form. Sill, for 90s standards, this is probably as thrashy as Kreator could get, thus making it listenable and enjoyable to a degree… for Kreator enthusiasts like myself, that is. The 90s were thrash metal's wormhole travel to the 21st Century, and the few stops at mid trip are not that enticing in 99.9% percent of the cases. This isn't that 00.1%, I can assure you that.
When most people think Kreator, they think the brash ear assault of Pleasure To Kill, the refined aggression of Extreme Aggression or the technical workout of Coma Of Souls. Some may think of the return to the thrash style they helped make popular in their native Germany with such great albums as Enemy Of God and Phantom Antichrist. However, one often overlooked album is their dabble with the industrial genre, heavily influenced by bands such as Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails and certain aspects of Marilyn Manson. The album utilized simplified chugging riffs and tuneless shouting from frontman Mille Petrozza across 12 adrenaline soaked songs. The album I am referring to is the criminally overlooked 1995 album Cause For Conflict, the album I personally think of when I think about Kreator.
This is an album that got a lot of hate upon its release, and still is, with many fans of the band being particularly angered by the blatant disregard for their thrash past. However, the band could not have gone on putting out thrash great after thrash great, as had already been shown following the release of Extreme Aggression, with Coma Of Souls spending too much time focusing on being as complex as possible to use the bands real strength-their sheer rage. However, this rage that made the band so great on albums such as Endless Pain, Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression is present and in correct order on Cause For Conflict, with every song sounding just as pissed off at the world as the previous one. Whilst Mille's voice is definitely not the same as found on past releases, it is perfectly fitting for a release such as this, clearly containing a large amount of Fear Factory influence in its styling. The vocal patterns are, at times, a little off in this album, however, particularly when the songs speed up and Mille has to frantically deliver his vocals in order to keep up with the music. His voice is considerable monotonous throughout this album, but that tone is one that packs an edge to it unlike so many passionless vocalists out there, and for that Mille deserves credit, for showing that even in a samey genre such as Industrial, he can still kick it with the best.
Many consider the major criticism to be made about this album to be the lack of Jurgen "Ventor" Reil behind the drum kit, and whilst this is clear from the off, it is also obvious that the band found a more than worthy replacement in the form of Joe Cangelosi. Cangelosi can keep a solid beat going with his double bass work, keeping a sound of intensity and showing that the band was not finished after their original drummer left. Joe overuses the double bass somewhat, but is still an adequate drummer, and, during the faster moments of this album he really shines. Catholic Despot, when it speeds up, is the best example of how good Joe can be at times, with some of the fastest beats on the album contained within this song and handled brilliantly by the new man with the sticks. At the other end of the rhythm work, the bass is at its most audible on a Kreator album here, with Christian Giesler clunking away incessantly, playing some nice bass work throughout the album that shows off something rarely heard on a Kreator album, making this somewhat unique in the bands discography.
The one slight throwback to the glory days of Kreator on this album is found in the guitar work. Specifically, some of the riffs are very much the signature crunchy brand of riffs found on albums such as Terrible Certainty. Whilst the past album, Renewal, had showcased a heavy industrial sound, this was the album that sounded most akin to the forerunners of the genre, whilst retaining a moderate amount of thrash riff work at times. This is still a far cry from the guitar work found on their previous releases, but certainly has a bite to it that the previous release lacked somewhat. The one riff that stands out the most among this entire album is the very first one found on the opening song, Prevail. This is one of the strongest songs on the album, containing relentless drumming from Joe Cangelosi and a level of passion and anger that is obvious from the off. The riffs to this are about as tight as the album gets.
This album contains significantly more thrash influence than on the previous album, but is definitely still an experimental album for them, and one that tops much of their discography. Whilst on a purely musical level, this may not be as good as some of their previous work, the sheer rage behind this album is more than enough to carry it and prop it up among the best they have put out. This may well be my favorite Kreator album for the simple fact that it is unrivaled anger packed into relatively short songs. There are a few more than headbangable moments found throughout this album, with the slower section towards the end of the third song definitely being the most notable. This is a great album that gets slept on unfairly, and is certainly worth a look.
Originally written for Sputnik Music
It's interesting that Cause for Conflict arrived during Kreator's 'experimentation' phase, because really this is a pretty straight forward thrash album with a slight, angry hardcore influence that is felt more in the political lyrics than the actual music. The moody 1992 record Renewal was not exactly well met, but that's more the fault of the listeners (including myself, at first) who couldn't adapt to the changes the band were exploring. So to an extent, Cause for Conflict is a step back into safer territory for the Germans, but it unfortunately does not deliver as well as any of the band's prior output, and it stands as one of their least impressive efforts to date, surpassed only by the stab in the dark that was Endorama.
There were a few major changes to the roster, with Christian Geisler coming in on bass (he remains with the band to this day) and Joe Cangelosi of the US band Whiplash having briefly taken over for Ventor or the drums, but I've no idea whether this contributed to Mille's decision to venture back into the angrier thrash territory that was only vaguely available on Renewal. "Prevail" is a solid start, a dark and grooving thrasher with pit stomping guitar rhythms and moments of excellent where a wa-wa guitar sears above a wardrumming backdrop, but the Slayer-like sudden violent thrash propulsion of the bridge doesn't yield as much energy as I would have liked, and the riffs are in general not memorable. Some of the songs like "Catholic Despot", "Crisis of Disorder" and "Hate Inside Your Head" sound like a mix of Terrible Certainty semi-technicality with the dour industrial hardcore of the band's next album, Outcast, but even these are not standouts.
The few flights of worthwhile frenzy are scattered through the track list, including the raging "Bomb Threat", which is an under 2-minute blitz of writhing thrash and Mille barking. Much the same goes for "Dogmatic", with some great riffs that come and go in all too short a time (1:26). "Sculpture of Regret" and "Celestial Deliverance" are both decent, casting a similar shadow to the harder biting tracks of the previous album Renewal. The 12 minute "Isolation" has promise, weaving through grim clean guitars and outright thrashing passages, but it's not all metal: there is a pause and then a noise 'hidden track' at the end of the sequence. Bonus "State Oppression" is hardcore punk, a cover of the cult Italian band Raw Power, and there's not a lot to it aside from its very predictable notation and chorus.
Clearly, Cause for Conflict had the tools to be a better album than this, but for some reason most of the thrash riffs fall flat of what the band were able to accomplish with legendary efforts like Pleasure to Kill, Terrible Certainty and Coma of Souls. I've seen mention that this is one of the band's 'industrial' albums, but that's not exactly the case. Perhaps this aesthetic is found in the politically motivated riffs, or the bleak tone, but there are few if any moments of electronic music here, whereas Outcast or Renewal would directly flavor the aggression with mechanical intent. This is by no means a bad effort, but having at the time just come to grips with appreciating the deceptive Renewal, I felt once again initially underwhelmed. The difference is that the prior album continues to grow upon me and impress through the years, whereas this piece is very easily shoved aside in my thoughts to this day. The lyrics aren't bad (except "Prevail" which is like a collage of the band's prior titles/lyrics), the cover's cool, and the music is just alright (i.e., far below what I expect from Kreator).
Sometimes I don’t get thrash fans. All Kreator albums from “Endless Pain” to “Coma of Souls” are rightfully regarded as thrash classics, but as soon as “Renewal” was released, Kreator died for a large part of their fanbase. I have to admit, I have not heard “Renewal” yet, but “Cause for Conflict” is pretty fucking excellent.
In the early 90s, Kreator grew tired of writing about the different pleasures of killing, pain and aggression, therefore they not only changed their lyrical content, they also decided to shift their sound into a new direction.
“Cause for Conflict” is quite different to their older work, while still retaining some of their former core elements. “Cause for Conflict” is still mainly thrash metal, albeit a tad more modern with slight death metal tendencies and a healthy dose of hardcore punk and slight groove metal touches. It surely is one of the thrashiest albums of 1995, a time where thrash was not only on its knees, but more like the remains of a rotting corpse.
Mille’s vocals are entirely different to their older work, as they quite resemble a typical hardcore bark. Yet, to my own surprise, I actually prefer them to his old, not exactly great vocal style (I always thought that his vocal work was way worse than that of Destruction or Sodom). His delivery tends to be a bit monotone at times, but overall, he’s decent.
Joe Cangelosi’s drumming is very diverse, showing proficiency in all speeds. Some awesome fills, interesting offbeat rhythms and generally wicked drumlines spice up the album to a great extent.
The bass playing is heavy as hell, giving the overall sound an extremely thick bottom-end, which is definitely suitable for the general sound of this album.
The only drawbacks on here are the fastest parts which often are a tad too punkish and sometimes even descent into mid-“Reign in Blood” incoherence (I agree with the common opinion that about all songs in-between “Angel of Death” and “Raining Blood” lack any distinctive, memorable parts).
Apart from that, the album is quite great, especially in the songwriting department. Original and overall coherent songwriting and the courage to experiment make this album a winner.
I don’t see why this is hated so much, as it’s quite an excellent thrasher. It's not exactly an essential album, but check it out if you enjoy your thrash a tad more experimental/adventurous.
Highlights: Catholic Despot, Hate Inside Your Head, Dogmatic, Sculpture of Regret
This album certainly has its moments, and it is almost a comeback of sorts afer the awfully non-thrashy "Renewal". But, Coma of Souls this isn't. The riff work just isn't nearly as solid. Some of the songs on here are absolutely awesome, but the rest are just very generic and filler-sounding.
The good... "Prevail" is awesome. We start the album off in very, very strong form. "Fear of the future! Hope for the past!!" Similarly good is "Men Without Gods", and these two pretty much make up all that is really worth hearing on this album.
The rest... "Lost" kinda straddles the line, in that it has one really nifty riff that they use, but then they lose it in the chorus, sounding like badly done echoes of "Material World Paranoia" without the monster riffage at the end to save the album. Then, there is the complete filler that marks the rest of this album. It's certainly a lot better than the riffless wonders of Endorama and whatnot, but the songs tend to be really, really similar, with too many overloud double-bass moments to cover up the lack of riff action.
That said... "Humans amok!!!" Just download "Prevail", it is one of the best songs they have ever done.