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Signs of improvement... - 79%

LeMiserable, July 26th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Noise Records

Extreme Aggression showed Kreator taking 3 steps back with every step forward. Everything they tried to improve upon made something else come out as worse, to such an extent that Extreme Aggression is amongst the worst Kreator albums I have ever heard. Coma of Souls is generally regarded by many metal circles and communities as the best and most impressive Kreator album in existence. This is an opinion I can't agree with, this album is certainly pretty good and has its virtues, but it's ultimately held back by some of its flaws that make it a lot worse than it could have potentially been. At its best, Coma of Souls is a riffing monster, accompanied by some great technicality and successful melodic influences. At its worst, this is a stale and dry thrash album with far too many boring slow parts that ruin the overall flow of the songs. Whichever side you like to pick, it means you have to ignore a whole lot of this album's aspects.

This is a really good album in its core. The riffs sound fresh, the overall production of the album is decent and the structures of these songs are pretty goddamn impressive (Even while totally NOT being my taste). There's a whole lot to this album and thus I understand why other people like this so much, but as a guy who likes a bit of intensity and violence in the music I except it to have, I find this album quite disappointing. As I pointed out in my Extreme Aggression review, I find this album to sound a bit dry and stale. It's completely normal for the cymbals to be played alongside the snares right? So that would mean the snare has to be reasonably loud to prevent the snare drum from sounding alone or dry...right? Well, that's exactly what hasn't happened here. This is an album that has a major focus on technicality and thus the instruments should all sound perfect...aaaand they don't. The snare itself isn't exactly deep either and combined with the fact the cymbals are so incredibly silent, a genuinely disappointing drum production is the result. Before I get back to praising this album again, let's tackle my next gripe, the lack of a bass guitar, you could tell me it isn't there at all and I'd believe you, it's completely ruled out by the guitars, I think I can hear it sometimes, but that's only so much over the course of a 44-minute long album.

There are riffs that work, and there are riffs that absolutely own. Don't be mistaken, these riffs absolutely own. The majority of 'em are pretty memorable and the solos are a similar case, Kreator are basically incapable of writing shitty riffs and this album is clear evidence. For an album that has such a disappointing and detrimental production, this is pretty goddamn memorable. You could compare my opinion of this to my recent review of Beneath The Remains. Both albums are absolutely mind-blowing in their execution, both albums have a very questionable production, and both have very boring vocals, this album, sadly, also has questionable song structures to drag it down even further. I'm pretty sure it still deserves a pretty high score nonetheless, because this album really is brilliant if you manage to ignore all its flaws, but some of the songs have this tendency to slow down heavily and then drag it all on for way too long, far beyond the point of satisfaction.

This isn't exactly my favorite performance from Mille. He's reasonably powerful, but he sounds a bit mellow. He sounds like he's deliberately trying to sound powerful, which is something I absolutely despise in my music, and then he just sounds pretty weak too. Like Max on Beneath The Remains, he sounds like a parody of what he would later become (Respectively Arise and Renewal) and it only makes me wanna head over to the next album as fast as possible (Both are respectively much better than this and Beneath The Remains). I feel Mille's best performances are found on Pleasure To Kill, Renewal and Cause For Conflict, it just doesn't work all too well here. Still, there's definitely a lot right with this album, I don't think it's the masterpiece many view it as, but it's certainly pretty good.

The Coma of Souls outlives eternity - 100%

Xyrth, January 30th, 2014

I just realized it’s been a while since I wrote a review with a hundred per cent rating. It’s not that I believe in that “100% is only for God” bullshit. I’m definitely not a prickly self-righteous cunt who believes perfection can’t be achieved in music. No, I actually love metal, so for me there are A LOT of metal albums that deserve a perfect score… so many! I had been focusing in new or relatively newer releases, most of which come short of the mark. So it was time to turn back to the classics for a change. My choice to review Kreator’s masterpiece instead of something else is based on pure chance. Maybe the fact that I just listened to it yesterday and will listen to it today as I write this also helps. The fact that matters though, it’s that this is one of thrash metal’s greatest records ever, from one of thrash metal’s greatest bands ever (and I won’t fail to mention it, my favorite one).

Before the launching of their fifth long play Kreator were already a powerful entity of the Teutonic thrash scene, with a couple of outstanding releases under their bullet-belt; the seminal Pleasure to Kill, of course, and the more complex but equally punishing Terribly Certainty. The rest of their catalogue didn’t fall short in quality either, from the obscure, primitive pummeling of their debut and the somewhat simplified, restrained thrash of Extreme Aggression to the pair of solid EPs released in those years. Yet all their work from the past decade was but the build-up for Coma of Souls, which is in fact an amalgamation of the best elements in their career, an exercise in perfection of the form they’d never surpass. The crowning jewel of Kreator’s discography, and probably of the whole Teutonic thrash scene, is composed of high-octane riffage tempered with magnificent shifts in tempo, masterfully placed breakdowns and NWOBHM-inspired soloing cranked up to 11 that guarantee flawless excellence in the ten compositions here.

It all starts with one of those classic thrash acoustic intros in the vein of Metallica’s “Fight Fire with Fire” that heralds “When the Sun Burns Red”, a condemnatory tune about Mankind-induced global warming. Mille sings on this opener with crude and honest rage, as his ideologies have always been an integral part of Kreator’s lyrical themes, Coma of Souls more that other albums being constantly nurtured by his ecological, religious and political beliefs. It’s soon followed by the amazing titular-track, and on this one the undisputed star for me is Ventor. He has never been the fastest, or the most complex of drummers, but he compensates by a great sense of timing, precision and classy use of the double bass. This is true for each track here, but I love his playing on “Coma of Souls”, its just spot on. Things get simpler, though not less spectacular with the catchy as hell anti-Nazi three-minute rager that is “People of the Lie”. This tune usually makes me remember my first Kreator gig in 2005; there was an older guy behind me yelling the title of the song at the top of his lungs since the beginning of the concert. When Kreator finally fucking started playing it, he became a whirlwind of black leather and spikes thrashing everything in its path, myself included. I was only familiar with their post-Endorama material at the time, but that short ‘n’ sweet hymn stuck on my head forever. So after the concert I bought this treasure, and it blew my mind. It still does.

For those complaining that Coma of Souls doesn’t have enough speed and aggression, Dr. K prescribes the couple of two-minute trail blazers “World Beyond” and “Twisted Urges”, whose clinic battering will leave your skull as pretty as Kreator’s mascot on the iconic cover artwork gracing this record, provided by the great Andreas Marschall, the first of many similarly styled demon head portraits. For those preferring a more epic and complex approach, fan-favorite “Terror Zone” is a must listen with its ominous Maiden-esque mirror intro and outro, and marching pace with sudden bursts of speed. The rest of the tunes on the second half of the record are a more similarly styled attack than those on the first half, but that doesn’t mean the voyage becomes dull or predictable, and the fatal energy levels never descend below 100%. “Agents of Brutality” has really brutal lyrics about totalitarian control, whilst boasting an eerie uplifting solo. “Material World Paranoia” and “Hidden Dictator” are riff-fests on top of which Mille spits some excellent jagged-edged chorus whose message resounds as loudly today as they did in 1990:

“Concrete coffin breeds lunacy
Cold steel skeleton
Desperation in the factory
Crank out oblivion

Material world paranoia
Corporations dominate earth
Material world paranoia
Enslavery begins at birth”

Finally, mid-tempo closer “Mental Slavery” has winding riffage with an almost Middle Eastern feel and it’s a marginally more laid back song that those before it. Nonetheless, it won’t stop you to feel the urge to bang your head. It stands as one of my favorites along with the title-track, “People of the Lie” and “Terror Zone”. I should add that I also love that bass plucking intro on “Hidden Dictator”, one of the few spots on which Roberto Fiorentti’s four strings are clearly heard, usually buried beneath Mille and Frank’s onslaught of stellar, breakneck riffs. Its sad, but it really doesn’t affect the output. Now that I think of it, the production reminds me a lot of Master of Puppets, a classic thrash sound that discards much of the low-end bass while highlighting the guitars, only here Ventor’s bass drums are way punchier than Lars Ulrich’s on that seminal Metallica release. But the melodies on both records have that distinct nostalgic eighties sound that also reminds me of ‘87-‘91 Sepultura. A sound I really dig even though I was a kid when it was invented, a sound that no retro-thrash act nor the current incarnation of those classic thrash bands have managed to achieve again. There’s a part of thrash metal that died with modern day production standards, but fortunately that sound will never die as long as we own and enjoy thrash-terpieces such as this one.

The price of achieving such a peak in creativity, delivery and virtually all artistic areas cost Kreator dearly. Perhaps they knew themselves unable to surpass this record, perhaps it was the change of tastes in the thrash world, but probably it was their own very desire to experiment and broaden their musical palette that made them embark in an experimental phase, lasting from 1992 to 1999, which resulted in a handful of good tunes but a streak of very poor albums. There’re some who hold Renewal in high esteem, but I’ve never been able to enjoy that album much. It doesn’t help to know that it might have been a continuation of the greatness of Coma of Souls had the band opted to do what they did (and do) best. But the past can’t be changed, unless you get yourself a Delorian or a similar artifact. The rebirth of this band wouldn’t come until eleven years have passed with Violent Revolution, which happens to be my second favorite album from the band, their “Second Awakening”. So there’s no need to change the past, we have Coma of Souls for eternity. Only two other albums from 1990 I deem even better than this one, Painkiller and Rust in Peace, but the fifth Kreator album is just as MANDATORY listen to any serious metalhead as those two.

Extreme Progression - 95%

Metal_Thrasher90, October 20th, 2013

Nobody could predict the period of decadence that thrash would suffer during most of the 90’s. By 1990, the future for the subgenre looked so bright, thanks to amazing albums like this one I’m about to review. In the dawn of the decade, thrash would reach its culmination, just before its decline. Many time had passed since the primitive mid-80’s, the evil brutality and basic ways turned into sophistication and maturity (in most of cases). Same happened with the Teutonic rich thrash league, with most of those groups achieving their own style, but refusing to leave aggression behind. It was time for Kreator to make somethig big this time, something that would make a difference from the other fine albums of that year.

The intentions of the band were more ambitious that never before. The replacement of Tritze by Blackfire made it clear. The combination of Mille and Frank was like having Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson in the same movie, so they could do no wrong. Since the very first minutes of this record, it’s easy to notice a considerable improvement of their sound. Kreator did awesome stuff before, but they reached peaks here. An impressing display of absolutely solid riffs and consistent hooks is what you will find in these cuts. Each composition features a stunning collection of riff series that avoid repetition and simplicity. With the exception of the title-track (which is an effective song anyway), the several alterations on the riffs are constant, defining rich instrumental passages and skilled breaks to not let everything hanging on just one riff. Rhythm changes are numerous as well. Kreator already put a lot of emphasis on the complexity of their composition-structures in previous releases, but this time they worked even harder to make their music evolve and reach a higher level. As I mentioned before, the brilliant riffs are the main attraction, all of them strenghtful, straight, very violent. Other times, the guys put attention on melody, and Mille & Frank perform some sweet harmonies that create a splendid climax (the lead break of “Hidden Dictator”, for example). There’s raging speed, outrageous double bass-drum beatings, quieter slow tempos too, to let weighty riffs progress with proper intensity. This seems to be result of many years of experience and practice, the culmination of their previous classic albums, taking elements from every previous work with splendid results. You can find here the bestiality and violence of “Endless Pain” and “Pleasure To Kill”, the technical arrangements of “Terrible Certainty” and the much elaborated song-structures of “Extreme Aggression”. You won’t find any bad number, tedious instrumental sequence or dumb riff in this outstanding LP.

It’s admirable that Mille and co. managed to make their music more polished and sophisticated without forgetting their genuine attitude, nature and fierce riffing. This is not the kind of material intended just to make every listener headbang like crazy. The certain progressive difficulty of these songs deserves attention, and the satisfactory technical performance of each group member shouldn’t be ignored. Mille never did anything like this: writing and performing such incredibly consistent guitar lines. His abilities have improved, along with his creativityand virtuosism, as you can hear on those great solos during the whole album. Abusing at times of the pedal effects, but mostly far from predictable, no improvisation. Blackfire becomes Petrozza’s ideal alter ego. We already heard before what this guy could do, and for sure this time he didn’t disappoint on supporting the lord and master of the band. Rob and Ventor contribute essentially to make these songs sound convincing with their effective (not impressive) skills. Fortunately, this time bass can be clearly heard. We must be grateful to Randy Burns’s incredible production. Could you imagine these numbers featuring a weak lame sound engineering/mixing? They wouldn’t get that far. Burns was able to make this stuff sound clear, slightly clean and polished without ignoring the necessary dirty distortion of guitars. The perfect balance we could find on Nuclear Assault’s “Survive” or Possessed’s “Seven Churches” before. No instrument is fading away in the final mix; bass lines and double bass-drums can be heard without problems. Something basic, indispensable to provide the fastest moments of this LP of consistence and solidity (Don’t you hate when, usually, double bass-drums are impossible to hear when a band thrash hard and fast?). And everything else is fine: the abstract cool lyrics, the unforgettable Andreas Marschall cover painting, Mille’s characteristic voice...if you haven’t listend to this yet, you’re not into thrash at all!

A memorable masterpiece that represents the culmination of thrash, few time before its fall. I don’t think Kreator ever reached this level again, and for sure, not many superb albums like this have been made in the history of metal. It’s not surprising that many fans consider this one the finest of the band’s discography catalog, and that the cover artwork has become iconic and famous. Still extremely influential, unique, respected by hundreds of metal fans everywhere. You can listen endless imitations of this music in most of modern thrash groups’ CDs. I assure you none of them reaches Mille and co.’s supremacy, though. This is old-school thrash at its best.

The Lovechild of Melody And Brutality. - 96%

Metal_Jaw, June 25th, 2012

Sheer perfection. It can't be used to describe many metal albums. Sure I don't mind handing out higher ratings like cheap candy at a parade - if I like an album, I like an album, but that doesn't mean I think it's perfect. However, Kreator's 5th full-length studio release, "Coma of Souls", is pretty much perfect. From the strong lyrics to the songs' structures to the sense of melody and catchiness to...of course...the fucking RIFFS! OH YEAH!

The band was at the top of their game at this point, and arguably are still pretty damn close to this point currently. Mille Petrozza is killer as he ever was, growling and shouting like a madman but mixing it up with that sense of melody that this band can pull of so well. His guitars skills get mixed with fellow axeman, then newly-recruited Frank Blackfire, most well known for his kickass work with fellow teutonic titans Sodom. He and Petrozza make for a tour-de-force of intricacy, soloing and merciless riffage. Let's just say if you've heard his work on "Agent Orange" (of course you have), then you'd know you're in for a treat. Roberto Fioretti rips it upon the bass. He's never been better; his bass lines are equally intricate and just sizzle below the guitars and drumming. Speaking of which, how about Kreator's longtime drummer, good ol' Ventor? He has slowed his usual frenzy into a more technically proficient style, though some of his traditional thrash drumming nicely blares out during some of the more vicious tracks.

The production is really solid and simple; it's loud but not in your face. No Pro-Tools, none of that shit. It just sounds really good. There's 44 minutes and 45 seconds wholesome, crushing goodness to be found on "Coma of Souls". The songs take the heavy but more melodic and mid-paced structure that was started way back on "Terrible Certainty" and makes it...you guessed it...perfect. There is some raving heaviness still to be found, though, like on opening track "When The Sun Burns Red", a neck-snapper detailing our disintegrating ozone. Beginning with some melodic riffing and acoustic work, one starts to feel mellow, even relaxed...until the 55 second point when Kreator reminds you this is a fucking THRASH album, and the song never lets up in its relentlessness. The title track is oh so slightly slower, still clipping along viciously with its catchy riffs. Then we have the great "People Of The Lie", mid-paced little crusher with a catchy chorus and highly simple, but very catchy riffage.

The album never stops with the quality. We treated to "World Beyond" and "Twisted Urges", a pair of hyperactive speeders that don't even hit the three minutes mark, but still pack in all that aggression and riffage. I quite like the closer "Mental Slavery" for its lengthy, "hollow"-sounding solo and the hooky chorus. But there is one song on here that goes past perfection, that goes past being incredible and climbs to the position of, in my opinion, the best Kreator song. That song is "Terror Zone". This sucker should have been the album closer. It has everything a perfect thrash song should have. The chorus is stupid simple, but well executed. The lyrics are just glorious. The riffs are a thrilling mix of more melodic moments and hyper thrashing. The two main solos are just perfect, particularly the catchy 2nd ("God I'm all alone, OH NOOOOOOO!!!"). Well worth a purchase for this track alone.

Overall, yep, this album is perfect. The band's performance, the quality and consistency of the songs, the riffs, the aggression; all spot-on. If for some sick reason you have only a passing interest in thrash, this album belongs in your collection. Hell, even if you're someone who just appreciates good music, regardless of genre, then you need to hear and own Kreator's "Coma Of Souls".

Kreator - Coma of Souls - 100%

Orbitball, February 6th, 2012

Kreator doesn't really need a lengthy introduction because they've been in existence in the thrash metal community since 1984. Their lineup on this release features Mille Petrozza on guitar/vocals, Frank Blackfire on guitars, Roberto Fioretti on bass, and Ventor on drums. Every musician on this release contributed nothing but good on here. This is the type of thrash metal album you can analyze and listen to in pure amazement. I think that this release was the best one in the whole genre during the year 1990. Metallica was making a change in their style of music after "...And Justice For All" so Kreator put forth their unbelievably excellent contribution to the Metal community with this release of theirs.

The guitars feature a lot of different rhythms composing tremolo picked frenzies, bar chords galore, palm muted open notes, plus leads that were amazingly fast and technical. The music is memorable, every single song on here deserves a whole ton of praise because of it's innovation and creativity. They really made this album with a fresh start in songwriting that is entirely invigorating. Tempos of the songs change rapidly, but that doesn't replace the awesome and amazing capabilities that they were able to amass on this release. About 44 minutes of mind boggling thrash metal to the core. I don't think any of Kreator albums surpass this one.

I enjoyed all of the songs because every one of them feature thrash metal genre perfection. I'd have to say that "When the Sun Burns Red", "Coma of Souls" and "People of the Lie" are the best tracks. But all of them are worth checking out if you don't own this album. The leads were the best performed by Frank, Mille's were a tad sloppy and I think that he's better equipped on rhythm guitar not lead. To me, it sounds like he's a self-taught musician. His vocals are innovative and memorable. No one vocalist can emulate his voice, it's totally original and sticks with you. That's what sets apart Kreator from the rest of the thrash metal bands. His vocals are among the best in this genre.

The production/mixing was done with precision. Every instrument was mixed in with perfection. No instrument was left out. The guitars were filled with plenty of distortion, the bass was audible to the core, vocals didn't drown out the music, and the drums were well heard. The lyrical content features them talking about death, religion, politics and war. There were no Satanic or mindlessness in the words they all had to deal with real life issues. So on that front it was good. It would've been great if Frank Blackfire was still with the band though because he sure could shred on the guitar. Their replacement doesn't come close to his talent, but he's out of the band and has been out for years now.

Kreator put forth something astounding here. Not to say that they aren't a good thrash metal band anymore, but the rhythms in the music are their best ever created. This is not only my point of view, I'm looking at other people's opinions on this release and they came up with the same answer: perfection. Their previous releases to this one don't even come close to achieving more success in the songwriting capabilities of the band. They must've really wanted to come out with something totally amazing and "Coma of Souls" is what they came up with. If you're a fan of thrash metal and you don't own this album, YouTube the songs that I mentioned so that you can hear what they sound like. Buy it now if you haven't already!

This is one coma I never want to wake up from - 100%

autothrall, February 3rd, 2011

While Extreme Aggression felt like a right lane breakdown for the career steamroller that was Kreator in the 80s, it was at least an important transition piece, because without that effort, I'm not sure they would have evoked the flawless masterpiece that is Coma of Souls. This is hands down one of the best German thrash recordings in history, and the career peak for one of the most riff oriented firing squads ever to explore the genre. From front to back, it's loaded to overflowing with creativity, quality, and oddly enough, emotion, borrowing little but from themselves. Honestly, this could just be called Extreme Aggression II: This Time With Flavor, and it would make no difference to me. I am a richer man for having owned this, and it's spot fucking on.

This was once again released through the CBS/Noise deal here in the States, but sadly it made almost no difference, because human beings are in general ignorant, and by 1990, many had already stopped paying attention to thrash metal altogether (they somehow managed to let Artillery's By Inheritance slip as well), or at least outside of their backlogs of Metallica and Megadeth albums. Grunge hadn't quite hit its full stride yet, but people were certainly creaming their shorts over Janes Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers and all manner of new sounds that were starting their push through the airwaves. It sucks, but alas, it is the way of the world, and thrashing masterworks have always been left by the wayside. Fortunately for us, none of this means a shit, and Kreator's fifth full length is just as epic today as it was twenty years past, with its pristine production values and deep roster. There is no 'going to the bench' with this album, because all ten tracks are contracted to kick your ass at all times.

Speaking of 'epic', the album is inaugurated with perhaps the most fantastic global warming warning in all of thrash metal, "When the Sun Burns Red", which opens with a beautiful clean guitar sequence, then lightly glazed with leads that lead to the inevitable explosion before the minute mark. The Germans cast aside the lace, then firmly re-assure us that, yes, this is a Kreator album, and you will be now be face planted into oblivion. Perfect verses lead us by the throat to an amazingly catchy chorus, and it really does not get much better than this in this genre of music. "Coma of Souls" picks right up from the ashes of the first track with sheer, escalating riff brilliance, and leads to another vicious conflagration of swirling leads, hostile but melodic notation and Mille Petrozza's unmistakable bark. And then, as if toying with us all, they break into "People of the Lie", which features hilarious but great anti-Nazi lyrics that step perfectly alongside the album's ultimate 'thrash' riff (in the verse) which Exodus probably slapped themselves wishing they had come up with for.

As an example of the album's excellent pacing, they next veer into the hyper, 2 minute piece known as "World Beyond", a flash of glorious, popping melodies with Ventor laying into his kit. Then comes the stretch of the immortal "Terror Zone", somber melodies collapsing into a march of warlike percussion and more quality guitar riffs than most thrash albums have period. The song is amazing, and it's no wonder the band have incorporated the title into their web address. "Agents of Brutality" follows a similar tactic, slowly building from a lurch to a frenzy of hurtling melody that explodes with the fibrous, twisted mutes beneath the chorus. "Material World Paranoia" returns to the belligerent drumming that first arrived with "Terror Zone", as the guitars paint hostile rainbows across the pre-verse atmosphere, and then unto another ejaculate inducing verse/chorus manifesto with a turbulent momentum.

By this point in an album, the band might have just attached a few filler pieces, maybe some dumb cover song and be through with it, but in Coma-land, the thrills never cease. We are next assaulted with the surgical opening melodies of "Twisted Urges", which rapidly transform into another majestic flight of riffage bordering on death metal. "Hidden Dictator" waltzes forth into a swaggering gallop, and even when they're developing up to the chorus, they're STILL inventing unforgettable guitars. "Mental Slavery" ends the show with a cyclic, clever notation that almost seems to imply to us 'you've had enough by now, so we'll let you off easy'. Only, it's not really that easy, just another fully kick ass Kreator track with maniacal riffs and anti-establishment lyrics, even though its slightly less energetic in tone than the rest of the disc.

Coma of Souls is the end of an era, as Kreator were no exception to the trend of reinvention that enveloped most of the thrashing spectrum come the 90s (the next 4-5 albums vary highly in quality with one another), but what an end it is. The amount of organization that went into the arrangements, the thought put into the (admittedly leftist hippy) lyrics, the clean and sleek finish to the studio mix. Trickling down through the years, I've heard various complaints that the album isn't as brutal as Pleasure to Kill, nor as ambitious as Terrible Certainty. These are both true, but neither has any impact on the quality here. The band had successfully collected and honored all of the steps leading to this, and somewhere along the way, learned how to be phenomenal songsmiths. I would kill for more bands out there writing at this level, taking thrash metal where it belongs, not sulking in derivation or the pathetic, recalcitrant humor manifest through misplaced nostalgia, ironically bludgeoning themselves into a coma of creativity.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Terry Schiavo never heard Coma of Souls - 89%

marktheviktor, July 28th, 2010

If you love thrash, you have to like Kreator. What thrash metalhead couldn't get on board with such tempting aggression and speed that can give you a case of whiplash from headbanging to classic stuff as found on this album? Coma of Souls is one of those genre defining albums and they had other classics like it besides this one but this one will be remembered too. Perhaps the most striking detail about the record is the band's fresh ability to infuse melody into these tracks while ripping and blitzing just as bestially as Slayer did at the time. Of course, this is Teutonic thrash metal. Which means Sodom must get mentioned in any such discussion. 1980's Sodom was good but they just weren't as talented as Kreator and Coma of Souls pretty much convinces me of this. I can get lost in these riffs all day! That was the dealmaker for me. Earth and all her humanity seem primed for wreckage when listen so closely to these blazing riffs and screams by Mille Petrozza. The intensity is all right here: solos, blasts, vocal prowess and tightness of songs. It's one tootsie roll wrapped with Teutonic treatise in thrash and the lesson learned is this: death metal and thrash metal is a very thin line when you listen to these Kommandants of Kick Ass Metal and what better album to showcase it than Coma of Souls? And yet, to hail it just on the premise of mere display for those genres would be obtuse.

But what else is there that makes this album so rich while staying true to thrash and death? Well, let me pose another question to get down to it: Do you like Iron Maiden? Why, yes you do. You at least certainly must appreciate their influence if you enjoy this album because the Maiden quotient figures quite prominently in much of this as well. I have heard this Iron Maiden-ish configuration in other continental thrash bands. Notably Coroner. It's in that added layer of epic melodism where I notice this bent. I realized it with the opening riff on Terror Zone and three quarters through the track with the the legato and closing riff as another example. And doesn't the acoustic guitar part in the first song remind you that of Moonchild's opening? These Iron Maiden decals displayed in the sound are mostly small and florid but indeed present. Where the genius lies is how the band can so fluidly transition into that relentless death metal sound i.e. When The Sun Burns Red with its hellish riffs styled just like on Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel. Agents of Brutality has riffs that sound just as violent and picked at a more visible sounding speed than them however. Mille can alternate pick with the best of them.

Veil's blasting beats cannot be overlooked either. His playing is just a strength as anything else. On Twisted Urges or Material World Paranoia, his furious skinning cued for the wicked death metal guitar solo add much fire. You really get the vibe for the destruction touted by the lyrics. How the band plays this is a technical wonder and they are superior to their thrash peers on both sides of the Atlantic in this regard. This line-up play spectacularly together. Each of the songs from top to bottom basically boil down to one singular speed in general. There's no diversionary clutter like Master of Puppets had or some of the slight silly moments that littered Agent Orange. And it doesn't have a couple of the filler tracks that Reign in Blood has.

But is this album perfect? There is not a song I don't like on Coma of Souls. It is mostly perfect in execution. Do I love it? I think "really,really" like and "very impressive" would be how I myself would judge it. As good as the drumming is, some of the slower progressions are not as I prefer for thrash metal. The production is not as raw as once was and hence I would like this more if it had that. Many of the songs also tend to end in a repeated fashion. All these are design choices anyway. The pluses outweigh them. I award this classic status for thrash metal and the album is worth your hard earned cash without question.

The definition of perfection - 100%

extremesymphony, July 7th, 2010

Kreator takes huge steps up in songwriting and deliver their most mature effort to date. All the songs have variety in them, all are highly technical, yet they are effective, coherent, catchy and grounded. The production is much polished compared to other Kreator’s efforts, but this is polished in the best possible way. All the three departments (guitar, vocals, rhythm) are highlighted equally well in the mix. The guitars are pure sledgehammer, slicing the listener into pieces and forcing him to bang his skull against the wall until the end.

This album marks the debut of ex-Sodom axeman Frank Blackfire. With Mille he forms one of the best guitar units in thrash history. Together they put to record some of the most maniac thrash riffs which are executed to perfection. You won’t notice even a single weak or sloppy riff. All of them are violent, technical, and catchy at the same time. The lead work of these two is practically flawless. Never before in any thrash metal album were such great solos present with equally great riffs. Ventor improves tremendously in his skill in using his kit, especially his use of double bass. Ventor establishes himself as one of the best thrash drummers right up there with Lombardo or Hoglan through this album. The bassist mostly follows the guitars and also you don’t expect to hear bass in this guitar, drum fury. But still the bass plays a good role in this album. The vocals are great, violent and tailorly made for this album

Songs range from being practically flawless to being very good. The album features 10 songs each no less triumphant than the last. I won’t go into pick up highlights or describe each song as all of them are excellent and there is no weak track. The songs have a great tense atmosphere in them. Here we have short, straight forward, all-out thrash metal songs which are specially crafted to beat the listener senseless (World Beyond, Twisted Urges), we have longer, more developed songs which go through many sections (When The Sun Burns Red, Coma of Souls, Agents of Brutality, Hidden Dictator, Material World Paranoia), we have three of the best midpaced songs in thrash history (Terror Zone, People Of The Lie, Mental Slavery). The choruses of most of the songs are complex, in which the song either slows down or changes pace dramatically. People of the Lie and Hidden Dictator include some of the best choruses in thrash history.

This according to me is not only the best thrash metal album ever recorded but also one of the best album recorded in all of metal. Hence I recommend this album to any one listening to heavy metal. This may not be the most extreme record ever, but the song writing, riff construction, rhythm section, and execution is really outstanding. Hence I will conclude that you waste no time in adding this stellar album to your collection and I hope you will never regret your decision.

Putting souls in coma since 1990 - 95%

avidmetal, December 23rd, 2009

By the turn of the new decade, Kreator had already put out more than a few thrash metal classics at this point. They all had top quality instrumentals, The sharpest guitar riffs, The fastest drumming and great production. But what they seriously lacked was in the vocals and lyrics department. You could see Mille writing good lyrics in his previous albums, It's just that his accent wasn't good enough. He still had his powerful screechings but the impact of the lyrics was softened.

So what's the big step up on this album?. I think Petrozza took some english classes here and maybe even took some help from people fluent in english. Maybe his english just improved. The lyrics are certainly Impactful and intelligent. They will leave an impression in your minds. His vocals are not as annoying anymore, His vocals are less harsher and this time he tries to sing everything unlike in 'Terrible certainty' where he just uttered out the last words in a line. The production values on this one are mind blowing to be honest. The Drums just sound perfect, They are damaging and don't have the weak 'click' sound that Exodus and Overkill had at this point of time. The vocals feel raw and fresh and aren't over produced like you see on Megadeth's albums in the 90's.

'When the sun burns red' embodies all the best qualities of german thrash metal, We have really technical and intricate guitar work, The breakdowns are original, The lyrics go out to prove a point, The solos are technical masterpieces. Mille's an excellent guitarist as he's always been. While Sodom can be too unoriginal at times and Destruction can sound too american. Kreator fly the flag of German thrash metal very high. The title track is a classic kreator song, like the ones found in 'Extreme aggression'. The lyrics are politically charged without being funny like Sodom. The drumming, Well what can i say?. This isn't the fastest or the hardest drumming I've seen but they way sound through the speakers is perfect. The production on this album beats that of the more popular thrash bands at this time.

'Agents of brutality' and 'Twisted urges' are the two best tracks on this album. The lyrics deal with slavery of a girl by the evil organisations. Twisted urges has a really good breakdown and the solo here is a good one, Mille's vocals express the horror of being captured, tortured and beaten etc.

Best thrash album of the 90's?, Could be. Most bands adopted a commercial approach by this time and Kreator where no different. Their albums after this one are far more simpler and influenced by bands like Pantera and machine head. Pretty much everything they produced in the 85-90 period is a classic, With coma of souls being the best of them all. If you enjoy Thrash Metal with dark lyrics, Harsh vocals and grim political and philosophical themes, It doesn't get better than "Coma of Souls".

Wish I had more albums like this - 100%

Shadow_of_Elune, March 4th, 2009

Now, that’s how a band reaches the top. I’m not talking about albums sold, popularity or anything like that, but quality and the impact the music can cause on a fan of the genre. Anyone that likes thrash should listen to this one. I hope I make myself clear why they should with this review.

Coma of Souls is their best album and it is on the top five best thrash albums ever. There are no flaws here. The band has grown on a musical level that very few bands can compete.

First notable thing here is that riffs are better than ever and there’s a strong use of melody, which makes this album very diverse. Second thing you should note is Mille. He has improved his voice and vocal melodies. Some of his most memorable choruses are here (‘Coma of Souls’, ‘When the Sun Burns Red’).

Lyrically with have a winner. There are no more problems with grammar or childish lyrics that you would find on the first two albums. Compared to the previous two (”Terrible Certainty” and “Extreme Aggressions”) it is also better. Check out ‘People of the Lie’ for a strong use of lyrics.

Bass is not really the highlight here, but in ‘Hidden Dictator’ it assumes a far more important play. On other songs it just fits perfectly to the music. Drums are far more audible. Ventor gives us an impeccable performance and even better than on “Extreme Aggressions”.

Songs structures are also very good. For example, ‘World Beyond’ and ‘Twisted Urges’ are short songs, which is important because they are very fast speed/thrash assault and would get boring with four or five minutes. ‘When the Sun Burns Red’, ‘Terror Zone’ and ‘Mental Slavery’, on the other hand, are bigger but much more developed.

Then there’s another great thing: soloing. Very few thrash bands have come up with albums that had so great solos. This is an exception.

Best songs? All of them. It really just depends on your taste. If you’re into straightforward thrash ‘bang your head against the stage’, you should be pleased with a couple of songs here. If you’re into more developed thrash with some cool melodies, you would like too. If you’re into both (like me), then you realize this is something special. That simple.

Rifforama madness - 96%

NocturneFreeze, January 31st, 2009

Everyone's always talking of the Pleasure to Kill album, or the Endless Pain. Personally I think they're fucking wrong. Those two were incredibly great thrash releases, but like every other release, they have to bow down towards this champion of thrash. Everything that thrash stands for is used, and perfected in this album.

Although I don't like to combine music with math, I have to say that each song on here has more riffs than a Killswitch Engage (or Metallica if anything) album ever had. Some are lighting fast, looking more like the riffs Endless Pain had while some are somewhat slower, like Outcast (with the difference that Coma of Soul's riffs are actually fucking awesome and brutal as hell). The difference in speed is just the diversity this album needs, and it works very well.

There is this gem called People of the Lie, which is quite slow compared to the usual thrash songs. It's still very headbangeable, and destroying your house still works fine with this song. Terror Zone and Mental Slavery are the other slow-paced tracks. That means that the other 7 are fast, and fast they fucking are. There are still slower breakdowns and bridges in those songs, but generally the songs feel like a riot gun sticked in your heart with the trigger pushed relentlessly.

Although the album is brutal as fuck, it's also quite the melodic one. Intro's of Terror Zone, Twisted Urges and When the Sun Burns Red are all about the melodies but it is the solo's you should care for. This album contains some of the greatest thrash solo's ever. Just listen to the second part of Coma of Soul and feel the adrenaline spouting out of your eyeballs.

This release is not only unique of it's original way to combine the melodies and the pure thrash but also in quality. No song is less good than decent, and the first 7 songs are anthems that belong in the great book of thrash. Yeah, it's THAT good.

Recommended tracks: Agents of Brutality, Coma of Souls, When the Sun Burns Red, People of the Lie, World Beyond, Terror Zone, Material World Paranoia

The last 3 songs are also great

Caw Caw Caw! Cawma of Souls - 90%

Acrobat, June 15th, 2008

That’s right, someone left a window open and Mille is being savaged by a disgruntled crow! But little did they know that this aviary-come-studio related mishap would contribute to one of the best thrash albums around. Technical, yet not for the sake of it, Kreator’s ‘Coma of Crows’ is one of the highlights of the whole thrash scene, hell, I’ll even let them off for technically being members of Thrash for Conserving the Rainforest. What does the rainforest have to do with thrash? Do the weird-cong live there?

This is the first album to feature the rather trouser tightening combination of Mille and Frank ‘Blackfire’ Gosdzik. I must say they do an excellent job and deliver some memorable riffs and solos. Perhaps, Mr Blackfire is more suited to Kreator’s technical, melodic yet still savage approach to thrash as he never seemed truly content with Sodom’s more austere slant on the genre. The leads are particularly of note and certainly aren’t merely playing second fiddle to bludgeoning riffola. It’s not just a calculated and sterile shred-fest either, the solos contribute to the over all conflict, drama and tension of the album, ‘When the Sun Burns Red’ being a particularly excellent example of this, as the leads break through the stormy onslaught of riffs like a brilliant sunshine. So yes, they make me thing of pleasant Sunday afternoons in the park feeding the crows…CAW CAW! Technicality, is thankfully never overdone, this isn’t one of Chuck Schuldiner’s unadulterated wankathons. Even better is this is a technical album which actually manages moments of great atmosphere, those storm clouds in ‘When the Sun Burns Red’ being a particularly spine-tingling moment and recalling what is quite possibly the most metal moment ever in ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

In terms of quality ‘Coma of Souls’ never really lets up at all, riff after riff, the scars I bare are the wounds of thrash! ‘When the Sun Burns Red’, a cautionary tale of the dangers of global warming, is a clear winner. Although I can’t say I care much for its lyrical sentiment. I live in Yorkshire, melting polar icecaps and such will only flood the south, creating some sort of Atlantis out of all those chimney sweeps, Lords and Ladies, with their manor houses soon to be a haven for all sorts of colourful sea life; the mighty cod! The exquisite fish finger! The fierce haddock! The triumphant whiting! Hail to thee British sea life! Anyway, it’s a marvellous song, setting the tone for the rest of the album with brisk and breezy riffing (it’s about the weather, I can use weather girl terms!). ‘Agents of Brutality’ is another clear stand out with the sing-along refrain of ‘Manic! Panic!’ and frantic riff work. ‘Coma of Souls’ is the most straight ahead thrash metal song here, and all the more effective for it. Mille’s vocal patterns are particularly pleasing in this one- lethal, vicious and effortlessly catchy. ‘People of the Lie’ has some quirky parallel harmonised riffs that rather than somewhat gimmicky as Death’s approach, actually make for a great listen. Also of note is that Carcass would lift the chorus from this song into their own ‘Heartwork’ and one can be sure Mr Steer and Amott lent their ears to Mille and Frank’s twin guitar approach.

Detractors of this album, strange fellows they are, rely on a comparison to Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ albums. I never really got a strong Metallica vibe here, one of the riffs does sound similar to the title track of ‘Ride the Lightning’ but other than that nothing jumps out and screams Metallica. Also, stating a Metallica comparison as a negative thing is ignoring the fact that those records, despite Lars Ulrich being one of the most evil men in existence and a complete moral despot, are actually good. So borrowing from them effectively is hardly a bad thing. If anything the unashamed technicality combined with a brevity in song length is a nod to Megadeth’s more agile approach. ‘Coma of Souls’ is the perfect partner to Megadeth’s proficient and much loved ‘Rust in Peace’. But whatever the influence ‘Coma of Souls’ is far from a bland thrash album, if it was wouldn’t it be Korma of Souls?

In short ‘Coma of Souls’ is a fine thrash album, it turned me into a far greater Kreator fan than I once was. It’s an exercise in technically proficient state of the art thrash and while it may lack, ahem, some of the extreme aggression of say ‘Pleasure to Kill’, it makes up for it with stronger song craft and a more acute sense of melody…but don’t take my word for it, Mr Crow?

CAW!

Polished Extreme Aggression equivalent part 2 - 95%

morbert, August 29th, 2007

One could say on this album Kreator made the least progress compared to the previous release. They only slightly improved some elements. Especially the production. The sole reason this album is not my favorite Kreator album is because Extreme Aggression was slightly more aggressive and had a less polished sound. Apart from that almost everything is perfect on Coma Of Souls save a few lesser interesting songs.

The first 5 songs are all brilliant. ‘When The Sun Burns Red’ is a typical up tempo opener. Fast, catchy and filled with riffs and great leads. Welcome to Frank Blackfire. ‘Coma Of Souls’ is an excellent sing-along title track. ‘People Of The Lie’ however is the best mid paced song Kreator has ever written in their career. Hell, the chorus was so good even British gods Carcass actually stole the essence for their own song ‘Heartwork’!

One thing you can’t deny about ‘World Beyond’ is that the song sounds happy. There’s something funny about it. The vocal line, the polka beat. It’s a happy tune but a good one. This is followed by ‘Terror Zone’ which compositionally is reminiscent of People Of The Lie approach but has more up tempo moments, is slightly extended and to be honest a highlight of Kreator’s career.

The second half of the album is superb as well but not with the same grandeur as the first half. ‘Agents of Brutality’and ‘Material World Paranoia’ just continue the awesome thrash metal assault and I’ve always had a soft spot for the incidentally groovy ‘Hidden Dictator’.

What can I say, it is their second best album ever and I wonder if that will ever change.

The best thrash from 1990 - 95%

Human666, April 6th, 2007

In 1990 the thrash scene had almost completely died. Band A sounds exactly as band B which sounds like band C which sounds exactly like almost everything else out there. There was nothing new to create, and except for the pioneer bands and some really outstanding cases, the thrash was full with unimaginative bands which did the same idea but always in a more boring way and sounded like a second rate poor imitations for themselves. But then we got Kreator, which released in that year their best album after a series of some serious killers thrash monsters.

This album is a really classy one. The production- flawless, the riffs- creative, the vocals- merciless, the drumming- brutal as hell! I mean, there is nothing bad with this album, it sounds like the final step in the development of a great musicians with a pretty creative minds, and the result is far beyond brilliance or outstanding album, here it's a fucking great one with a unique feeling and different mind which really sounds like something else and inventive.

'When the Sun Burns Red' begins with clean guitars in a mysterious interlude which suppose to prepare you for a massive attack of brutal riffs and total mania, you know, it's like the calm before the flood in a way, then the distorted guitars comes in and a thrilling scream cut the air and the thrashing annihilation begins!
Each moment is excellent, each riff sound like it were written punctually, each note sounds like it has been placed in his perfect position after a long thought and they all creates together a flawless riffs. 'Coma Of Souls' begins with a catchy power chords riff and then it becomes much faster with some buzzsaw riffs which sounds piercing and overwhelming. In 2:39 there is a great lead break, which sounds pretty shreeding and then becomes more melodic in the end. Then there is a cool tempo break and the song becomes more moderate with some palm muted riffs, and then it returns to the great main riff with some creepy screams: "COMA OF SOULS!!"

The vocals are pretty evil, Petrozza has a voice which sounds like half low grunt death metal growl and half black metal scream, and he still sounds clear and you can understand the lyrics pretty well. The lyrics are also have a real meaning.
'People Of The Lie' is an anti nazi song and Petrozza doesn't hide his opinions about them ("you are to me the waste of flesh and blood ").

Another worth description track is 'Terror Zone'. It's the longest track here (6 minutes) and has the darkest atmosphere in the album! It begins with a riff which sounds like the apocalypse, then it becomes more aggressive with a moderate riff and some backing guitars and then it becomes a merciless killer! It has a great drums work and excellent riffs, and also there are some great shredding solos and then it takes a full speed ahead in 250BPM and then slowly backs to the first riff in 80BPM and then it's over...damn, you must listen to this stuff! it's absolutely one of the best thrash songs ever!

If you never heard thrash before, take this album first and listen to it carefully!
It's definitely not for wimps or posers because it's has unstoppable riffing which will blow them away till the terror zone...and than the whole way back!

Highlights: 'When The Sun Burns Red", "People Of The Lie, "World Beyond, "Terror Zone" and "Material World Paranoia".

Coma of Souls!!!!! - 97%

JunaidKhan, February 17th, 2006

This is Kreator at it's peak. This album is the result of years of striving to reach a certain point on the part of Kreator. Although the previous albums were excellent in their own right, Coma of Souls takes it to another level altogether. Even Kreator itself cound not produce anything better than this.

This album consists of 9 of the best Thrash tracks you'd ever get to hear. The formula is simple - Thrashy but paced intros to every song, followed by fast, relentless riffs. Add in some mind-blowing solos with bends coming in from all over the place - what more would you want? Although the formula is the same for each track, as it has been with almost all Kreator albums, every track is unique. This is another thing that makes this album great. Too many times, a lot of riffs in different songs start to sound similar but Kreator's managed to come up with great individual songs this time around.

The German-accent vocals are absolutely mind-blowing. Although you won't find as my growls as you did in Extreme Aggression, you won't be dissapointed here with the swift Blackish vocals. The drumming is up to the mark and is well co-ordinated with the guitars and that's evident from the first track with Coma of Souls.

All in all, this is a must-have for anyone who claims to have any interest in Thrash Metal. Although Thrash is, more or less, dead, they're albums like these that still make if a lot of people's favourite genre.

I don't care if Kreator hadn't musucally "moved forward" with this album because if you just give this a listen, you'd realize there was no need. This album is for REAL Thrashers, not poseurs.

One of the greatest albums ever recorded! - 92%

SideShowDisaSter, September 16th, 2005

Albums just don’t get much better than this. From start to finish, this is one of the greatest thrash albums ever. Ultra-heavy, blazing riffs with shredding solos combined with crushing bass licks and scorching drums make this one vicious recording. Mille’s vocals are outstanding, with him spitting, snarling and screaming like his life depended on it! There isn’t a single weak song to be found here. How do you even begin to review a masterpiece such as this, an album that every self-respecting metalhead should already have heard?

The first two tracks, When The Sun Burns Red and Coma Of Souls are speedy, bruising pieces. Both contain riffs upon riffs and solos of the highest caliber. They command you to bang your head! The drum work is amazing, with it’s precision and aggression. The music so unbelievably tight.

People Of The Lie is a personal favorite. I love the crushing feel. It’s mid-paced and heavy as a train loaded with steel. If that chorus doesn’t get stuck in your ear all day, you’re deaf. With that riff running behind it, it doesn’t just get in your head, it opens your skull up and climbs inside!

World Beyond goes back on the throttle, simply blitzing the listener with it’s speed. At just over 2 minutes, it is short but gets the job done. Caution, whiplash may ensue! It’s followed by Terror Zone, which kicks off with a somewhat melodic riff, while the bass and drums crash away. Nice drum fill afterwards leads into some chainsaw guitars and a stomping slower pace. Kreator uses a broad array of tempo changes throughout the song to keep it flowing along.

The highlight of the album for me is Agents Of Brutality. If one were giving away a truth in advertising award, this song would get it! The band come after you seemingly with the intention of beating the piss out of you with the music.

Material World Paranoia and Twisted Urges continue to pour on the speed and fury. Material World Paranoia is the longer of the two, and uses a few tempo changes throughout. It’s still a fast and furious track, though. Twisted Urges is shorter, at only 2:45, and has a mid-paced section right in the middle. As usual, the vocals are venomous and aggressive. Riffs just rip all over the place and the leads shred.

Hidden Dictator starts in with the bass thumping and a cool, heavy riff comes in over it. After about thirty seconds things turn deadly serious with some all-out moshing! I just can’t get enough of this stuff. I am a sucker for thrash!

Mental Slavery comes last, and it seeks to give you a final beating on the way out the door. The riff at the beginning is heavy and has a monster hook. Not quite as fast as some of the songs present, it’s still upbeat and heavy enough to smash bricks.

If you’ve never heard this album, you should be shot where you stand. This is cornerstone of the thrash genre. No one can call themselves a metalhead without having this album in their collection in SOME format.

Set your neck on autopilot, bitches - 90%

electric27, November 30th, 2004

You will be thrashing it around nonstop.

First of all, if I had to sum up this album in a few words: Fast, loud, guitar harmonies, killer vocals.

Most of my exposure to thrash vocals prior to listening to Coma of Souls is more in the vein of Steve Souza or Chuck Billy. DAMN! This is something else. They're kind of like BM vocals, but better. They're raw, they're raging, and articulate, for the most part. No studying the fucking liner notes so you can sing along here.

As per almost every thrash album in existence, this one has an intro with acoustic guitars. Then a distorted melody line... THEN DEATH AND PESTILENCE TO ALL! The riffs are fast, and have an odd atonal melody to them. I know "atonal melody" sounds complete nuts, but it makes total sense with this riffage. The opening track, When the Sun Burns Red, for me, is the biggest standout. Even the verse riffs kick ass, thats how good this song is. And the chorus riff is nuts. Then things slow down and solos rip your eyes out of your sockets and play ping pong with them.

The title track is pretty fucking sweet, too. Brutal opening riff. Did I mention you can hear the bass? You can. And it's nice and rumbly and stuff. It'll make your floor shake right good. The rhythm section is rounded out by fucking precise drumming. I mean laser guided missile into an air vent precise. The bass drum is tight without sounding like some fuckhead tapping on his desk in Calculus.

My only real complaint about this monster is that, in the end, it all goes by too quickly. It's fast, it's slow, it's heavy. It's fucking Kreator and they're the best thing to come out of Germany since Oktoberfest. Also, in some songs, like People of the Lie (which has an awesome drum fill in the middle), the vocals are a little too quiet. Oh yea, and People of the Lie has a killer melodic solo.

Perfection - 99%

radiohater, December 1st, 2003

The Scene

After rising to the top of the German Thrash scene with their first four albums, Kreator were riding high, even having a video for their song Betrayer in rotation. After parting ways with lead guitarist Jorg "Trizte" Trzeblatowski, they recruited ex-Sodom six-stringer Frank Blackfire (a.k.a. Frank Gosdzik) to record their followup album, Coma Of Souls

The Result

The result is arguably the best thrash album of all time! Slowing the tempo down slightly compared to their more frenetic previous works (Terrible Certainty in particular) made for the albility to make even more crazy riffing thatn they had attempted previously, resulting in a fast, ripping and vicious album that will kick your arse from start to finish.

The Cast

Miland "Mille" Petrozza (guitars, vocals) - Petrozza is in the finest form of his career, composing some of the most maniacal thrash riffs ever written, all tightly executed. His harsh growl seems a little more subdued on this release, but his screams are still as potent and bonechilling as ever.

Frank Blackfire (a.k.a. Frank Gosdszik) (guitars) - Frank takes a more melodic and structured approach than his predecessor Trzeblatowski, lending a nice counterpoint to the chaotic nature of the riffing.

Rob Fioretti (bass) - Rob prefers to play basic root notes rather than follow the guitars, and locks in with Ventor to produce a nice tight rhythm section.

Jurgen "Ventor" Reil (drums) - Ventor slows down slightly from his previous works. This results in a tighter performance. He also becomes more proficient in his use of double-bass drums, using them more often than in previous works.

The Sound

The production job is nice and clear, with the drums sounding clear and not drowned in hi-hat, guitars full and crunchy, a nice smooth lead tone with just a hint of reverb to make it fuller, and bass at a reasonable level.

Choice Cuts

When The Sun Burns Red - Starts off with a clean guitar intro which is very rarely heard from Kreator. Then the song starts up with Mille's piercing "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!" and it's on for young and old after that. Violent thrash riffing, numerous time changes and a nice melodic lead section from Blackfire leading into a dual lead section before a violent finish. A hellraising cut from start to finish.

Coma Of Souls - More of the same from Kreator, with fast obscenely precise picking, brilliant riffing, fast drumming and excellent melodic leads from Blackfire.

People Of The Lie - A mid paced number with an excellent headbanging riff and some genuinely searing work from Blackfire around the middle of the song

World Beyond - Short, vicious and efficient, Kreator waste no time beating the listener senseless with this murderous little cut.

Terror Zone - Starting off with a melodic twin-guitar intro, this cut seems more subdued than the other, only to pick up halfway through with some thoroughly brutal riffing and demented leadwork, and some of Mille's most caustic vocals on the disc.

Agents Of Brutality - Excellent fast paced work, but the best part is when it slows down for the chorus, which contains some nice double-bass from Ventor and one of the best riffs on the album. Also features a nice extended lead section.

Off Cuts

Not even one! All of the cuts on this album are violent and punishing and the album would probably be WORSE if any were removed.

Raw Sewage

Not on this album.

Pros

- Dangerously precise
- Whole band has never been more cohesive
- A more varied and tighter performance from Ventor
- Frank Blackfire's finest leads appear here

Cons

- Mille's voice may be a little off-putting

Closing Comments

To me, this is the be-all and end-all of thrash. Everything thrash should be. In short, BUY THIS ALBUM AND BUY IT NOW!!

The canonical example of riff madness - 93%

UltraBoris, August 8th, 2002

This album is the culmination of five years of Kreator's development into a riff producing monster with fangs. Their first album (Endless Pain) was pretty raw death-thrash, and then Pleasure to Kill stepped it up a notch with the riffs being very memorable. And they were undeniable classics. Then they went for a slightly less brutal sound, and the riff quality suffered a bit. Then, they came storming back. This one is not Pleasure - but the riffs are even fucking better! This is their thrashiest album, and their best.

There are really only 2 or 3 moments on the album which are NOT absolutely and amazingly awesome: some of Material World Paranoia starts off a bit silly, but dear Lord does it make up for it or what with that final riff set: "Promise of a better future is a lie!" [insert here probably the best riff on the album - total fucking headbanging material, feel free to run into walls and break your house into a million pieces too, it's allowed.] That right there is the greatest thrash riff ever written. Trust me. I did many hours of research (man, research fucking KICKS ASS!!) and I came to this conclusion in a scientific way.

Other highlights include Coma of Souls, Terror Zone (again, that final riff set... "God I'm all alone! Oh no!") and the absolutely incredible "People of the Lie". THIS right there is the thrash equivalent of "Hell Bent for Leather": short, sweet, and contains pretty much everything a thrash song needs to have. It's three minutes of headbanging that is sufficently furious as to cause orgasm.

In people five miles away.

And one more thing - the lead guitar on this album is practically flawless. It's almost Tipton/Downing at work here sometimes. Best lead guitar on a thrash album, ever. Usually lead takes a backseat to rhythm in thrash (notable exception: Heathen) but here the two are integrated flawlessly into awesome songs. No wankery, just memorable riffs and memorable solos. Just check out Agents of Painkiller. I mean Brutality.

Total fucking greatness here - if you had to only get one Kreator album (why you would do such a dumb thing is beyond me, but hey, for the sake of argument), it is this one.