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Released back in the glory days of thrash - that is, the mid-eighties - this was the REAL beginning of Teutonic thrash. Forget Infernal Overkill; even that masterpiece pales in comparison to the giant known as Endless Pain. Never before had a band taken their hatred and violence to such an astounding level. Fast, brutal, and above all, skilled musicianship abounds in this 1985 monster. There's no shortage of menacing riffs and shredding solos, the drumming suffocates, and the guitar and bass obliterate. All of this is possible due to a truly crushing production job.
The vocals in particular destroy everything in their path. Mille is Hell's equivalent of Jesus; he can be no other than the Devil incarnate. He's at his most demonic here, showing elements of what would become death and black metal, and on no other album does he sound so purely blasphemous. His growling is made all the more frightening by the fact that one can still decipher the lyrics - which are, by the way, evil at its best. Unfortunately, he would lose a bit of the deathliness of his vocals on subsequent releases.
Each and every song is worth a listen (hell, they deserve WAY more than that), and no track is weaker than any other. The most memorable may be the title track, "Total Death," "Flag of Hate," "Tormentor," and "Bone Breaker." An honorable mention goes to "Dying Victims," which opens with a pretty interesting bass solo.
The guitar solos are somewhat atypical for shredders; they are actually highly memorable. Some are fairly long, which in this case is a huge plus. They're extremely intricate and equally deadly and effective. This album's solos are some of the best thrash has to offer, which is saying a lot in a genre known for its solos. Rob Fioretti deserves major credit for his bass playing. Instead of quietly following the guitar as bass players are prone to do in metal, he plays fairly loud and independently, sometimes rivaling the guitar itself. The drumming is also very sound. Always precise, always powerful, Ventor redefines just how fast and how well one can play the drums. The instrumentation along with Mille's Satanic vocal delivery adds up to a completely devastating listening experience.
Endless Pain marks the beginning of a five-album trend of nearly perfect brutal thrash metal. From here all the way up to Coma of Souls, Kreator would make a name for themselves as the head of the death/thrash movement. Though they later became a band of inconsistent quality, for now they were at the top of their game.