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Yes. I am serious when I give this album a 97. This album was released in 1999, when thrash metal had pretty much been dead for 8 or 7 years. We had Destruction's ABSOLUTELY APPALLING "The Least Successful Human Cannonball" as well as Megadeth's "Risk," and Metallica's "Load" and "ReLoad." Now, is this a thrash metal album? No, not really. It is a gothic/industrial metal album with a small trace of thrash, but the thrash influence on here is only the leftover residue of burning marijuana in the bowl after it has been smoked. So basically, only one "hit" of thrash is left on here. That certainly does not make it bad in any way, and is not all that surprising. A lot of thrash metal bands in the 1990's were changing their sound. Kreator had been changing their sound since 1992's album "Renewal," which showcased a much more industrial sound. However, in 1995 on their album "Cause for Conflict," they brought back more of their thrash metal roots and introduced another new influence in their sound: groove metal. The groove influences would continue onto their next album, 1997's "Outcast," and seemingly disappear for the most part on their master piece of a follow up which is their next album, and this album: "Endorama."
With the starting track of the album, "Golden Age," we get a little taste of the overall direction of the entire album. It is minimalist, with very catchy riffs and some melodic clean singing. The song starts off with a beautiful synth passage, definitely adding an industrial sound to the song. Songs like "Shadowland" and "Willing Spirit" also contain an ultra-catchy sound, but they are not really at all cheesy. This is catchy as in darkly melodic, and atmospheric. If Kreator started out this way, they would be among the gothic metal elite, with bands such as Type O Negative, Charon, and For My Pain. That being said, Kreator's thrash albums are generally much better than this, so I personally believe it is good that they started as a thrash band, and then released this....even know it has received a lot of backlash from fans. Kreator is able to capture the darkness very well in this album. The chorus on the song "Chosen Few" is kind of dull and odd, but it still sounds decent with Mille's great clean singing. This song beautifully merges into the next track, "Everlasting Flame," which is a very good song, with meaningful and emotional lyrics. This song basically narrates someone's life, I think, as it tells the story of someone as they move through life. And, on this album, Mille's clean vocals are imperative. They almost MAKE the album what it is, very dark and melodic metal. The song "Tyranny" is definitely a perfect closer, with its melancholic riffs, that are very catchy (I know I have said that many times in this review, but it's very true).
Lyrically, I personally think Kreator has always been fairly average. Angry lyrics take up a lot of this band's previous discography, which, in all honesty, is to be expected with thrash metal. On here, the lyrics take a shit. They generally go into misery, darkness, pain, emotion....rather than the band's previous lyrical concepts. Here is a sample of lyrics from the track "Pandemonium" :
And now you know the answer
And now you see the truth
Swallow this bitter pill
As all religion dies for you
And all the things that happened
In all those times long gone
Gave birth to life like lies
Now, Kreator on this album is still expressing their anti-religious views, obviously. However, that is always to be expected. The lyrical ideas do not drift too far away, but it seems that the lyrics are even darker on this album, which suits the music more. And speaking of "Pandemonium," there is a beautiful solo in it, and as a previous reviewer stated about that melody in the beginning resembling Iron Maiden's "Fear of the Dark," that's pretty much right on. In fact, Kreator went for a very much NWOBHM influenced sound on this album. There are some beautiful keyboard parts on here, too. The song "Entry" is a beautiful key interlude. However, it's placement on the album is somewhat unfortunate, as it melds into one of the worst song on the album: "Soul Eraser." This song could have been left off of the album. Whenever Mille chants "SOUL ERASER," I just have to shake my head. The first half of the album definitely contains the finest tracks on here, but ironically, the best track on here is the final: "Tyranny." Full of beautiful gothic metal-like melodies and riffs. It leaves the listener wondering what he/she just experienced, whether he/she likes this offering from Kreator or not....
Well, this listener does. I think it is fantastic. Sure, not quite as good as the band's thrash albums (but it kicks the SHIT out of the three albums before it. Especially "Cause for Effect" and "Renewal."). Would I recommend this to thrash metal fans? No. Would I recommend this to fans of a darker, more emotional style of metal, such as melodic death metal, doom metal, and of course, gothic metal? Yes Now, I would also recommend it to industrial metal fans. Solid record, meant for open minded people. It unfortunately gets a lot of shit, because many thrash fans' minds are closed tighter than a virgin's cunt. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of thrash, but I am very open minded. I do, however, think it is good that they returned to thrash on their follow up album: 2001's "Violent Revolution," because if they did not return to thrash, they would not release the album that is making 2012 such a good year for metal: "Phantom Antichrist." Thank you, Kreator.