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By 1988, Kreator had already become a respected popular band among thrash fans, the most successful German act after releasing 3 legendary records that inspired thousands of new groups. Terrible Certainty was particularly a huge improvement from their primitive early sound, keeping the characteristic predilection of these guys for speed and aggression combined with a more advanced level of technique. The addition of Tritze (aka Jörg Trzebiatowski) definitely provided Kreator’s music of bigger consistency and sense. The Teutonic thrashers became more challenging and professional since the old mid-80’s demos, able to face the end of the decade with a splendid line-up. Extreme Agression would be another highlight in their discography, preceded by this EP, which was an honest prelude of great things to come.
The only new studio cut here, “Impossible To Cure”, might disappoint those who were expecting more Teutonic raging thrash. It’s a more casual basic tune, lacking pretention and complication, though still amusing and effective. Well, some riffs get pretty thrashy but the tune is mostly vocal-based, giving lyrics more attention and presence over the humble instrumental configuration. The solo is direct, truly simple unlike most pickin’ parts of the previous release. Certainly, Kreator ain’t making a big effort, either making use of all their potential as musicians and song-writers, just playing cool music deprived of the admirable power, intensity and decent difficulty of previous attempts. “Impossible To Cure” seems to combine the simplicity of hardcore influences with the sophistication and melody of the early 80’s British movement. Actually, the couple of NWOBHM covers here came as no surprise, after all Tygers Of Pan Tang’s “Gangland” is also a straight song constructed with no supreme technique or progression, though undoubtedly solid. Mille & co.’s version offers no peculiar changes or alterations from the original. Of course, John Deverill’s sweet elegant voice has nothing much to do with Mr. Petrozza’s distinctive vocal style, but instrumentally the composition remains untouched and uninventive, even the solo is intended to sound nearly the same (lacking inevitably the magic of John Sykes). So the cover isn’t spectacular or creative, on other hand the band’s choice was unexpected in some way because “Gangland” is a rather melodic accessible track with pretty insistent choruses, a methodology in absolute contrast with Kreator’s policy of brutality and velocity. Raven’s classic “Lambs To The Slaughter” is much more thrashy and raw, closer to the essence of the subgenre, a cover that definitely proves Mille & the boys know their roots.
The rest of songs on the EP are live, a good bonus for those who had been waiting to check out some stuff performed on stage by these guys, because that’s what can prove the real potential and skills of a group, away from studio tricks. There are epic versions of classics as “Awakening Of The Gods” or “Riot Of Violence”, which beat the studio originals totally, even though Kreator’s performance is far from precise or immaculate. At times, they sound completely noisy and uncontrolled, though the songs come out remarkably in general, with each member contributing to build that solid wall of sound. Specially, Mille & Tritze make a terrific combination; mostly synchronized with great precision, supported by the humble effective Ventor-Rob rhythm section, which as usual defines the tempos with no incredible skills or astonishing details (this kind of music doesn’t require perfection to sound good). Mille’s voice is however, the most notable handicap, quite sloppy and weak, not only on the live numbers of the EP, the studio stuff features his voice exhausted. Although his memorable screaming trying to emulate John Gallagher’s crazed falsetto on “Lambs To The Slaughter” is an honest effort we should appreciate. The sound quality of those live titles is unfortunately an even bigger weak spot. I first thought this material came from a bootleg recording, so we had to wait many years (excluding the infamous We Give You Pain) for a decent live album, these 3 cuts weren’t enough to satisfy but at least the fans could enjoy some refreshing material that made the wait for the new upcoming record Extreme Aggression not so long.
Out Of The Dark…Into The Light might not be as acclaimed and memorable as other unforgettable Teutonic thrash EPs as Destruction’s Mad Butcher or Sodom’s Expurse Of Sodomy, but it was an entertaining prelude to the superb Extreme Aggression, including some decent material the fans shouldn’t ignore. It proved these guys could be as convincing on stage as on the studio, also made clear which their true roots were, no doubt about the essential influence Raven and Tygers Of Pan Tang had on the subgenre. Although curiously, the EP artwork has become iconic and more remembered than the music itself...
With the unbridled success of their Pleasure to Kill and Terrible Certainly albums, spreading the name of Kreator far and wide across the seas, it's not unreasonable to expect a certain amount of exploitation, and thus something like this Out of the Dark...Into the Light EP was born. It's pretty run of the mill as far as the typical 80s short form. Throw on a new song to tantalize the fans, a cover, and then some live content, and that's really all we're given here. Sadly, the new song "Impossible to Cure" is wholly lackluster, with nothing on any of the Terrible Certainty material aside from its cleaner production. Seriously, if this was scrapped for those sessions, I would not be surprised. Busy though it is, there are really only 1-2 choice riffs, and while Mille's delivery of the predictable chorus is functional, there's just nothing special here like a "Blind Faith", "One of Us" or "Storming With Menace".
The cover of Raven's "Lambs to the Slaughter" (from their 1981 album Rock Until You Drop) is arguably superior than the Kreator original here, if only because it's fun. That said, hearing Mille try and bust out the scream at around :45 is pretty laughable. Also, the song shares that very clean, unassuming production of "Impossible to Cure", which is a foreshadowing to the band's next album, Extreme Aggression, which, though good, was a bit of a disappointment to one such as I, so in rapture for Terrible Certainty's twisted, violent, carnal hooks. The live cuts here actually sound a little sloppy, though clear through the mixing board. You get "Terrible Certainty", "Riot of Violence" and the lengthy "Awakening of the Gods", and of these I'd say that the obvious favorite is "Riot of Violence". A few of the riffs in "Terrible Certainty" sound off in the live setting, though "Awakening of the Gods" isn't bad.
If you've got the European version, you'll get a few more lives in "Flag of Hate", "Love Us or Hate Us", and "Behind the Mirror", the second of which is a newer song from the Extreme Aggression album. Yet other editions include another NWOBHM cover, that of Tygers of Pan Tang's "Gangland", which is about the same quality as the Raven. Obviously, if you're collecting this and have the choice, get the one with the most tracks, but the overall value is still weak when you can just invest the money towards one of the band's legendary full-lengths, or perhaps a concert ticket next time they swing through your area. Aside from the somewhat iconic cover image, there's nothing tremendously exciting or worthwhile here to splurge upon.
EPs can be a very strange thing. For me there are 3 categories of EPs. The first category is a EP is one that acts like a mini LP. These "mini LPs" can be a EP full of all new studio recorded material or an EP of all new live material. The second catagory of EPs is what I like to refer to as the 'glorified single'. By this I mean the EP contains one song off of a LP along with a some new material (studio or live) exclusive to the EP release (usually more unique material than what would be considered a single). The third type of EP is the what I like to refer to as the 'mish-mash' EP. This is an EP just thrown together of new studio recordings, live recordings, and other odds and ends. Kreator's "Out of the Dark...Into the Light" EP is one of these 'mish-mash' releases.
These mish-mash EPs are usually my least favorite kind. The reason is because they just feel thrown together with no thought. They take a few studio tracks, a few live tracks and just thrown them together, release an EP a what seems to be a quick cash grab. Though this is a mish-mash EP, I still like it better than most out there (as opposed to..let's say...Testament's Return to Apocalyptic City).
The reason I like it is because the new studio tracks exclusive to this release are really good. The EP opens up with the song 'Impossible to Cure'. This song sounds just like material present on Kreator's album Terrible Certainty (the precursor album to this EP.) This makes it a good thing that this EP was added as bonus tracks to the remastered release of that album. My guess is that this song was recorded during that albums recording session and was either cut or left out on purpose with the possibility of making it appear on a "cash & grab" EP. I can't imagine it was cut because it is a good song. Nice 'groovy' riff and fast lyrics (Mille almost sounds like he has a hard time keeping up). The only thing wrong with this track is that it only clocks in at 2:40. Too damn short! The second track is also a studio recording which is a cover of Raven's Lamb to the Slaughter. This is a really good cover and it's thankfully over 3 minutes. Apparently the original vinyl release contained a third studio track which was a cover of Tygers of Pan Tang's Gangland. This song sadly is not on the CD release of the EP. Die-Hard Kreator fans make this song sound 'godly' so it's a shame it's not included anymore. I have not heard the song (as I have this EP on CD) so I cannot make any comments on it.
After the two studio tracks e get 3 live recordings of 'Terrible Certainty', 'Riot of Violence', and 'Awakening of the Gods'. The live recording of these tracks is pretty good (the drums are the low point' but the two new studio tracks really make this EP.
Upon hearing this EP it seems Kreator was confused. It seems that they weren't certain whether they wanted to release an EP full of new studio recordings or an EP of a live concert so they mashed it together. I would have much more preferred an EP of new studio recordings or a live concert as opposed to this. For one thing it would have been awesome to have an EP full of studio recorded cover songs as Lambs to the Slaughter rocked and from what I hear so did the cover of Gangland
As it is it's still a nice EP to have for Kreator fans as the new studio tracks are good but it's definitely not a must have. The price of this EP on CD is the same price a full length album and there just isn't enough great material on this to warrant the price so I would've been a little disappointed. However since the EP is now included as bonus tracks on the remastered edition of Terrible Certainty it's more forgivable.
This one really takes me back to my skater days, back when life was simpler and joy could be found just hanging out in my room writing zombie stories whilst Kreator, Death and Dark Angel blasted from my boom box(I had actually yet to discover Overkill until late in '88). Over the years there have been several pressings of this half live, half b-side ep from the German death metal Gods, but this review is of the original, which I was only recently able to find on CD a couple years ago.
I had the Noise/Futurist re-issue with bonus tracks from the early '90's on CD, but that re-issue also cut one of my favorite tracks off, for some reason. The original pressing featured six tracks; three were b-side recordings, including a Godly rendition of the Tygers of Pantang classic 'Gangland,' as well as three live tracks from the band's 1988 appearance at the Dynamo club in Eindhoven, Holland.
The three live tracks are the better mixed and produced of the six songs, and include for the only time in my huge Kreator kollection, a full live version of 'Awakening of the Gods,' one of my top ten of all time songs from my favorite band, which originally appeared on the phenomonal 'Flag of Hate' ep in '86. The three studio tracks, which also include the short but relentless 'Impossible to Cure' and 'Lambs to the Slaughter,' which I believe is another cover because none of the Kreator band members had a hand in writing it, and Allmusic.com has nothing to suggest otherwise.
Oddly enough, despite the listed order of material on the CD, unlike the cassette, the live songs appear first, followed by the studio tracks. Again, no big deal, but just a little quirk.
I say not great because I have seen what Kreator is capable of, through all their albums, numerous bootlegs, and seeing them live as well. That being said..
The production is standard, sounds like a good bootleg or something. The drum sound is pretty bad, it sounds like Jurgen's snare is a trash can lid or something of the like. I guess he didn't fix his trigger before they started. Bass drum work, sloppy, like Smith on Human Waste, off time consistently. The guitar playing is rather sloppy, namely on Tritze's part. Sloppiest live playing i have EVER heard, it actually embarasses me when I listen to it. Mille's vocals as well, sloppy, it sounds like Tom Angelripper back in the mid 80's. He kinda just doesn't aim for the mic very well, all you hear often is him shouting what it seems like 100 feet away, and even then, he sounds pretty drunk as well. The bass you can't really hear.. which isn't really vital in this band anyways.
It would have been nice to get a solid recording from these guys in their prime, because they really do kick so much ass. I suppose only a nostalgic Kreator fan would really like this, so if you are just getting into the band, or just getting into metal, don't bother.