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1986 was the year when sonic violence of thrash reached its culmination. Many legendary albums were made by that time, some extremely bestial and merciless. Still nowadays, the influence of those releases has a tremendous impact on many modern bands. Endless imitations have been made, but nobody ever achieved the level of records like this. Kreator became that year one of the most influential European metal groups ever, after these killer songs made thousands of thrashers break their necks. Teutonic metallers showed no mercy from the beginning and made clear which was the place where the most fierce thrash was made. Nobody else did it this way. And the cover painting of this LP says it all...
“Endless Pain” was already a solid promising debut, featuring that pure early noisy thrash sound of the middle-80’s. For this record, Kreator would use those same ways and would follow the same direction, although it’s obvious these cuts are stronger musically and slightly more elaborated. From the very first minutes of this album (well, right after the “Choir Of The Damned” intro is over), the outstanding aggression of massive riffing and insatiable velocity of Mille and co. is gonna blow you out. “Ripping Corpse”, “Pleasure To Kill”, “Death Is Your Saviour”...what a beginning! I dont think much bands did something so straight, relentless and incredibly harsh before. A lot of emphasis is put by the band on, basically, the powerful exhibition of riffs, hooks, uncontrolled pickin’ parts and, of course, frantic velocity and blast beats. No melody, no sophistication, no time for games; this is total neck-breaking thrash. I admit some of the arrangements might sound primitive, simple, and the instrumental performance is not particularly technical nor advanced (at times chaotic). As long as their music achieves certain consistency and decent solidity, I don’t mind perfection is not reached, though. However, these guys concentrate also on the many lenghty instrumental passages, not only on the riffs. “Carrion” or “Riot Of Violence” demonstrate the efficient skills of the group, including several inspired riff series that vary and progress along with the many rhythm changes, defining convincing breaks, bridges; creating rich instrumental sequences. So as you can see, they didn’t let everything hanging on a couple of easy riffs and speed. On other hand, they don’t really make something amazingly technical here. I doubt that was their intention. Their ambition is rather focused on making something heavy, brutal, not necessarily complex.
This album was a great success, in its own way. It didn’t sell billions of copies and didn’t really meant a huge improvement of the band’s sound. But that doesn’t matter: this material is honest, raw, fresh, and made Kreator reach the status of cult underground group. Compared to later releases, of course it sounds primitive. We shouldn’t forget we got a very young band in this record (How old were they? Maybe 20?), so the lack of experience and maturity was inevitable. However, I’m sure these guys had been practicing a lot, taking the song-writing task pretty seriously, as some of these tracks ambitious instrumental passages demonstrate. They could have made it more simple, dirty and scruffy, but Mille and the boys made clear what they wanted, how they wanted it from the beginning. Technique, complexity, difficulty, to get something complicated, avoiding simplicity and mediocrity. That was their goal. Step by step, they’d finally find that own characteristic sound they were looking for. This album is still stuck in some enjoyable cliches of the mid-80’s thrash, but it was a necessary phase to reach next level. The lyrics are one of the elements here that make the result so amusing. Predictable, evil and wicked, no other issues would’ve fitted the brutal nature of these numbers better. The infernal voices of Mille and Ventor were ideal, properly grotesque and intense to make those sinister words sound believable, serious. Mr. Petrozza took all guitar duties on this LP, so he deserves some recognition and credits for that great job. Just like what happened with Death after their debut, the decision of including a second guitarist made their music evolve and improve. But I must say guitar lines here are completely solid, well-executed with Mille very inspired and confident. His talent and creativity were splendid, although yeah, the solos are not extraordinary.
27 years after, this material sounds as fresh, violent and aggressive as before. Time doesn’t seem to affect the power of this stunning music. Still it’s one of the heaviest records ever made, a legendary masterpiece. And for sure, many future generations will love this. These songs changed the concept of thrash, but not only that subgenre. Without this album, there wouldn’t be extreme metal sounds as we know them now. Kreator were true pioneers, they set the rules of how brutality and aggression should be. I just hope this LP is not missing in your collection; otherwise, it’s obvious you won’t know what thrash is all about. Pleasure is guaranteed with old-school Teutonic records in general, but specially with this one.
Out of all the thrash albums from the 1980s that I have heard Pleasure to Kill was perhaps the least accessible with the tracks “Pleasure to Kill” and “Riot of Violence” being the only standout tracks amongst the wall of noise. However, the album grew on me and now I like all of the songs off of the album. I now consider it to be the best and my favorite thrash album of all time alongside Slayer’s Reign in Blood. In fact, in terms of intensity, Pleasure to Kill outdoes Reign in Blood.
A particular high mark of Pleasure to Kill is Jurgen Reil’s drumming which sounds kind of like a blastbeat you would hear in early Napalm Death or Mayhem due to how chaotic it is. Some people say that Reil’s drumming is not very precise and sloppy, but I by no means see this as a downside since the looseness of the drumming sounds faster and denser than say a clean precise metronome perfect beat. The engineer/producer of this album did a good job (or bad job depending on your tastes) of making the drums sound muffled and murky which serves to make the drums sound faster and crazier. I am a huge fan of the murky sound quality of early death metal albums recorded at Morrisound Recording, especially Suffocation’s Effigy of the Forgotten, which is one of the heaviest death metal albums ever.
Another high mark are the vocals, done by Mille Petrozza and Reil, which alongside Sodom’s Tom Angelripper are on the verge of being death/black metal in nature. Some say that Reil’s vocals are satisfactory compared to Mille’s vocals, but I would disagree greatly. Reil’s vocal performance is amazing on the three tracks he provides vocals for: “Riot of Violence” “Command of the Blade” and “Death is Your Savior.” The German accented vocals he delivers at blistering speeds with many of the words being slurred together really makes for an intense unique sound. Of course there is no argument to how guttural, raspy and heavy Mille’s vocals are particularly on “Carrion,” perhaps the least loved song of the album. Be sure to listen carefully to the vocals that begin at the 3:50 mark of the song where I think he gives his heaviest and best vocal performance of the album.
The guitars on this album are surprisingly catchy once you get into them because initially as I said before it was just a blistering indiscernible wall of noise upon the first few listens. Standout tracks in terms of catchiness are “Death is Your Savior,” “Ripping Corpse,” “Pleasure to Kill,” “Command of the Blade,” especially the main verse riff which begins at the 00:31 mark, and “Under the Guillotine." "The Pestilence" is the epic of the album being the longest song filled with a endless series of riffs. As a result "The Pestilence" will probably be the last song that one will get into since it trades in immediacy for length and complexity. As for the solos, they are probably going to take the most getting used to because of their sheer shrillness. Despite the tendency of the solos to have the same effect on your mind and body as someone raking their nails on a chalk board, they fit in well with the music and I cannot imagine any other type of soloing style working.
Though the bass guitar does not have any standout moments in terms of audible fills, breaks, or solos it accomplishes its job by thickening up Kreator’s sound. The bass guitar is also surprisingly audible throughout most of the album, one just has to listen a little carefully for it or focus their hearing on that part of the mix. This was surprising to me because I only noticed the bass guitar until after I had gotten really into the album and before then I did not even notice it or I assumed it was buried in the mix.
If you like 1980’s German thrash metal, this album is a must. However, first I would recommend checking out the other Teutonic thrash masterpieces, Sodom’s Persecution Mania and Destruction’s Infernal Overkill, to warm your ears up because Kreator’s masterpiece is much less accessible due to its speed and intensity.
"Pleasure To Kill' is truly a legend in the thrash world, not to mention one of Kreator's most popular. With a flurry of borderline-death metal aggression from beginning to end, you think I would consider it a classic most others define it as. Well, while certainly kickass as all get out, the repetitive nature of this bruiser just gets to be too much at times, not to mention...gulp...A LACK OF MEMORABLE RIFFS! AAAAAHH!!!!
But first, how do the Kreator boys fare this time around? For all intents and purposes, better. The, again, shared vocals of Ventor and Mille are quality thrash awesomeness, Ventor again going for loud, throaty shouting and Mille with his trademark raspy thrash growls. Ventor's drumming kicks all ass in his path; it sounds damn good in this crystal mix, with a certain technical flair to the teutonic jackhammering. Mille's guitar is still just okay; a step up from his work on "Endless Pain" but only just. It's a bit smoother and crunchy, but the guy could still use some work. Fioretti's bass is actually audible here. Even still, it's only okay, keeping that rhythm and heaviness steady and brutal.
The songs are good, but there are the problems I mentioned before. Admittedly, they sound great. This is a classic for a reason, beautifully bordering on that death metal viciousness in a time when most thrash wasn't quite close to this brutality and heaviness. Even still, the problem is that these songs are so fast and vicious that, unless you dissect them on a microscopic level, they all sound the damn same, not to mention the riffage isn't as catchy or as developed as those on the debut album. If one looks close enough, there is some headbanging to be had. The title track has this neat building melody buried in the chorus, while some hookiness can be found in the bloodthirsty chorus of the great "Corpse Ripper". "Riot of Violence", one of the album's more mid-paced but still very crushing moments, has more notable catchy riffs including some killer filler moments. The same applies for the mini-epic "The Pestilence", which comes packed with kicking time changes, going back and forth between "quieter" and hyper-brutal moments.
Overall, if you like to headbang, then look no further. This is good for metalheads who just wanna go fucking crazy and rip the universe a new one. But the highly repetitive songs and a severe shortage of memorable riffage make this one a bit hard to swallow despite the great heaviness. So yeah, it's overrated, but wicked all the same despite its notable flaws.
The year is 1986 and thrash had thrown up a lot of classics. If you were a thrash band looking to create extreme, fast yet listenable metal then it was too late, Slayer had set the bench mark with "Reign In Blood." As for Metallica "Master Of Puppets" though not the thrashiest record, had ambition and epicness in abundance. Dark Angel released "Darkness Descends" so fast, so furious, and never letting up, it was probably a little too much. So where could Kreator's second offering "Pleasure to kill" fit in amongst the lot?
If you ask me "Pleasure to kill" fits somewhere in between the infectious yet savage grooves of "Reign In Blood" and the innovating extemeties of "Darkness Descends." Kreator have somewhat achieved their own sound in a genre full of imitators and wanna-be's. But I have to be honest, when you venture more to the extreme side of the thrash metal spectrum it isn't everybody's cup of tea.
Choir of the damned is a good opener, eery but not entirely fitting. My favourite track is Riot of violence. There is an undeniably catchy riff in there, and a almost sing-along type chorus, dense but more anthem than a speed metal juggernaut. Pleasure to kill is the beating heart of the album, fast and pushing the limits of speed and melody. Under the guillotine sounds epic yet scuzzy at the same time. More tempo changes are found in this track, and some great solos are casually pulled out the hat. Command of the blade is good, but from here on the tracks are less memorable and more focused on pushing the boundaries within metal at that time. Some riffs sound thrown together, but every song progresses into something interesting at least.
The only thing that knocks ten per cent of this album is lack of real musical ambition that can be found on Kreator's later records. This album is just a powdered keg of energy, sometimes never letting up and never giving way for more grooves which would be nice. But albums like this definitely paved the way for death metal, a neiche slightly removed from thrash, just to give you a sense of brutality on this album. This is a great listen if you can handle speed and angst, which this album is primarily about. Don't expect great levels of profundity in lyrics or musicianship...and nor should you. The Germans were setting the bar in the 1980's, and just be thankful that they did if you're a fan of death/black metal.
1986 was a year which saw the arrival of some of the wildest and most intense thrash metal albums in history. Darkness Descends and Reign in Blood arose from North America, to be answered by the second full-length chapter of Germany's young Kreator: Pleasure to Kill. To dub this album 'hostile' wouldn't do it justice. It has all the subtlety of a live mortal shell landing right in your lap; the restraint of a hot poker in your eye. Apparently, some of us were left not only standing after Endless Pain, but healthy, a fact that Mille, Rob and Ventor were none too pleased with, and so they unleashed this inferno of unrepentant velocity to clean up all survivors, their iconic devil/creator taking himself to war with a phalanx of skeletal scions that are about to be mulched onto the bone pile.
Though I wouldn't call its contents 'primitive', that is certainly their ultimate effect, to club the listener as quickly as possible. The melodic guitar intro "Choir of the Damned" seem almost too friendly, too inviting, before the shitstorm appears in "Ripping Corpse". The simplistic, terrifying guitar lines show an immediate increase in speed from the debut, and with this much tremolo picking involved, it's hard not to consider Pleasure to Kill one of the fundamentals in not only thrash, but death and black metal, since it's like a brutal spawning pool for ideas crucial to each of these genres. And it doesn't let up, with "Death is Your Saviour" and "Pleasure to Kill" following the same carnal currents, the same bristling guitar tone dismantling the intellect in crescendos of vibrant pain, Mille barking across the top, more a hurricane hammer of spit and venom than a man, nearly tripping over himself as his hasty diatribes murder all opposition.
"Riot of Violence", however, arrives at the perfect time, a slower piece that is unquestionably the most catchy and hallowed on this entire record. Mid-paced, plundering thrash with an amazing, unforgettable pre-chorus (watch any live gig as the entire crowd mouths along) and some spikes of unexpected, clinical melody before the trampling of the actual chorus. 'Wyatt of violence? Wyatt of violence?' This more 'sensitive side' of the band ensues through the caustic triplets of "The Pestilence", at least for 30 seconds until it's clobbering time once more, the band stretching their limbs as far as possible in a giant clusterfuck contraption of searing speed. "Carrion" follows suit, and then "Command of the Blade", which is my second favorite here after "Riot of Violence", with its escalating dynamics and Slayer-like bridge riff below the solo. "Under the Guillotine", another well known song, is the closing chapter here, and like its namesake device, it cleanly severs the listener's skull from his body, with a superb if predictable chorus in which Mille growls like a proto death metal god.
Pleasure to Kill is one of those incredibly authentic cult offerings which doesn't show even the remote traces of age. There is no rust on this weighted blade, it cuts as well as it did 25 years ago, and represents the perfect dynamic bridge between Kreator's blunt origins and the wealth of impressive, technical talents they would begin to shell out on the imminent followup, Terrible Certainty. The bass is good and loud to anchor the guitars, and Ventor really never sounded better than here; his kit sounds highly present and organic, like it were emanating straight from your basement. Really, the only fault I could attribute to this record is that in some of its race to conquer all, it tosses in a few less impressive riffs here or there ("The Pestilence" and "Carrion" represent the weakest quarter of content). But honestly, it flogs most of its peers with a metal barbed whip. Obsessed by Cruelty and Eternal Devastation are both great records, but they don't have much on Pleasure Kill. About the only German thrash I liked more this year would have been Tankard's Zombie Attack, an opinion I share with perhaps only a handful of people across the world, but that album is nowhere near as dark and volcanic as this.
What a huge, monumental disappointment this was. For an album so highly regarded, I expected so much more from this than what was on offer, because this CD only serves to demonstrate how far Kreator have come from what I now realize were very humble beginnings. This brand of prototype thrash does have its place, but what is on display here is groaningly outdated and almost totally irrelevant. There are 1 or 2 good moments on ‘Pleasure to Kill’, but a “timeless classic” this most definitely is not.
Case in point, the intro, ‘Choir of the Damned’, is an embarrassment, with its clumsy guitar work tripping itself up over poorly chosen pseudo harmonic scales. This honestly sounds like a learner practising a guitar lesson, yet after the retarded guitar finally comes to a stuttering end, ethereal keys and acoustic guitar work founded from actual chords seep through, which is the first thing that can be gleaned from this CD; the songwriting and ability of the band is in no way up to the standard needed to communicate the vision of the album, because some of the ideas expressed on ‘Pleasure to Kill’ could hold a lot of potential if they weren’t so badly executed.
We go into ‘Ripping Corpse’ which, after a promising intro, thunders into a world of musical confusion. The band are out of time with each other, no one seems to know the meter... it feels amateur, which is not something you expect from one of the most revered bands in thrash metal. When they finally manage to sort things out and bring some coherence to the song, it’s… OK. Yeah, it’s an alright riff, but let’s be honest, it isn’t groundbreaking, is it? The solos on this song (and indeed, entire album) are truly grating, because every single one of them is nothing more than one big chromatic beehive of randomly chosen notes, many of which are audibly mistimed or poorly played. They’re too wild to be interesting, and in the end you just want to swat them away like the flies buzzing around the proverbial piece of shit that they are. How people aren't levelling the same argument towards Kreator that they love to burden Kerry King with I have no idea.
Most of the actual music on ‘Pleasure to Kill’ lingers between being close to not bad and totally boring. Essentially, the bulk of material is a bunch of stereotypical mish-mashed tremolo riffs with fast drumming and frantically barked vocals, all of which just don't seem to connect with each other at all. None of the elements seem to make any attempt to compliment what everything else is doing, its just "right, you play fast, I'll do something like this, you do some aggressive vocals or something, and you do something over that", which some might consider a reliable formula, but its one that comes pretty cheaply as far as actual music goes.
Things only really start to pick up around the title track, which doesn’t really produce anything different musically, but just has a more together feel about it. The elements that were so self corrosive before somehow begin to work in each other’s favour; the riffs on show have a bit more impact, and the little hooks are more tightly fastened to the drum fills. The solos are still complete rubbish, but there is a pretty cool mid-paced section on this song that does get my attention.
And therein lies the key; when Kreator SLOW DOWN a bit, then the more memorable riffs slowly come drifting through. ‘Riot of Violence’ actually sounds like it has been rehearsed a bit before recording, each instrument combining and contributing towards a complete whole, as opposed to just playing really fast without any real end goal in sight. Even the vocals, that have sounded hurried and at times breathless up until this point, manage to carry some weight at last. Without doubt one of the best songs on this CD.
This is where anything remotely valuable in the way of songwriting ends. ‘The Pestilence’ is 6 long minutes of musical shit. When I saw 6 minutes I was dreading the “progressive” direction that I had assumed the song was going to take, but I was wrong; it was literally six minutes of exactly the same pointless thing over and over and over again. ‘Carrion’ has all of its good moments shot down in flames by those fucking solos, and ‘Take Their Lives’ demonstrates that early Kreator can be boring and uninspired even when they slow down, and ‘Flag of Hate’, try as it might, just can’t recapture an interest in this album that to be honest was lost a long while back.
Raw vocals, check. Raw production, check. Fast riffing and pummelling drums, check. So they’re playing thrash metal, then. But just because they’re doing thrash right does not mean they are producing anything of musical worth. This won’t be getting many spins at all from me I’m afraid, which is a real shame seeing as I really wanted to be blown away by this CD. My advice would be this: ignore this album entirely, unless thrash of the most mindless variety is what you want. For Kreator, get anything from ‘Coma of Souls’ onwards, but for classic thrash, seriously… get ‘Reign in Blood’ or 'Hell Awaits', because ‘Pleasure to Kill’ couldn’t last a single round against early Slayer.
Read the name "Kreator" and the title "Pleasure to Kill," and take a look at the album cover. This should give you some ideas about what this is album is like: cruel, brutal, evil, bloody, primitive, grim, devastating, destructive, ... These are accurate descriptions. Sharp, slashing riffs, rapidly pounding drumming, relentlessly dissonant guitar solos, and the alternation between the poisoned-dagger-throwing vocals of Mille Petrozza and the blunt strikes of Jurgen Ventor come together and form a destructive force, somewhat of a sonic equivalent of that red monster on the album cover – this is auditory punishment. This much will be obvious as soon as the first minute of Ripping Corpse is over. However, there is more to the violence of Pleasure to Kill than mere brutality. The carpet bombing is certainly there, but there is also the surgical precision and high-technology torture devices calculated to inflict the maximum amount of pain. Behind the blades and fists, Pleasure to Kill awaits with an intelligently designed labyrinth of riffs.
This certainly was one of the most brutal albums when it came out, but pure brutal extremity is not the most important aspect of Pleasure to Kill. While this is no longer the most brutal album in the world, it is perhaps still the cruelest album ever recorded. Although not as light or agile as a band like Megadeth for sure, Kreator here is closer to a spear impaling with its sharp point than a giant tank trampling everything. Certainly, there are elements of tank-like heaviness: Ventor is more blunt than sharp, both in the percussive and vocal departments, with the drumming resounding on the bass territory rather than piercing through the treble, and some of the riffs (e.g. the break riff of the title track) rely on typical thrash down-picking. There is even employed a technique of one guitar striking a chord repeatedly with the drums pounding in unison while the other guitar plays the riff, which provides immense rhythmic compulsion, similar to something that would later be heard in death metal (see the intro of Ripping Corpse and the middle break of Death is Your Saviour). The spear-like qualities, though, triumph overall, with various elements contributing to this. First of all, Mille Petrozza's vocals are very forward thrusting rather than deeply resonating, ready to jump out of the music and pierce the ears of the listener. While he retained the sharpness on later releases like Coma of Souls, it is only on Pleasure to Kill (and Endless Pain) that he really spews out venom and blood, giving the impression of daggers, each made out of a viper's fang, flying out in rows like the those of a shark's teeth rather than the strike of a polished sword forged in an expensive blacksmith. Also, the production slightly favors the treble, with pronounced guitars (the bass guitar is audible, but rarely go beyond that), and a significant number of riffs are high-pitched compared to most other thrash riffs. Another factor is the scarcity of down picking. Most of the riffs employ alternate picking, with even the breakdown riffs not necessarily being based on down picking (hence the effect that a breakdown on this album is often not as distinguishable from the rest of the song as a breakdown on most other thrash albums, though this also owes its debt to the long length of middle sections), and there are a lot of tremolo-picked riffs as well, emphasizing the feeling of minute slicing, not heavy crushing. But there is one more: the melody.
Of course, "melody" here does not refer to the beautiful or saccharine incarnation of it, but its angular, Slayeristic, aggressive form. While this type of melody is present in most riffs in a dissolved form, there are also many riffs that put special emphasis on it (examples are very numerous, but for the most obvious one, see Riot of Violence). The difference with Slayer include that fact that Kreator's melodic riffs feel more distinct, or separated from the more normal thrash riffs, but fundamentally the difference is that they express different things. While Slayer's riffs express such things as the depths of hell and demonic malice, Kreator's riffs represent violence as an abstract concept. The difference may have been accentuated by the fact the guitar tone here is prominent and thrusting, unlike the obscured and dark tone of Hell Awaits, but there is also some difference on a compositional level, namely that the Kreator riffs tend to be a little more dissonant in general (this would be supported by the fact that the heavily chromatic riffs in Angel of Death sound Kreator-like compared to other Slayer riffs). These riffs are distinct from the normal thrash riffs in that those are closer to the physical embodiment of violence while these are more like a platonic idea of violence. These riffs add a layer of psychological torment to the already existing physical violence and bring about a permeation of hemorrhagic stench in the atmosphere. In addition to these, the usage of melody also shines through in the tremolo riffs that rip with chainsaws (see the middle part of Ripping Corpse) and proto-death metallic riffs that emphasize sudden melodic changes within high velocity (e.g. the riff right before the final refrain of Death is Your Saviour).
The compositional prowess of Pleasure to Kill is also apparent in the structural aspect. Generally there are three choruses with two or three verses, but the intros, bridges, and outros surrounding those verses and choruses are very long and often take the major role in the development of the songs. The middle section, starting after the second chorus, is especially a very long series of riffs with several guitar solos, and always much more than just a thrash break and a guitar solo as is typical in an average thrash song, except for the title track (and Flag of Hate if the bonus tracks are counted). Hence, instead of being repetitive, the songs actually progress. The riff arrangement is sensible, with quite a many of them, usually the more melodic ones, appearing again in a different key, and occasionally there is a transitional phrase that bridges different sections smoothly – sometimes they are just several power chords, such as the phrase right before the guitar solo in Flag of Hate, but at other times they consist of a more elaborate melody, with the transition in the slower section of Under the Guillotine being perhaps the best example. There is also some development of the riffs; the title track's main riff and The Pestilence's riff in the slower middle section appear in modified forms near the end of each song. The album is also structured well. The songs, while retaining a consistent atmosphere, are varied in their constructions, from the more straightforwardly thrashing title track to the comparatively slow Riot of Violence with an elaborate verse-chorus cycle to the death metallic tremolo riff usage of Death is Your Saviour to the extremely non-repetitive structure of Carrion (one riff reappears at the end, but otherwise there is no real repetition), and the alternation of vocal duties between Petrozza and Ventor strengthens the sense of variation. While Pleasure to Kill is certainly bloody violent for the majority of its duration, there are numerous occasions on which it feels almost blatantly epic (by thrash metal standards), though this quality is obviously based on the riffs and atmosphere and not synthesized strings, choir, or anthemic singing; examples include the part with narrated vocals in Riot of Violence, which is arrived at only after passing through a tunnel of riffs, the intro of The Pestilence with complementary drumming, the second half of Under of Guillotine, and last but not least, the songs Take Their Lives and Awakening of the Gods. In fact, there is an overall tendency throughout the album of becoming more epic as it progresses, especially if the bonus tracks are taken into account – and they should, since the bonus tracks (which are all from the Flag of Hate EP) have production and instrumental and vocal timbre nearly identical to that of the original album, and the structure of the album is not only preserved but also greatly enhanced with the inclusion of those tracks. There are, however, exceptions to this trend – the grandeur of The Pestilence is not topped until the second half of Under the Guillotine, and the straightforward thrasher Flag of Hate is placed between Under the Guillotine and Take Their Lives, for examples –, making it less predictable and keeping it fresh until the end. The album could have closed itself with Under the Guillotine, which, contrary to its obsessive insistence on the slashing main riff during the first two minutes, becomes seriously epic and glorious like a blood red sunrise announcing the dawn of execution with two urgent riffs followed by an upbeat guitar solo (one of the two upbeat moments on the entire album, with the other being a part from Carrion) and a slower section of two riffs, with the more heavy and dissonant riff preceding the more relaxed and consonantly resolving riff. However, the ending with the two epics Take Their Lives and Awakening of the Gods is simply perfect. Take Their Lives sounds rather typical of this album, but after a series of riffs it reaches what is likely the single most epic moment in thrash metal: a cry of "take their lives!" coming in with a melody of heroic and grim resolution, followed by a harmonization by the second guitar, a release of tension with a different riff, and the return of the first melody with a different harmonization. Awakening of the Gods does live up to this high standard set by Take Their Lives: it has a very "Chthulu" atmosphere consistently maintained throughout the song, and feels almost like Metallica's The Call of Ktulu, except that this is still very aggressive and thrashing, though slightly less so than other songs on this album.
While it is certainly a masterpiece, Pleasure to Kill is not perfect. There is a minor problem that not all transitions are ideal (e.g. the transition from the slower section to the last pre-chorus in The Pestilence does not seem to have been given much compositional attention), but most of the problems are related to the soloing. The guitar solos are basically dissonant aggression all the way, and while none of them are really distinctive or memorable (except the two solos of Awakening of the Gods, which not only greatly contribute to the atmosphere through their hellish, almost Morbid-Angelic nature, but are also rather enjoyable pieces of music themselves), they do fit in with the rest of the music quite ideally (certainly, an Agents of Brutality solo would ruin the album). The real problem is that the under-solo riffs are in many cases, though not usually, filler material, and that the solos are too numerous; it certainly does not mean that the solos are annoying at all, but the album could have benefited from supplanting some of the solos with more focused riffing. Nonetheless, Pleasure to Kill was one of the most developed albums of its time, with the melodic employment and structural development almost bordering on death metal. This may be described accurately as proto-death metal, but it is not merely an anticipatory release whose value mainly rests on historical interest. While its brutal side, often praised rightfully, warrants a high regard by itself, this is a true classic that offers much more on a closer listen.
Pleasure to Kill is (for me) THE benchmark for the classic 80s style of thrash - it encompasses all the right ingredients of the German thrash sound with a a hint of Venom and adds the instantly recognisable Kreator "touch".
Pleasure to Kill is not sophisticated. It's not been overproduced. It's simply 57 minutes of pure, uncensored, raw, visceral and (most of all) UGLY thrash metal. It has a very obvious violent and slightly unsettling feel to it (shown by the lyrical content and the often brash and "extreme" nature of the drumming). To start with, the album opens with "Choir of the Damned", a very solemn and trance-like guitar-based instrumental, which provides a massive contrast when the album finally bursts open with the head-smashing "Ripping Corpse", undoubtedly one of Kreator's most "definable" songs, showing what the band is all about in 3 and a half minutes - low, detuned tremolo-picked guitars, blasted drum beats, wailing (and often quite sloppy, actually) guitar solos and of course, Petrozza's thick, raspy vocals.
Essentially, that's the formula that most of the album follows - be it with a few changes, like Jurgen Reil's vocals on tracks like "Death is the Saviour", or some slightly slower passages on tracks like "Riot of Violence". Despite this, each track maintains its own little personality and "unique-ness" to it - whether it's the strange-sounding drum intro to "The Pestilence" (which sounds like it's being played on a Xylophone) to the simply unforgettable chorus to "Ripping Corpse", which will undoubtedly go down as one of the most iconic choruses ever.
If I have any criticisms, it's mostly with the solos, which sound very sloppy and quite cringe-inducing - they easily ruin a very, very good song by making it seem like, when the solo came, they simply handed the guitar over to a 10-year-old (or perhaps Herman Li?). I could go so far as calling them lame and rather shite.
But ultimately, what Kreator has achieved on Pleasure to Kill is simply remarkable - they've taken primitive German thrash metal, added their own personal touch and at the same kept true to its roots, and to top it all off, made every track more memorable as the last. It's far from perfect, but few albums are, and Pleasure to Kill is a historic turning point in the development of metal as a genre - highly recommended!
Kreator's second album is one of those "moments" where everything a band does seemed to coalesce at the time into this huge, festering ball of inimitable quality. Much like other perceived "classics," Pleasure to Kill was extremely influential, creating a new sound that would go on to be ripped off by countless bands, both new and old. Yes, many retro bands would rack their brains for good, brutal sounding band names before looking at the back of their Pleasure to Kill re-issued CDs, randomly pointing to one of the track titles with their eyes closed, and then calling up their buddies to tell them what a cool, original tribute to the Thrash greats they had come up with all by themselves. But this album isn't about that, it's about the music, where Kreator pushed forward this violent, gritty wall of noise that would come to be known as a classic of the underground, even despite the bewilderment of all the poor every-day folks who heard this and dismissed it as, well, a violent, gritty wall of noise.
This album basically took the standard Celtic Frost/Venom extremity and turned it up about ten notches to create something even more depraved. Every song on here just bashes away for three or four minutes at a time, doing nothing and aiming for nothing but to achieve the utmost expression of animalistic brutality capable while still retaining musical structure and coherent songwriting. These songs don't attempt to slow down or allow you to keep up; if you can't do it, you're fucking out, and that's all there is to it. No compromise, no fucking around, no bullshit. That's the amazing thing about this; other bands came close to doing this, but none of them quite reached this level of inhumanity before Kreator did with this one. Pure, natural brutality all the way to the core. It is not the best Thrash album or even the most influential, but Pleasure to Kill has made its bloody paw print on the Metal scene, and there it will stay.
There is something appealing about this unholy, ripping carnage. Perhaps it is the dark, sinister way in which the album unfolds with a somber, melodic orchestral piece, the ultimate contrast with the opening blast of "Ripping Corpse." Metallica had already done this with Ride the Lightning, but Kreator's method was so much more unsettling and creepy, so much more effective in the grand scope of things. Perhaps it is the simple-minded way in which the elements clash: Mille Petroza's raspy grunting, the jack-hammering riffs, the galloping, primal drums and the strange, dirty sounding bass lines, all topped off with the sloppy, ear-piercing guitar solos to create a monster of a ferocity that the world had not yet seen.
Perhaps it is the songs themselves, beautiful and yet also horrifying in their simplicity. This album is just full of great shit, from "Ripping Corpse" to the high-speed "Death Is Your Savior," to the dark, pounding apocalypse of "The Pestilence," with its catchy, classic Metal-inspired riff, to the full-on aggression that is "Carrion," to the catchy "Command of the Blade," and every other song that I didn't mention, too. They're all ready to Thrash your face off, and they won't have even one regret doing so. Everything here is so sloppily constructed, and yet it is not unappealing at all, once you have a grasp on why this kind of thing is so appealing - that is not really something anyone can teach you, it just sort of happens, like a bolt out of a blue sky. One day, you might just wake up to find out that you like Kreator's Pleasure to Kill, and with it, Celtic Frost's early material, and Venom's, and Morbid Saint's. That is the power of Heavy Metal.
Whatever it might be that makes this album so wonderful, Kreator's Pleasure to Kill is a certifiable Thrashterpiece and even a bona fide Metal classic on a broader scale. Booming with great riffs and enough simplistic, bashing insanity to put you in the madhouse where you probably belong, this album rocks, and if you haven't heard it, you definitely need to.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Contrary to the most of the thrashers’ ideas, I’ve never found something so special on the first Kreator’s works. This band always released good stuff back then, don’t get me wrong, but for the structures and the more mature songwriting I prefer the new efforts. This is a truly rare thing for me because usually I always defend the old school instead of the new one, but this is just my personal idea and I’m sorry if I let someone down. By the way, as you can see, I’m not gonna give this album a weak mark, not at all! It was just to explain the reason why of the following comments on this Pleasure To Kill and the quarrels that can come after having compared a milestone of brutality like this album to higher-scored efforts like Violent Revolution or Enemy of God.
Surely a blowing, furious and nasty album like this one was very important for the growing black or death scene but, going deeper into the sound we can find some flaws and that’s normal for a band that so often pointed its young and still immature songwriting on the sheer speed and brutality. In spite of other influential releases back then like Seven Churches, Reign In Blood and Darkness Descends just to cite a few, Pleasure To Kill was not that well developed and it went down in many parts, starting from the monotony that lies among these tracks. Someone can say that Reign In Blood is more monotonous and I say that maybe it’s right, but remember that I’m still a bit on the personal path and the tastes are different for anyone, fortunately.
This album always gave me the idea of a band that wanted to play too fast for their skills and, maybe a little more of focusing and attention would have not caused so many flaws. In some parts, the drumming is so fast that the guitars sound in trouble in following the patterns… The intro is just to prepare us for the first massacre, “Ripping Corpse”. The production is truly sloppy and evil, while the guitars are essential on their palm muting riffs. The vocals are always on the borderline between thrash and death and the use of some tremolo picking is good to fill the air with gloominess. For those who found ridiculous the Jairo T. (Sepultura) solos at the guitars, listen to these ones and prepare to laugh. At least Slayer did better things even if they were not the Dream Theatre of thrash metal.
The best things come when the band is more focused on different patterns instead of the ones on up tempo. In those parts, we have a more convincing and thrash riffs while the other parts don’t shine so much in technique or fantasy but more on the pure attack. The main thing that lacks on this album is the “memorable” word. Everything is brutal and nasty but I cannot find the right way to enter this sound and really enjoy it. The forest of riffs avoid me from having a general idea of the compositions and in many parts what I hear is a mountain of tremolo pickings put together with the glue and elementary palm mute sections. Surely the title track has the privilege to be catchier and somehow more convincing thanks also to a more recognizable chorus.
“Riots of Violence” is better because shows more mid-paced tempo parts and a more complex riffage on the various chords to show also some speed metal oriented riffs and that’s exactly what I was searching for: better songwriting, always present riffs and less useless and, at times, incomprehensible violence. The guitars solos are just to forget once again. Maybe just “Command of the Blade” has more recognizable riffs but the rest is normal, simply normal with a hint of mediocrity. The last “Under the Guillotine” is a good track to end the album with more brutality and it’s remarkable also because it’s still played live and has a good refrain. As always, forget anything related to “melody” because the power lies on the frontal assault and the carnage it comes.
This album could have been very important for the growth of death metal but still nowadays, after several years passed on it, concentrating my forces and mind, I can’t totally immerge myself in it. Maybe, it’s for its blasting fury, but I don’t know…as you know I’m used to listen to this stuff regularly and I’m not a power metal fan. There are several other extreme works that captured my attention in a strongest way and I don’t know what to do with this one. To me it’s lame in many parts and quite repetitive. Not for this is a bad album, absolutely. Even if the structures were a bit common and not yet mature, it displayed also good signs of the future evolutions as well as a non common heaviness.
So here is how my experience of Pleasure to Kill went. I got it quite a while ago, a few years I think, in part because I'd heard a lot of good things about it and in part because the cover was absolutely badass. I was disappointed. Now, all this time later, I've gone back to it to try again, as I feel my tastes have progressed and developed since then, so maybe I'll think differently.
But I'm afraid not. It still comes across as the same pile of over-the-top, poseurish, exagerrated "blargh, look how extreme we are!" tripe. It has one or two redeeming moments, but certainly nothing worth the endless praise it often receives. It feels far too much like it's trying desperately to be interesting, and missing the point.
It's just plain boring. I can see why some people go on about it, but to me that's a kneejerk reaction. When you first hear it it -does- sound very brutal and vicious, but it soon wears thing. It just sounds too much like one long beat. Individual songs by many other thrash bands have more variation than this entire album. And in truth, even ignoring that blandness it's fairly average at best. The riffs may be delivered with a fast-pace, but this is thrash, they usually are. To me what sells riffs in this genre is not just speed, but technicality and memorability, and Pleasure to Kill is lacking in both. They have a degree of technical flair, but nothing to write home about, and they're very much lacking in the latter, they're totally bland and default "Play fast and slap on a blast beat" stuff.
The sound itself isn't too bad, although still not particularly to my tastes. It's trying too hard to be extreme, and doesn't carry it off. Also, it sounds too much like a precursor to death metal, I have trouble liking anything that sounds like it influenced the development of that particular genre (it's also worth noting that, as in a lot of cases, this albums seems to be reviewed by many as a death metal album without them realising it. How you see something influences it. In short, as thrash this is lacking, as death it was something special at the time).
The songs just aren't memorable in any way. They all flow into one another and by the end of it I feel I've not heard anything interesting or exciting at all. Maybe it was fairly new in it's day, but today it's just boring. And not because there are more extreme things, but rather because it's trying very hard to be extreme and doesn't have the substance to back it up.
The lyrics are pretty mediocre, basic waffling about death and so on. Don't get me wrong, songs about death are great, but I like them to be a bit more developed than
"He eats the heart of your wife
And rips her cunt inside
You know now it's your turn
The others have already died"
Compare the album to something like Metallica's "Ride the Lightning", another one dealing with death as a theme, and the difference couldn't be more apparent. Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" just feels too simplistic, while Ride the Lightning shows real intelligence. Again, brutality is good, but there needs to be something behind it. I can't really give track specifics, because as I say, they all kind of blend into one another. Any points made apply to all of them, really.
Overall, it just seems underdeveloped. Kreator might sag in the 90s, but I feel they went on to produce far better works beyond Pleasure to Kill. Extreme Aggression had the same amount of anger and ferocity, but the riffs were much more audible and memorable, and the lyrics more developed, while still striving for a punchy simplisity. Equally, their latest works, Violent Revolution and Enemy of God, beautifully combined their early aggression with their later melody to create a very nice end result. Both these eras surpass Pleasure to Kill, they might not have as much sheer anger or evil, but that isn't all there is to thrash or metal.
So to summarise, it's nothing that special as thrash metal goes. Metallica did things more intellectually, Megadeth did things more fun, Destruction managed brutality without seeming so overblown, and Morbid Saint did evil thrash with much more impressive and catchy riffs. Any number of bands did thrash better, and while there's nothing inherently bad about Pleasure to Kill, it is far too heavily praised. Not only do other bands do thrash better, but even Kreator themselves did, eventually. It's trying to be more impressive than it actually is, relying on extreme value and a never-ending stream of rapid riffs and drumming to get it's rather flimsy point across. I've given it the score I have because there -is- some skill in here, hard as it is to make out, although it would be much better utilised on other albums.
Kreator's breakthrough album. Released in 1986, this album joins Slayer's Reign in Blood, Metallica's Master of Puppets, and Megadeth's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? as a thrash classic from 1986. What a year.
Is this really their best album? In my opinion, no. Extreme Aggression, Terrible Certainty, and Coma of Souls are all better, with better songwritting and composition, but Pleasure to Kill still remains one of the best thrash metal albums ever.
Pleasure to Kill is very different from their later albums. It's faster, rawer, and much more extreme. The lyrical themes are all about death, gore, and violence, a very typical theme for an extreme band. After the opening intro, Chior of the Damned, a soft melody on guitar, the album explodes with Ripping Corpse, going at speeds of about a hundred miles an hour. The speed continues on the follow up, Death is Your Savior. With drummer Ventor doing vocals on this one, it's amazing to think, he can sing and drum at that speed at the same time. Both tracks are easily two of the best songs on the album. The title track is even better though. The intense speed is still here and the overall song is just brutal and outstanding. Next, Ventor returns on vocals on the slightly slower Riot of Violence, other standout track. This song makes me headband like crazy everytime I hear it. The Pestilence is another great thrasher. Carrion is even better, starting out as a thrash classic and slowing down in the interlude, followed by exploding into a thrash powerhouse. Ventor returns for one last take on vocals with the followup, Command of the Blade, another crazy headbanger. Mille returns to singing on the next song, Under the Guillotine. Not much is different from the other songs in this one. It's got speed, power, and a very kickass series of solos. My version of the album includes the tracks from the Flag of Hate demo, three more thrashers. Flag of Hate is an instant killer with powerful riffs and vocals. Take Their Lives is another great song with a nice opener. The final track is the 7 minute epic, Awakening of the Gods, easily the best song on the demo.
The vocals on this album are very unique. Mille's voice is aggressive and raspy and at the same time, you can still understand what he's saying. He's not one of those Deathcore vocalists who just grunt a bunch of random shit. Ventor's vocals are a little more extreme. Not as good as Mille, but he's still standsout a lot on Death is Your Savior.
The guitar work is amazing, a necesity for a thrash album. Each riff is outstanding and will make you want to mosh until you die. The solos on this album, however, are a little bit of a disappointment, as they are very sloppy and not meaningfull. Still the solos are always good to listen to. The bass is hearable, something I really like, even though he's mainly sticking to following Mille's riffs. Ventor's drumming is intense, very intense. It's what makes the album more extreme than their other albums. Overall, the musicians all standout very well.
That said, this album is a must have for any thrash fan along with Coma of Souls, Terrible Certainty, Extreme Aggression, and even Kreator's newest album, Enemy of God. Easily one of the greatest thrash metal albums.
With the thrash metal revival that’s been going on now for some years a lot of albums have been rediscovered by those only now discovering the eighties thrash metal. The newbies focus their archaeological results on ‘Pleasure To Kill’ as being Kreator’s best album because it is their fastest and most aggressive album and therefore they claim it is their best and most old school thrash metal album. Being the fastest and most aggressive Kreator album might be a true statement, but it surely isn’t their best album. The following three albums were compositionally simply better.
‘Pleasure to Kill’ almost kills itself with enthusiasm. The compositions are extremely simple and transparent but the enactment is extremely sloppy. The pace is so high the band themselves have trouble keeping it up. This of course gives the album that extra edge of aggression resulting in a very hyperactive classic piece of thrash metal. The intensity and energetic continuity of ‘Pleasure to Kill’ makes up easily for the inconsistent debut ‘Endless Pain’.
A few classic Kreator songs can be found here, the most famous ones being the title track and ‘under The Guillotine’. Drummer Ventor is lead vocalist on three songs but his performance is poor compared to Mille’s parts. ‘Riot Of Violence’ is a simple composition with a few changes of key and pace but objectively speaking the song has a copy-paste feeling surrounding it. Putting a few riffs and rhythms together and calling it a song in this case doesn’t work. I never understood why this song became so popular but I have to admit liking the very catchy chorus. No, I’d rather hear the earlier mentioned two classics and the powerful thrasher ‘Death Is Your Saviour’ in third place . On this song I have to say Ventor’s vocals work out fine .
It may seem I’m bashing the album a bit but do not fear. I still consider this to be a Kreator classic, and I stress the ‘A’. Can’t imagine my collection without it nor can any thrash metal collection be without it. Therefore I just have to give it 85 points.
For some reason in the world of metal, if you’re fast and brutal, you’re praised eternally. On the other end of the spectrum, if the music has an abundance of melody and lack of speed, it is criticized endlessly. So if one extreme is viewed as negative, why isn’t the other? The only explanation I can come up with is that there are too many metal fans that are more concerned with intensity than quality. And that is one of (but not the only) reason why I long for the days of metal that had a hint of melody to it. Damn any interesting song ideas or any sort of riffs that are fierce yet maintain some melody. This is just straightforward brutality that would inspire many future tedious acts for years to come. This is a token album for geeks to throw in your face when you praise classics like “Ride the Lightning,” or “Peace Sells”, not having a clue that brutality does not necessarily equal greatness. In this case, I would take this nerd’s Kreator CD and smash it in his pimply face, and go about my business of listening to what my ears command me to.
The album starts off the way you’d expect a thrash album to. “Ripping Corpse” has a nice evil lead into an intense wall of sound. No complaints here, problem is once you’ve heard this song, you’ve pretty much heard them all. They vary little from this formula and it quickly grows dull. There are no catchy, maniacal riffs that speak to you and force you into a serial killing career. There are no NWOBHM inspired choruses that command you to scream along until your throat swells up and chokes you to death. No melodic punk inspired vocal passages that are implanted into your skull and you welcome their company. Basically, none of what I truly love about thrash metal is present. This is not thrash born from great heavy metal like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, this is the bastard child of harsh acts such as Venom, Hellhammer, and Bathory. More defined and more brutal than their predecessors, but without a clue of what makes Bay Area thrash great.
The drums are the real lowlight for me. They’re way too loud in the mix, and really drown out the riffs. The intro's are great but I couldn’t tell you what 75 percent of the riffs that follow them sound like because of those annoying drums. Would it hurt to get a little fucking variety here Jurgen? Once a song gets going it’s an endless pounding of the kit that I honestly don’t understand how anyone could take without swallowing a whole bottle of aspirin. Millie’s vocal style, while not really a subject for criticism, doesn’t really add much to the album either.
Not to say it's all bad. The riffs are definitely unique and the music technically demanding. The songs, in all their mind numbing glory, are at least complete and thought out. Kreator accomplished what they set out to do, to become the most vicious thrash band of their time. But the cost was too great, and the quality really isn’t here. The highlight of the album to me is “ Riot of Violence”. Easily the best offering here and what a shocker, it's the only one that is really distinctive in style. The riff under the chorus is great and catchy, something this album desperately lacks. “Carrion” has some great mid paced riffing in the middle that does provoke some head banging. “Command of the Blade” features an opening riff that is awfully similar to Dark Angel’s “Death is Certain (Life is Not)”, perhaps Gene might have ripped them off, who knows. I can't remember which album came out first. Those are the only times I can remember cracking open an eyelid during this snoozefest.
My god this is a solid album. This is Deutsch Thrash with a doctorate, and it fucking rules. This is kreator back when kreator was something most mortals feared. When they just wanted to Thrash and rip the brains out of as many humans as possible, when they wore Leather and Spikes and had lyrics about Death, Satan, Zombies and other lovely subjects that dragged you off into a wonderful and totally fucking Metal world of warlords, monsters and the undead. PTK immediately transports us to this world with the surprisingly atmospheric and gentle intro Choir of the Damned, which has a very medieval feel and makes use of soothing lead guitar melodies, wind samples, keyboards and acoustic guitars. Its pretty interesting but is very light sounding, but maybe that was the idea, to give contrast with the sheer brain-fucking armageddon that we are to be beaten with after the abrupt end of the intro.
"Ripping Corpse ATTAAACK!" Fuck yeah. Ripping Corpse immediately bashes you with brutal Thrash riffs, bound to make people jump after the intro suddenly fades out. The chorus of this song totally fucking rules and demands worship. "Await death by the blade! Run before its too late! Await the axe in your back.....Ripping Corpse ATTAAACK!" Again, Fuck yeah. Awesome fast DEATH METAL riffage underlies this chorus and makes it sound so fucking evil, and then after the 2nd verse, more brilliant death stuff, and a couple of nice, chaotic, technically terrible Kreator solos to round things off nicely. Thrash anthem. 97%
Death Is Your Saviour has a really nice death riff in it somewhere which smashes you round the head unexpectedly and commands you to bang. Excellent all round with trademark kreator machine-like riffing, which gives the impression of technicality without actually being technical. 90%
Title track. Quick drum intro, evil verse riff, evil Mille vocals, evil lyrics (rampaging vampires anyone?). Solo, and then......THRAASH!! Absolutely AWESOME riff, best on the album, and your neck has absolutely no free will. "I return to the cemetary!" Face-fuckingly brilliant. 95% Riot of Violence. Indeed. Great riffs and an interesting pre-chorus, that odd little melodic break is nice. After the "I must save myself" part out of absolutely nowhere comes an obliterating death riff, and the chorus fucking slays, "Riot of Violence!" 90%
The Pestilence, quite a long track replete with all the brutal [Note: not br00tal] riffs and lovable, honest, bad-but-great solos that we all love Kreator for. Great riffset from 2:16 - 3:38, but its all solid really. Nice (i.e. not generic intro-verse-chrous-verse-solo-verse-chorus-outro) structure. 89%
Carrion, more corpse-ripping brutality. This really is the album that inspired the Death Metal genre. People say Reign in Blood but come on, this is so much more death metal! Not only the riffs but the way the riffs are played (as said, very machine-like and heavy), revolutionary vocals for '86, and just the whole vibe is very traditional death metal. I must mention the vocals at this point, as there are two vocalists who take turns on each track. They sound similar yet different, Mille is higher and slightly more evil and Ventor is lower and more brutal, they are very complimentary. Speaking of Ventor, his drumming is very unique, in a good way, the fills have this pattering quality which would doubtlessly inspire Hellhammer (the Mayhem member). Anyway, Carrion rules- 85%
Command of the Blade- weakest song here, simply because its very repetitve. Still highly fun and head-bangable though. The "His aim is to give you......DEATH!" bit rules utterly. 81% Under The Guillotine is excellent as well, emotional solos, the 2:45 riff crushes immesurably, and, fuck, there's lots of solos! 83%
This is a milestone in Thrash and Heavy Metal. The quality erodes slightly as it goes on but who cares. The fact that there is only one guitar here is quite odd for a record like this but does not detract at all, infact it adds to the character of the album, and the bass plays a greator role. Kreator pushed the boundaries here and, along with Possessed, gave birth to death metal in the mid eighties, while Metallica were busy degenerating. Revolutionary aesthetic, riff style and overrall intent on this album brought Metal to darker and more exciting places. Oh yeah, and the ownage of the cover art is stratospherical.
This album is just an incredible masterpiece and has to be one of the top 3 albums I've ever listened to. It has everything that is essential to a thrash album and more from chatoic solos to being assaulted by 34857827852 terrific and all memorable riffs, to being able to break your neck while headbanging to the album.
We start off with an intro called "Choir of the Damned". This can't really be called a moodsetter for the rest of the album because its not crazy enough and is rather quiet. What follows it is "Ripping Corpse" and this will seriously rip you apart. It starts off with great loud drum banging from Ventor who plays terrifically here, and then come in the guitars and eventually chaotic solos of which you will usually find 2 or more in each song. Another highlight, well basically all of them, but the best ones are likely to be "Pleasure to Kill", which has some of the best lyrics ever written to a song, "The Pestilence", which is the longest and probably most powerful thrash assault ever created by Kreator, to "Command of the Blade" which has some some of the most furious drumming I've ever heard.
Another highlight of this album is that we not only have Mille doing the vocals, but Ventor does the vocals on "Death is Your Savior", "Riot of Violence", and "Command of the Blade". Ventor's vocals are much different but they are still very good. In fact, I can't honestly say that Mille could have done a better job but its hard to compare the two vocals because they are different. Mille has a very angry growl and it actually sounds like some guy who hates children is scolding them. Ventor sounds different. His voice is more loud and aggressive. But they are both great.
Even the three songs taken from the EP "Flag of Hate" are some great raw thrash/death metal songs although they really are raw and have poor production. They are still enjoyable though.
Either way be prepared to be amazed by this album whether it is thrash or even death metal you like as Kreator does have some death metal influences in their music. It is just amazing and one of the best thrash albums ever recorded. If you are a thrash fan and don't own this album by now, I don't know where you've been but get it and quick. You will not be disappointed.
I must confess that it's very hard to review this album, because I'm currently listenning to it and I'm wearing a Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" t-shirt and I can't stop banging my head, so it makes it 666 times harder to write this review!
And now - the review....
This album opens with a great instrumental intro, it's silent and calm, but it's only a short calm before the mighty storm, the merciless Thrash attack that's caled "Ripping Corpse"! This is one of the most agressive songs I've ever heard. Neither slayer nor even Dark Angel have ever played so brutally! And the lyrics are so fuckin' loaded with horror that I can't believe that this band made such albums as "Extreme Aggression" a few years later...... This is one of the best Death/Thrash Metal songs ever! The main riff is catchy yet very fast and brutal, and the solo is just made perfectly. Ohhhhhhhh, my poor neck!
The next song is "Death is your Saviour" and it's title speaks for itself.... You don't even have to read the lyrics in order to understand that if you don't like this album and you don't bang your head like a maniac while listenning to these lethal riffs, the meaning of it is that you're a fuckin' poseur who doesn't understand what metal is all about and only an immediate death could save you from your meaningless existance! I was really surprised to discover that this song's lyrics have nothing to do with poseurs..... Well, death to the fuckin' poseurs again, anyway!
The following song is "Pleasure to Kill" and I don't recommend that you read this song's lyrics before going to bed, kids! Maniac song, maniac riffs...... What else can one ask for?!
And then comes a TOTAL FUCKIN' RIOT OF VIOLENCE!!! This is the best song in this album, in my opinion, yet this song is the worst thing that Kreaor could play live, since the vocallist here is not Mille but Ventor, and though Ventor made his job in the studio perfectly, both as a drummer and as a singer, this song is so fast, agressive and mad for being played during live performances, that it isn't really possible to sing so fast and agressively while drumming so brutally. Anyway - this song is really brilliant both musically and lyrically. It's one of the first songs where Kreator started to criticize the crappy society that we live in, instead of singing horror-stories styled songs (not that their the horror stories styled songs don't kick goddamn ass!) and it's definately a great start!
If you survived this crazy riot of violence, don't think that it's over..... It has just begun, so you still have a great chance to die by The Pestilence!!! Fuck, Ventor so rulZ! The drumming in the beginning of the song just rules, and Ventor keeps exploding the listenner's ears during the whole almost 7 minutes long song!
Does anyone know how many riffs are there in this song? I tried to count, but I failed... This song is really a crazy riffs-assault and the solos here are very impressive too. Don't expect to hear a one 7 minutes long guitar solo here, kids, since we're not talking about a crappy Dream Theater's song, but about a bloddy & merciless metal attack! Kreator were deeply inspired by Venom and not Malmsteen and that's why they've become one of the greatest metal bands ever. This song is one of those great examples where you can see that one doesn't have to be Paul Gulbert in order to play good solos, but it's enough just to play from your fuckin' crazy heart, play fast and agressively, just play metal!
After the long and massive attack aka "The Pestilence", comes "Carrion". In this song, Tormentor meets Kreator and the result is total destruction of all the world! This song's lyrics remind Tormentor's songs from the "Blitzkreig" demo, yet here they have a different meaning. These guys definately grew up since their "Tormentor"'s era and their lyrics' level grew up with them ass well. This is definately not a stupid song about the devil and other shit, but a serious political song and it's also a well done one!
Here comes the before last song and I'd like to stop here, since the only thing that I'm feeling in my neck is ENDLESS PAIN, but I won't do it, since I'm afraid that I'll get a Command of the Blade, if I stop reviewing this killer album now. Ventor's vocals sound more agressive then ever here and I really don't unerstand why so many people so fuckin' dislike his voice.... Personally I don't think that Petrozza could do it better. Anyway - this song rules and I don't have anything more to say about it, except that it's just fine!
For those violent thrashers who really survived this thrash attack thus far, I'd like to wish all the best! For all those whose ears weren't strong enough to survive this flesh ripping album, I have nothing to wish but death, Under the Guillotine!!!
Yes, I know, many other bands have written great songs about people who were sentenced to death penalty and described their feelings just before they met their death. Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and Metallica's "Ride The Lightning" deal with the same subject, and Aria's "Night is Shorter than the Day" doesn't differ from these songs too (though it was recorded many years later), but this song rules not less than every one of these songs! Catchy riffs, catchy lyrics, yet we're still talking about a killer Thrash fuckin' attack! A perfect way to finish a perfect album!
This album is a must have one and I hope that if you're reading it - then you're doing it not because you have never listened to it and you just wonder what the Hell this album is about. If you really haven't listened to this masterpiece yet - it means that you must get this album right now, even if you'll have to sell your soul to the Devil for it!
Funny how Pleasure to Kill starts off with a soft acoustic intro, and then turns into this big thrash¡K ahhh the beauty of contrast. Ripping Corpse, a great example of groovy thrash with no production whatsoever. The drums rape your ears, not letting go only for the fast drum fill here and there. Mille, a young brat then, screams like a madman, while playing really sloppily, this is the sound of underproduced thrash, but it sounds so great and so primal, you just feel like acting out their song titles listening to it. The bass is so muddy on this album, even when I put the bass all the way down, it still penetrates the guitars, or guitar, since Mille was alone on this album on guitars and vocals.
Death is your Saviour (yes, with a ¡§u¡¨, he learned it the tr00 way ;)), really fast unintelligible vocals, fast solo that sounds like it wouldn¡¦t have mattered if it was there. This album goes so fast, even time speeds up when you listen to it, ripping through song after song. It doesn¡¦t ever let you rest, except in the short breaks between songs, and I bet if they could, Kreator would just keep playing for 30 minutes long, just to destroy your brain. The solos really are lame in the Slayer sense of lame, but they¡¦re so appropriate. The riffs are simple, but catchy as hell, who needs musical wankering now? Pleasure to kill, probably my favorite track on the album, and I can actually hear what he¡¦s saying on this song too, and the part where he goes ¡§PLEASURE TO KILL¡¨, just gets me going every time¡K.
Didn¡¦t really like this album at first, as it seemed like the songs were all the same, but that¡¦s the beauty of it in my opinion, there are some serious differences, but they¡¦re not immediately clear to people, and a pop listener probably would just leave it with ¡§it¡¦s all the same¡¨, and let it catch dust. It¡¦s definitely a great album for an early thrash band, and live they¡¦re even better with these songs, tearing it up.
It¡¦s definitely not chamber music, and I would highly recommend it for workouts or other activities where you just needs some primal energy. Songs like Riot of Violence show again that you do not need skill, just catchiness in a song, the main riff is extremely hooky and catchy, but a kid with a guitar up his ass could play it with his sphincters ƒº.
You will always see traces of the early stuff people played in later albums, as can I with Kreator, Riot of Violence, Ghetto War, and Terror Zone all have the same feel to them, yet are from totally different years.
The drumming is actually really catchy on this album, and the little drum intro to The Pestilence is just weird how cool it is, even though they sound like someone ran the tape through dirt after they recorded it, it has a great edge to it.
a classic thrash album.
"Endless Pain" kicked your ass over and over again, a non-stop lesson in violence and brutality, and then they come up with this. Holy motherfucking corpse of christ, this is EVIL. Just look at the album cover, is that awesome or what?! A demonic figure tearing apart raging skeleton warriors wielding aces and swords. Just evil monsters, terror and all that stuff, which is what this album brings. This is Kreator before they became politically aware, and when they were only out to tear apart your skull. But man, as songwriters they grew hugely from "Endless Pain" to "Pleasure To Kill". Not only can you find some of the best riffs in thrash fucking metal on this record, but the songs have much more personality and variety in them, and as individual tracks are far more recognizable than most of those thrash classics that are usually known for their total fucking brutality ("Darkness Descends", "Reign In Blood" - man, 1986 was one hell of a year).
"Ripping Corpse" has that slightly offbeat structure in the main riff and is quite odd, but man, it fucking works. "Pleasure To Kill" has that devastating slowed down middle section ("I return to the cemetary, and my bloodlust is stilled!"), "Carrion" has an even more vicious middle section - HEAR THE SOUND OF BOMBS AS THEY FALL! Fuck yes, that's like the best moment on the album. Or how bout "Under The Guillotine", with that crazy fucking solo section towards the end.
Yes, every song here is fast, brutal and evil as hell. The crazy guitar riffs smash your brains in, using pretty much the same style as the "Endless Pain" album but the overall feeling is less raw but even more heavy, and more in an early death metal vein at some points. Though surprisingly, my personal favourite song on here is the most harmless of the bunch (but still brutal as fuck) "Command of the Blade", cause it's just insanely catchy. He's coming to take you! Fuck yes. And then the crazy chorus. "COMMAND OF THE BLADE!" Over and over again, man that's some fun shit.
The monster riffage on here is also backed up by Ventor's tight drumwork. He has his own style, and is definitely one of the better drummers in thrash, and his work on "Endless Pain" and "Pleasure to Kill" was especially good. He comes up with some annihilating rhythm work, and absolutely crushing fills, working perfectly with the monster riffage, making this album just.. insanely fucking heavy. All thrashers need this, there's no excuse for not having it.
It's 1986. You're in some old metal-themed bar where they still use vinyls, and you and your friends are headbanging to Slayer. Then out of the blue, some mysterious German guy pulls off the needle right in the middle of the Angel Of Death breakaway. He then calmly replaces the vinyl with one of his own. For a second you want to get up and force feed him his own tongue, but you get a glimpse of the cover. It has the devil on it! Oh yeah! Plus, if this guy has the balls to stop a hugely popular thrash album right in the middle of a song, then he must be listening to some killer metal. For the first minute or so, you wonder 'What is this classical crap? Go back to Deutsche-schnitze-berg or whatever you loser!' ...You get up to put back your precious Slayer album when something tells you to wait just a little longer...just a little. BANG! RIPPING CORPSE! You are now a zombie. As you bend down to pick up your left eye, it jerks you back! Then down again! Well...now you're a headbanging eyeless zombie.
Here, my friends, is the reason that they call this genre thrash. From Ripping Corpse to Riot Of Violence, this album will keep you engaged in an indecipherable series of wild, flailing movements. The raw guitar sound tears at your flesh, and then in come the evil snarls of Mille Petrozza, one of the best thrash vocalists of his time. The song is called Ripping Corpse because in clinical tests it was proven to be able to rip decaying corpses into shreds with its riffs. Yes most of this review has been no more than allusions to zombies in thrash bars, and I haven't really told you THAT much about the actual sound of the album. This is because I hope that you are reading this just to see what others think, and not because you don't have this album. What are you still doing here, get on a plane to Germany, track down the band, tell them how unworthy you are, and then ask them where you can find their album (Or you could just go to your local metal CD store). NOW! STOP READING AND GO! I mean it! Get up off your lazy ass and start thrashing!
See that little line between the header and this line you are reading now? It says something like “Classic Pick,” doesn’t it? That’s a typo...it should read: “TOTAL FUCKING THRASH ESSENTIAL – IF YOU DON’T OWN THIS, DIE!”
Yup, this is 56 minutes of some of the best thrash out there. “Ripping Corpse” starts the chaotic flurry of riffs that is to come throughout the album. “Await the death by the blade/Run before it’s too late!” The last 20 seconds or so of the track are inhumanly awesome. “Death of Your Saviour” and “Pleasure to Kill” both rip past before you know what hits you. The drum sound on the title track is exceptional, and the main riff just rips. “Riot of Violence,” now we’re talking! Awesome tune. Here’s where the album starts to get really good. The riff here reminds me quite a bit of something Exodus would throw out. Less chaotic than the last three tracks, this one has lots of chugging riffs here, and slower breakdowns. “The Pestilence” is probably my favourite track on the album. The intro riff and solo draw the listener into the best seven minutes of thrash on the disc. I like when thrash bands make things easy with a chorus that consists of the title repeated several times. Around the three-minute mark, we get a nice headbanging riff and bass line after a slower transition period, then back to hyperspeed Kreator thrash. The lead/bass combination around the 5 minute mark for the last verse is certain to destroy something. Has your neck had enough yet? Good, ‘cause we’re closing in on two of my other favourite tracks on the album: “Command of the Blade,” and “Under the Guillotine.” I’m not even going to bother to break those two down; just thrash along, ok?
Now we’re getting into the bonus tracks, taken from the FLAG OF HATE EP. First up is “Flag of Hate,” a typical thrasher, followed by “Take Their Lives,” a rawer, and slower tune. When “Awakening of the Gods” hits, I’m just like, “Ho-ly fuck!” This song absolutely destroys. The opening minute is some of the most catchy thrash buildup that I have heard. The chorus is certain to whip you into a frenzy, if, for some strange reason, you’re not thrashing about already. What a brilliant and appropriate closer to the album!
From the opener, “Ripping Corpse” (Following the intro, “Choir of the Damned” – even that rules) to the incredible epic “Awakening of the Gods,” PLEASURE TO KILL delivers more than the recommended daily allowance of thrash.
(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, August, 2003)
This is a definite turning point in Kreator's history. At times this album goes along in its proto-deathish speed metal way, like Endless Pain, or perhaps the first few Death demos, and really not all that far removed from Venom. It's very good, if you like that sort of thing - and who doesn't. As I said, kinda Venomish, though a lot less sloppy and a whole lot more brutal.
Then, every once in a while, for no reason, along comes a riff that pretty much picks you up by the genitalia, punches you in the face approximately 489342 times in a row, and then throws you against the wall, at which point it orders you to "COMMENCE BANGING YOUR HEAD, YOU WORTHLESS PUSSY!!! Am I doing this for my own health?!?!?".
And you must obey. You have no choice. Kreator has spoken, often and repeatedly, and you WILL like what you hear. Oh yes you will. This is pretty much the album that revolutionised both thrash and death metal. (Don't believe me? Go listen to Morbid Angel... all of their good riffs are Pleasure to Kill style riffs!) That riff style where you play the same note 4 times, then a different note 4 times, etc etc, all really fast... Possessed had a lot of it, and Kreator had even more. Yep, this is not only one of the greatest thrash metal albums ever, it could be argued that it's one of the greatest death metal albums ever too.
Highlights... Pleasure to Kill, The Pestilence, oh yes... Command of the blade! And of course Riot of Violence, the main verse riff is absolutely fucking brilliant - possibly the best on the entire album. Awakening of the Gods is such an amazing closing track... even that little intro, Choir of the Damned. This album will refuse to let you survive unharmed. Get it now, what are you waiting for??
[edit: this review is of the 12-song re-release, with the last three being Flag of Hate tracks. There is also a 15-song version with three more kick-ass thrash tunes. See my Endless Pain review.]