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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.