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1986 was a great year for thrash metal, as many bands hit the point they were striving for. In the case of Kreator, Slayer, and Dark Angel that had been pure brutality. Megadeth had been trying to focus Mustaine's anger at society into a cohesive album. Suffices to say, they all succeeded. This just left one problem: what to do now. Slayer tried to veer from brutality more into heaviness, and Dark Angel and Megadeth began a more technical direction. Kreator did none of these. They toned down or polished certain aspects, but it's not as radically different from Pleasure to Kill as some imply.
Petrozza hired another guitarist to help them make this transition. From what I can tell, he didn't write much. I rather wish they had left him wherever they found him, considering his leads. They are as bad as others have claimed, and he does make King sound like Malmsteen. The riffing has a different focus this time. It's not nearly as wild and extreme as their previous releases. This is much closer to Hell Awaits in terms of riffing. This is still quality, but it's of a different nature. I also feel this may be the starting point for where Kreator got their reputation for repetitiveness. Many of the riffs do seem more similar to one another than on Pleasure to Kill. Petrozza's lyrics have also altered. We now see lyrics about the environment, Toxic Trace, and personal problems, Behind the Mirror. The music behind them is strong, so it's quite alright with me. In terms of lyrical shift, I suspect this is an influence from Master of Puppets. Around this time, many thrash bands began to tone down, and I imagine Master of Puppets' success and reputation was a push.
As far as the other instruments go, it's not bad. The bass player is audible if your paying attention, but I wouldn't. He just doesn't do much of interest. He has a bass intro that's rather classic, but not much else. Ventor is a very good drummer, but he goes down a little on this. Part of this may be the toning down, but Lombardo still shined on South of Heaven. He also begins to relinquish his vocal duties. He only sings one song, and it is one of the weakest tracks, As the World Burns, to my mind. It's rather sad, as I did enjoy his songs on the previous album, but I can understand the reasoning. Drumming and singing would be challenging live.
This was the beginning of the slow softening of Kreator's sound. While I prefer the next two to this, they are even softer. This indirectly laid the foundations for what they've become. Having said that, I do enjoy most of this, so my rating is positive. I also think this is coolest cover Kreator ever had, and if I could find a T-shirt with this exact cover, I would buy it on sight. Blind Faith, the title track, and Behind the Mirror are great thrashers. As the World Burns and One of Us are not. Compared to the surrounding albums, this just isn't as consistent. Compared to what the other bands of 1986 followed up with though, this is pretty good. I would recommend at least the highlights to any fan of thrash.
The first memorable couple of albums made everyone aware of what these guys were able to create and how brutal and harsh their music could get. So by 1987, the year of the consolidation of Teutonic thrash, Kreator had already achieved popularity and respect, becoming one of the most influential bands of the old continent and made clear that the aggression of American thrash could be increased and become an even more extreme subgenre outside its frontier. Now Mille and co. were ready to face the late 80’s with more ambition and possibilities than ever before. Their sound would reach higher results on this long-play, since Jörg Trzebiatowski joined the group to support Mille on the guitar parts the technique became more present and notable. Don’t expect something more brutal than the stuff on “Endless Pain” or “Pleasure To Kill”, only expect a certain development and complexity on their sound.
Maybe the first impression you get from the opening track “Blind Faith” or “One Of Us” is that their style didn’t change or evolved much from the previous releases; in particular, speed is as frantic as before and you can easily get your neck broken headbanging to those cuts, but the variations on the riffing, the elaborated bridges, breaks and solos are now more consistent and solid. Mille and Tritze make an outstanding exhibition of fast fingers on each riff sequence that doesn’t get stuck in the same notes for more than few seconds, the alterations are continuous and constant, providing the songs of complexity and continuity. The band is also putting emphasis on the several breaks, which are now lenghty and more skilled, with guitars taking complete control on the compositions while bass and drums support them in a humble way. The instrumental passages show some progression on “Toxic Trace” and “Behind The Mirror”, both ot them plenty of rhythm changes and extended pickin’ parts, although vocals definitely take all attention and lead the rest of instruments on the main chorus. Kreator insist on the violence and intensity of the riff series on the title-track and “No Escape”, going crazy and speeding up like mad with deranged dynamic tempos and unnerving screaming vocals that contribute to make the sound get powerful and wild. “Storming With Menace” and “As The World Burns” alternate fast parts with slower lead breaks on which, for a second, the technical riffing display defines some melodic harmonies with great synchronicity between Petrozza and Trzebiatowski; however, velocity and aggression reappear suddenly to remind you that melody is not part of Kreator’s policy and style. Merciless, sadistic, destructive, devastating...all those adjectives describe perfectly the sound on these 8 extreme tracks.
Each number demonstrates that Kreator’s song structures have improved, they’ve been working harder on it, there’s no doubt. Apart from that, their sound is now more talented, skilled and experienced, professional and effective on the well-executed instrumental parts, now the guys are able to dominate and control complexity and technique remarkably. There’s a notable improvement on guitars since Tritze joined the group, as I mentioned before, riffs are more coherent, consistent and strenghtful with the contribution of this guy who, unfortunately, never gets the credits he deserves. Mille sounds convincing and insatiable too, he performs some good solos, far from impressive, at times sloppy and predictable when he abuses of his guitar whammy-bar and pedal effects, but satisfactory. His vocals reach a new level of intensity that nobody else back then could attemp to achieve (well, maybe Schmier or Jeff Becerra), his throat is tortured to the extreme on some high screaming crazed verses that are pure delight and fun, making Kreator’s sound more distinctive and unique. Ventor is singing on one song here and his rough rude voice fits the attitude of the music very well, but the huge difference between his vocal skills (Mmh, did he ever had any anyway?) and Mille’s become more evident. The lyrics are more interesting than on previous offerings, just a bit because some cliches can be found still (horror, sickness, serial killers), but some new issues are introduced, like pollution, contamination and natural environment; we should wait some years to hear about politics, society or social themes in their tunes, though. The contribution of the discreet member of the band, Rob Fioretti is impossible to review and appreciate, basically because no bass can be heard during most of the record; guitars, drums and vocals are as loud as they should but not bass lines, sadly. However, Roy Rowland’s production is amazing, really tough and proper for the fierce nature of Kreator’s stuff, in fact he already gained experience with Onslaught, Satan or Blind Fury before.
In conclusion, this is an essential and one of the most unforgettable albums in the history of thrash, vital in particular for the culmination of the mid-80’s Teutonic scene that would increase the brutality of the subgenre and influence a bunch of later bands. It also meant a new era for Kreator, with new guitar player on the pack, now focused on on technique and virtuosism, not only on speed and aggression. The fresh ideas and creativity of the Essen thrashers kept them away from the handful of mediocre generic groups that didn’t last and made them become the most influential and successful European thrash band ever. This is probably their finest long-play, highly recommended and crucial for any metal fan. Finally, I would like to highlight once again the great work of Tritze, it’s time to give some recognition to this efficient guitarist that everybody ignores behind the fame of Blackfire, Tommy T. Baron or Sami Yli-Sirniö.
Terrible Certainty was released on Noise Records in October 1987. Kreator's third full-length album marks a drastic departure from their previous sound. All traces of black or proto-death are gone. This is a straightforward thrash metal album, following the trend of many other bands abandoning their roots to make a slicker, more accessible product. Perhaps, the additional guitarist had something to do with the change.
The music here is far more streamlined, bereft of any sort of fury or intensity. The raw and primal feeling that was so abundant on Endless Pain and Pleasure to Kill is completely gone and replaced by something more polished and easy to digest. The song structures are more complex, at times, and the riffs come off as a little more sophisticated, but this does not mean that Terrible Certainty was a step in the right direction. One of the worst aspects of this release would have to be Mille's vocals, which are now much weaker. He utilizes a totally different voice than before and the band suffers as a result. It does not matter too much since the music is so bland and lacking in character. The only decent song on here is "As the World Burns", mainly due to the fact that Ventor handles the vocal duties on that one.
The production is too clean and sterile, neutering any chance that the band had to sound like Kreator. Of course, the horrible songwriting is mostly to blame, but the smooth production helped nothing. There is no raw feeling here, though it is not at stadium rock levels of plasticity. How anyone thought that this would appeal to their fans is beyond me. This was the last of the old Kreator albums that I obtained, and it was a pure disappointment.
Terrible Certainty is a horrible album and a truly pathetic display from a band that really should have known better. This is boring and mundane thrash metal, with none of the dark atmosphere or raw brutality of their earlier releases. Even if one wanted to give it a chance, the feeble vocals kill it dead. Kreator would never return to their original sound, but they did manage to do a much better job on Extreme Aggression. As for this record, don't waste your time.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
I'm sure "Terrible Certainty" may have some fans divided. This is Kreator's equivalent to "South of heaven", not because of musical similarities, but they had the awkward task of following up "Pleasure to kill" hailed by just as many as "Reign in blood." They were never going to top the sheer intensity of this album's predecessor, but this album sounds more stable, with plenty of catchy thrash riffs that will stay in the memory for years to come. If the mission was to release an album that was slightly more disciplined without sounding far too refrained, then the mission was surely accomplished. I'm not going to denounce anybody who prefers other Kreator albums over this one, because Kreator have released many a classic, I am just going to tell you why this album has a permanent place in my collection, and why I like it so much. Although I love this album, I can come to terms with why some might carefully tread around it, because it isn't a masterpiece either. The riffs are good which is a given considering it is a Kreator album from the 1980's, but I genuinely find the lyrics more interesting this time around. "Blind faith" is about Romans feeding Christian heretics to the lions in an arena, "Behind the mirror" is about a man who is having trouble facing the reality of the world, hiding behind his thoughts and the imaginary barriers he has set for himself. I find the good lyrics accompanied by catchy riffs, will have most bobbing their head to the lyric sheet.
"Storming with menace" starts out with crunchy riffs which have that proto-death feel to them, after the chorus the track has a more melodic tempo change, directly followed by a solo that literally tears you to fucking pieces. "As the world burns" erupts with standard mosh worthy riffs, and takes a few twists and turns before reaching a more established melody. Even "Toxic trace" and "No escape" have some sheer brilliant moments, and Petrozza's vocals still sound as unique and aggressive as ever, but slightly more clear. This album has developed some sheer staying power in my eyes, and when I compare it to much thrash being released today, it suddenly becomes clear just how good at their craft Kreator were. After this, Kreator were definitely in the premier league of the thrash realm, and it indicated the great direction they were heading (Coma of Souls). If you asked me twenty years ago, whether I preferred "Pleasure to kill" or "Terrible certainty" I would have opted for the former. But as much as I love "Pleasure to kill" for its unrelenting brutality, this album has grown because it is structured better and has more variety in tempo. So I feel this album has taken over "Pleasure to kill" because it isn't dangerously low on juice by the last song, rather it stores its energy and delivers a more focused and efficient assault, and the timing on this album is just awe inspiring. "Pleasure to kill" was the terrifying barbarian with an unstoppable bloodlust. "Terrible certainty" is a Spartan, a more advanced enemy and wont rush to kill you, rather it will deliver the fatal death blow when the time is just right.
As the 80s wore on, the cauldron of straightforward speed, fire and vitriol was running dry. Its ingredients no longer seemed enough to satisfy the artistic impulses of many of thrash metal's most promising constituents. Song structures would become more advanced, more creative, and naturally, more dynamic. Kreator's third full-length, Terrible Certainty, is an adequate example of this transformation, and a brilliant one, with single tracks seeming to contain more effort in their composition than nearly all of Pleasure to Kill. Now, I'm not trying to knock that previous year's opus, because its a timeless and sinister transgression, and certainly this album trades in a little of its violent overtures en route to its transitions, but I consider the contents of this album 'trading up' as far as Kreator's long standing appeal.
Each of the eight tracks is a tour de force of comprehensive, talented riffing that must have taken Mille quite some time to plot out, not only for the technical qualities but the actual moods they project. Where Pleasure to Kill and Endless Pain created atmospheres of slashing and burning hostility, this album frightens with more than mere barbarism, but schizoid nightmares that are delivered straight through the relentless rhythm section of Rob and Ventor, and the exhausted, stunning finger work of Mille and Tritze. "Blind Faith" opens with an escalating exercise in depth, a complex intro riff that shifts into some of the savagery of the band's past, as if to exclaim 'we have not forgotten you, maniacs'. The bridge riff here is also noteworthy, as it climbs from a mid paced sequence of pummeling to a fluster of brilliant speed solos. This is followed by "Storming with Menace", which features one of the most incredible dual guitar rhythms on the album, and remains a personal favorite. What a chorus!
"Terrible Certainty" itself does not skip a beat, with an excellent drum and bass intro, Ventor using his limbs as the bridge into the mayhem of thick, prodding chords. Yet, the track becomes even better once the pre-verse guitar rhythms erupt, toiling and playful like a mastermind lunatic pulling your strings from an asylum. "As the World Burns" goes for a straight, rocking thrash vibe, but never loses the weighted ballast of the amazing musicianship, sordid guitar fills climbing up and down the frets before Mille lets us all have it with the verse. "Toxic Trace" is straight back to the technical wizardry, at least technical compared to so much of what we were hearing from thrash bands across the sea, the verse riffing stunningly similar to "Where the Sun Burns Red" from a few years in the future, and I absolutely adore the manic breakdown as the bass pumps over the atmospheric chords around 3:30.
The album would already seem to have enough supreme content to be considered masterpiece, but some of the best is yet to come. "No Escape" is methodical and distinct with a tight mid pace, and the chugging, creeping of the chorus segment, under which Ventor is all over the place. "One of Us" presents one of the most freakish schizoid riffs on the album in its intro, then shuffles into a bustling, busy sequence that must have had every German dashing his blood and guts over the mosh pit. As usual, Petrozza's vocals taunt us through the heavily saturated slurry of guitars, so much that it's nearly impossible to believe he's playing and singing at the same time, despite the beloved crudeness of his delivery. A chill, beautiful clean guitar intro will introduce us to the grand finale, "Behind the Mirror", which is just as spring loaded with impossible cruelty and power as anything else here.
Perhaps the only element holding Terrible Certainty back from my perfect score is the production, which feels a little smothered, as if it were taking on more than it can handle. As such, a little of the power is lost in all the instruments, sort of like Deathrow's unbelievable Deception Ignored. But this was not mixed by Harris Johns. The result is that the album feels slightly dated in tone, but it's easy to overlook when the musical content is so stunning. I won't claim that this is the very best of Kreator, that is still to arrive in several years, but it's quite fucking close, and the combination of the aggressive vocals and individual ability displayed a clear emergence from the brutal confines of 1986's butcher-works like Pleasure to Kill or Dark Angel's Darkness Descends. It's no surprise at all that the quality of this record would be critical in the band's acquisition by CBS/Epic Records for US distribution, which led to the more accessible Extreme Aggression, because it would have been a crime to go unnoticed.
Whereas PLEASURE TO KILL is Kreator's wicked sick thrashing death metal explosion of rage, TERRIBLE CERTAINTY is their sharp as steel, honed to perfection exercise in precision aggression. The sloppy, willfully chaotic aspects of PTK are swept aside in favor of one of the tightest yet most full barreled thrash metal assualts ever laid down. And as with other classic albums, the song writing keeps pace with the savagery, the album being a nearly flawless run of memorably destructive music. "Behind The Mirror," "Blind Faith," "As The World Burns" and "Storming With Menace" are perhaps the top of the heap, quality wise, but the entirety of the album is assured. The production, which captures every riff, every beat in sterling form. But the real achievement here is how Kreator have moved from a bunch of kids making the most ripping metal in their power, to a band writing some of the genre's most intense and flat our best music ever. Mille Petrozza morphed from a denim and leather demon to a confident frontman, sounding assured in the fact that his band was whipping a doozy of an album on the world, and the remainder of the band easily keep pace with him.
If you own this album, Holy Terror's MIND WARS and Dark Angel's DARKNESS DESCENDS, you can be assured that you are hearing thrash metal at it's best. It wouldn't hurt to also grab key releases by Whiplash, Sacrifice and Razor, but if you only want to hear the absolute best, TERRIBLE CERTAINTY is a must have.
Terrible Certainty is the third, and probably the most underrated of all Kreator albums. It follows the trend of many other third albums like Megadeth's So Far... So Good... So What!, Destruction's Release from Agony, and Overkill's Under the Influence that are all underrated and overlooked. I believe Terrible Certainty is Kreator's best album after Pleasure to Kill. With this album, Kreator proved that they could follow up with the raw Endless Pain, and the brutal Pleasure to Kill. If Pleasure to Kill didn't cement them among the Gods of Thrash, this album definitely did.
The main attractions of this album are the high tempo technical riffs, the powerful drums, and the vocals. No, this definitely is not a trademark riff deprived Testament album; just about every song is recognizable by its riffs, and each song has blisteringly fast riffs to offer. Songs like "Storming with Menace", "Blind Faith", and "No Escape" have some of the most powerful and technical thrash metal riffs created by Kreator. With the new production, the sound of the drums has definitely improved. Instead of being masked by guitars, the drums can actually show off their power. In Terrible Certainty, Mille finally took the reigns of the vocals almost completely from Jurgen. His voice sounds sharper, and has more kick to it.
However, the album has much more to offer than the riffs and drums. Though many thrash fans will cringe when they hear the words "better production", this album definitely was not marred by production. No, the production did not take away from the aggression. In fact, Terrible Certainty preserves nearly all of the momentum, raw power, and aggression created by it's predecessor, Pleasure to Kill. The lyrics have also changed from complete violence and destruction a la Pleasure to Kill to a more "mature" approach which now includes ... destruction of religion and the earth. The choruses are also more appetizing this time around. Overall however, the lyrics are more catchy, and are still extremely thrashy. The chaotic solos still remain, but there are fewer solos per song in general.
However, there are small problems here and there in the album. First of all, it's far too short. Clocking in at just over 35.5 minutes, there definitely could have been more in this album. When "Behind the Mirror" ends, you think "ALRIGHT WHAT'S NEXT", but most are disappointed when there isn't anything. Secondly, I am not very big on slow intros, and "Behind the Mirror" happens to have one. Not a huge problem, but I just don't like them. A small problem with the album is that the bass tends to be put at the back, and is completely dominated by the guitars and the drums.
My favorite tracks were probably "Blind Faith", and "Terrible Certainty". Both of the songs boast ingenious riffs, blistering speed, powerful lyrics, the chaotic solos, and are definitely among the best creations of Kreator.
Overall, this album is a complete riffology, that maintains raw power, aggression, and the chaotic solos of Pleasure to Kill. It boasts many things that PtK could not, like catchier, more intelligent lyrics, catchier choruses, better vocals, better production, and the power of the drums. This album is a must for any thrash fan, and everybody else would be wise to give this album a try. This album has everything a thrash album must have, and much, much more. Remember not to overlook this album because it has so much to offer.
In my humble opinion Terrible Certainty is a too overlooked piece in the Kreator’s discography just because it’s stuck between two representative albums. Pleasure To Kill is a manifest of the primordial brutality by this band, while the following Extreme Aggression is the very first, complete example of the new way this band chose to be a bit more technical and mature. A sign of this maturity was already present on the Flag Of Hate EP and this new album is nothing but a stronger confirm, just one year after and this shows also the speed of a band in a continued growth.
In more or less half an hour, the band takes no prisoners thanks to this schizophrenic riffage and the savage assault of the drumming. The production is finally clear and pounding at the same time, as the most thrash elements are stronger and crushing. The guitars are constantly fast with the opener, “Blind Faith”. Mille is completely pissed off against the Church, the visions and the followers. Also from this point of view, we can notice a maturity and a care for more real and close to us things. By the way, the up tempo parts are massive and the riffs are relentless, with a precise structure and stuck in a defined song-writing.
The violence is no more the one of an immature band and the following “Storming With Menace” is another example. The catchy chorus and the easily recognizable riffs are just great. The songs here show also different patterns in order to be less monolithic and yes, direct but with style and precision. Mille’s vocals are closer to the ones on the recent times but they are always nasty, strong and with a bigger personality. The guitars solos, still remaining truly fast and direct, are also a bit better done but some parts are unquestionably bound to the recent past. This is a direct bridge between the two periods of this band.
The title track is again unmistakable with the fantastic riff at the beginning. This time we can find the first mid-paced progression but soon we are obliterated by the up tempo parts in which the unique and fast palm muting work is one of the best here. The galloping parts are mixed with fast notes and everything is like the classic examples of how mixing brutality to catchiness. Precisely this point shows the real maturity the band has acquired. “As The World Burns” is a slab of thrash that settles on mid-paced progression to be even more apocalyptic. The intensity never goes down and the band is always dynamic at passing thorough lots of riffs.
“Toxic Trace” is one of the most unbelievable examples of Kreator’s progression in sounds and structures. The riffs are fast like bullets from a machine gun but they are sloppy no more. The pure thrash metal arises and the length is remarkable. The intensity goes at high peaks. With the more mid-paced “No Escape” and the terrific assault of “One Of Us” we stay on the top. Even the mid-paced breaks are fucking well-done, convincing and full of riffs. We can notice a sort of hidden melody in some parts but nothing so well-shown because the riffs are just here to destroy everything.
The last “Behind The Mirror” is the track that features the strongest dark elements. The arpeggios and the way more audible melodies are good and a sign for the most recent style by this band. Anyway, soon after, the riffs enter and the destruction is recreated over the several up tempo parts and the dynamic switches of paces. The chorus is always catchy and brutal, leading us directly to end of this fantastic album. Finally Kreator come to thrash metal and they do it rapidly and with style. These compositions are finally mature and well-developed. Here we can find mandatory material for a thrash metal fan.
Holy hell what a progress Kreator made here. Going from ‘Pleasure to Kill’ to this piece of madness within 18 months. Don’t worry, they hadn’t gone soft but they did get started writing better riffs and more complex compositions. Some songs here still sound over the top enthusiastic but the sloppiness of ‘Pleasure to Kill’ was left behind and also the production was remarkably better this time.
‘Blind Faith’ is an immediate thrash metal highlight and one of the best up tempo Kreator songs in their entire discography. ‘Storming with Menace’ is slightly less impressive but good as well. The title track has become a classic and is still played live after all these years. Great song but obviously I will always prefer ‘Blind Faith’.
‘Toxic Trace’, ‘One Of Us’ and ‘Behind The Mirror’ are other highlights as well being less aggressive than Kreator used to be on their previous album but very genuine thrash metal compositions with typical Kreator riffs, good changes in pace, key and easily their most dynamic songs so far.
This leaves only two songs I’ve never been too enthusiastic about. On ‘As The World Burns’ and ‘No Escape’ the mid and slow paced sections sound too generic and dull. I do play these songs for the continuity of the album though, I never skip them. They do in fact have a useful effect on the album.
The album is overlooked by many but for me it is their third best album. Can’t live without it. Blind Faith!
This is Kreator's third album and one that continues the excellence and quality that Endless Pain and Pleasure to Kill brought. While it is unable to live up to Pleasure To Kill it is an excellent album nonetheless. Still sounds very harsh, Mille's vocals are still great if not better here, and the chaotic solos are still present.
Some changes on this album is that Ventor only gets to sing on "As The World Burns" and I feel it is the weakest song on this album. The riffs and drumming just aren't very memorable to me and while not a horrible song, it warrants skipping through after a few listens. Ventor's vocals are still great and I feel he should have sung on more than just one song here.
The chaotic solos on this album are still present and a perfect example of this would be the screechy and quick solo in "Blind Faith" which is definately a great song with great lyrics. However there are less solos here. Its more like one solo per song instead of one to as much as four.
The drumming on here is very tight and and very enjoyable as I still think Ventor is one of the greatest drummers out there however the drumming seems more plainer than it was in Pleasure to Kill, it is still quick and furious though.
The riffs are also something of a very big highlight on this album. I talk about the drumming being more plainer and fewer solos however the riffs here are just unimaginable. There are tons of them, and they are all so very catchy. I don't think I've listened to an album with at least half as many catchy riffs as this album. This is definately a riff heaven and the biggest advantage of this album.
And if I could think of another negative it would only be that this album is pretty short, not even 40 minutes, although it does make up for it in quality.
Some excellent songs and highlights of the album are definately "Blind Faith" with its quick and harsh melodies and great lyrics such as "Roman Empire, Christian persecution is here Strongest desire: eradicate the new sectarians" as well as the vocals. "Terrible Certainty" is also one of the best songs here with its excellent drum intro. "Toxic Trace" is certainly up there with Mille's great and extremely quick vocals and with the extremely catchy riffs. The lyrics here are also excellent such as, "Pesticide in torrents, how fast it flows Total pollution the earth can't stand much longer". "One of Us" also has some very catchy riffs. "Behind the Mirror" is one of my favorite songs on this album. It starts off with a very nice guitar intro and explodes into very catchy riffs and lyrics as well as vocals. This song also has a very raw feeling to it.
A complaint for the album would definately have to be the production which really isn't very good especially on the last song, "Behind the Mirror". It makes the album sound even rawer and a little better production here wouldn't hurt. Other than that and one mediocre song this album is virtually perfect, though I don't think anything, at least now, will ever rival "Pleasure to Kill".
Honing their sound through two initial studio albums, Kreator screams back with even more speed, technicality and tight musicmanship. Less raw and brutalising than the seminal "Pleasure to Kill", and now sounding more menacing with crisp and crunchy guitars and skull cracking drums. Mille Petrozza takes over full time on the vocals which give this album Kreator's inimitable quality, helping his ferocious hiss separate the band from the pack. The songwriting is more focused and concise, and in turn more standardised but never predictable. It’s altogether an album packed in tightly with intricate riffs and furious drum patterns but doesn't take off in any labyrinthine fashion. This also marks the band’s transition from a death/thrash boundary pusher to a more regular, but certainly not run of the mill thrash outfit.
Their full complement of lethal ideas, more experience of handling their instruments and further refusal to slow down even a notch (in fact I think this is in places faster than its predecessor) is testament to this. It takes in more outside influence and reflects the development of the genre, but there is still more Kreator present in this album than anything else though lead guitar is still pure Slayer worship. The band manages to execute their new ideas flawlessly and with little difficulty, as the songs tear along smoothly with the complex but catchy riff assault. Each song is always turning new corners with “Blind Faith”, “Terrible Certainty” and “Toxic Trace” standing out from the rest.
Complaints are minor with its relative shortness the biggest annoyance by far. My version of the album includes the original tracklist version of the “Out of the Dark… Into the Light” E.P. which contains two acceptable songs that could have fit into any given place on this album, and some rather disappointing live tracks. Messy and sounding a little unprofessional, it seems they weren’t so comfortable performing their newer material live yet.
When mentioning Kreator, most people define their best work by their ‘twin peaks’: the pure death/thrash violence of Pleasure to Kill, and the totally rounded yet focused fury of Coma of Souls. And whilst these albums are definitely essential, there is also a case (and a particularly strong one) to be made for the highly underappreciated, and utterly devastating Terrible Certainty. Suffice to say that it’s possibly the most unique and adventurous of the famous five.
Whereas Pleasure’s structure was strictly embedded in the play-as-fast-as-possible-create-the-most-evil school of thought, Terrible Certainty takes a step back in the speed department. The riffs are ever so slightly slower, but as technical as Kreator get, without losing their sense of catch and hook. The solos, on the other hand, are directly out of the hellish, unmelodic, cat-blender Reign in Blood variety (see Blind Faith), but whereas they didn’t manage to fit the bigger picture in Slayer’s case, they work in Kreator’s by adding to the overall weirdness contained within the riffs and time changes. The production also lends itself to the approach taken, with its almost spacey and tense soundscape.
There are a couple of exceptions to the rule – Toxic Trace, when it gets going, could be a direct cut from the Pleasure sessions, and that No Escape main riff could have been lifted from Endless Pain – but overall, the beauty of Terrible Certainty is found within it’s more strange moments. Best example of this (and ultimately strongest song) is Storming with Menace; probably the first in the line of Kreator songs which starts of with such a bizarre riff you wonder whether they tuned their guitars correctly and had a game plan before the producer hit ‘record’ (an idea later explored in full on the intro to People of the Lie, which I still don’t ‘get’). But when you’ve got your head around the slightly angular approach, you are compelled to find your nearest spike, run out of your house and start impaling as many people as you can find. Fuck me where did those riffs come from? They are terrible, they are catchy and you will certainly love them.
The title track is mid-paced, catchy, and a whole world of fun. It’s a shame only this made it onto Live Kreation because with such a concentrated guitar heavy production, the riffwork of the entire album would shine through, not that it misses out here though. Oh well, there’s always hope for the supposed EP with exclusive live tracks before Enemy of God is released.
Special mention needs to be made of the drumming too. One of the main reasons why Kreator managed to eat at the table of the three thrash kings in1986 was down to the specialist skills of Ventor on Pleasure to Kill, proving he was no slouch to either the overwhelming technical genius of Gene Hoglan or the pure, unadulterated onslaught of Dave Lombardo. From the barbaric opening of the album, to the off-kilter patterns when the main riff kicks in As the World Burns, Ventor’s drumming supports and embellishes the strange and yet crushing atmosphere of Terrible Certainty.
Buy it. It’s up there with Kreator’s best work. Which is obviously first class.
This album is definitely a letdown after the incredible Pleasure to Kill, but when all is done, it's still a highlight of the thrash genre... it's just that what preceded it was so completely insanely great.
We start with the fast "Blind Faith", which is not at all unrelated to something that would appear on Extreme Aggression later, except it has a very nice drop-to-half-speed break in the middle, something that totally screams Coma of Souls. Then, "Storming With Menace" leads us into the hyper-catchy title track... and slowly your life will end! Throw in a very fast, chaotic solo, followed by the main riff again, and we have a winner.
Then, "As the World Burns" and "Toxic Trace", which are the highlights of the album... one is pretty fast, and really fucking catchy. The second is a bit slower, and really fucking catchy. Total headbanging material here. "No Escape" and "One of Us" are also pretty good, and they lead into the awesome closer, "Behind the Mirror". Possibly the busiest, most chaotic Kreator song ever - little happy intro, then about 30 riffs of the fast, medium, and slow variety - a whole fuckload of overt thrash breaks, and a riff monster is born.
So it's not QUITE as good as "Pleasure to Kill" because there really isn't anything here like the overt fucking Carrion-esque "engage brutal fucking smashing mode NOW" type riff... but still, a very fucking good album.
The first five Kreator LPs are essential. This is the third. Do the math.