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A treat for the ears but not for the eyes - 60%

Death_Thrasher, August 17th, 2012

It would be easy to be cynical about 'Live at the Pulse of Kapitulation', which is basically a rehash of 'Live in East Berlin' with a few extras, all given a bit of a polish for the 21st century. However, one should bare in mind a few things: first, most people don't own VHS players any more, and even those who do probably wore out their copies of 'Live in East Berlin' years ago; second, this material is well over two decades old at this point, which seems like a perfectly adequate gap to leave before a reissue; third, Kreator simply haven't been this good in a very long time, so a reminder of just how immense the 'Endless Pain' to 'Extreme Aggression' material really was, is a winner of an idea if you ask me.

Musically, this is flawless. Mille and pals churn out classic after classic, the sound razor-sharp and the performances - especially the blistering lead guitar of Frank Blackfire - spot on. Mille's vocals are harsh and abrasive, free of the breathy squawking he indulges so much in on every album since 'Violent Revolution'. The bass isn't particularly audible, but Ventor's drumming is as punchy and pulverising as ever. The production, too, is clear and beefy enough to comfortably stand up to modern standards.

Unfortunately, while this collection is a treat for the ears, it leaves the eyes somewhat defiled. The visuals, though clear, look cheap and the effects are amateurish (I loathe the use of any special effects in concert videos anyway). The camera is jittery at times; whether this is a deliberate attempt at capturing the raw atmosphere, or simply a case of incompetent cameramen, I don't know. I imagine it's the latter, though. If this had been released as a stand-alone live album, it'd probably score much higher.

The bonus material is a mixed bag. While the 'horror movie' is nothing but a series of naff music videos linked together by some equally-naff dramatic footage (we are mercifully spared any dialogue), the short documentary is a nice touch, giving us a snapshot of the scene in East Germany at the time of the show. The enthusiasm of the interviewees is infectious, though the absence of Kreator themselves is a bit of a let-down. On the plus side, Andy Sneap of Sabbat (who supported Kreator) does turn up for about 15 seconds to add nothing particularly noteworthy to the discussion.

If you enjoy modern Kreator, there's little incentive for you to splash out on 'At the Pulse of Kapitulation'; compared to 'Live Kreation', the picture quality on this DVD is inexcusable, and the bonus material is really little more than a minor distraction, which can almost certainly be found on youtube anyway. If, however, like me, you can't stand the Gothenburg-tinged sound of modern Kreator, with its predictably melodic riffing and Petrozza's squawky vocals, this DVD is as good as you're going to get. It presents Kreator as the raw, uncompromising and bestial thrash band they once were, at the height of their powers. Hell, the CD alone is probably worth the asking price!