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Don't Listen Without an Aspirin on Standby - 84%

Superchard, August 17th, 2019

It wasn't long before thrash metal would make its way from Canada and U.S.A. to Germany of all places, a country that was seemingly more into pop rock and progressive acts a decade ago, a country whose primary language isn't English, and a country that was considered an enemy to the west in the last major war. Looking back on it from today's viewpoint this is just common knowledge that Germans could thrash just as hard, if not harder than their western progenitors, but if I had been growing up when thrash metal was at its most relevant, I would not help but question why Germany caught on so quick as compared to say, the United Kingdom, the country where metal originated from... and apart from Onslaught, I honestly can't name a single thrash band between the years 1983 - 1986 stepping out of the British isles, apart from arguably Venom. Germany on the other hand, did have a handful of notable acts, today the only ones that ever get mentioned are Sodom, Destruction, and Tankard to a lesser extent. Oh, and of course it would be an absolute tragedy not to mention the legendary Kreator! But Germany was a goldmine of early thrash metal, not just the often touted acts above, but we shouldn't forget to mention prominent bands like Holy Moses, Exumer, and the speed metal act Living Death, a band that proves Germany was on the scene at least as early as 1984.

Apart from a historically impressive track record, the releases from that time to come out of Germany were top-notch, and far more brutal in my opinion than acts going on the western half of the globe, at least the ones in the Northern Americas. A band like Kreator seems to take the brutal elements of say Slayer, perhaps even Sepultura and mix them with the speed metal antics heard on Metallica's Kill 'em All, with vocals being prototypical death metal style, before death metal was ever a thing, and guitar riffs that were either going to be chugging speed or more brutally bludgeoning than Slayer. German pioneers Sodom would take the brutality a step further on their debut Obsessed by Cruelty before Kreator even hit the studio, it really showcases that Germany seemed to come from a different perspective when it came to how they like their thrash. Meanwhile, flash-forward a decade later and Pantera seem to be incapable of not repeating themselves of how each of their albums surpasses the next in terms of heaviness. Sorry, as much as I love Pantera, bands like Kreator and Sodom really do make their pompous attitudes and shameless gloating look really naive, especially so when bands like Kreator are performing on equipment that costs less than half the price.

But I wouldn't go so far to say that Endless Pain is a "raw" album. Quite far from it actually. This is one of the best sounding early thrash recordings out there. It's not plagued with Destruction's paper thin, hollow and weak debut, Infernal Overkill, and certainly not as low end heavy or as dark and brooding as the dungeon dwelling debut album by Sodom. Everything is very lively on Kreator's debut and seems to blast out of the speakers with full force, while still maintaining the chaotic and frantic pace invented by the likes of Venom, to be refined by Slayer. Re-releases would clean it up even further, such a process would typically gentrify an album's uniqueness, yet Endless Pain remains fresh and alive to this very day. In fact, I believe the album has obtained a better sound with subsequent remasters.

Many of the thrash bands to come from Germany would get a reputation for being far more "technical" than most other bands of the genre. Kreator would be no exception to get this kind of praise from fans. I personally don't find Endless Pain to be all that intricate, though there are some very inventive and complex riffs scattered throughout, especially the intro riff to "Total Death". One would have to look up a guitar tab to verify precisely what Mille Petrozza and Roberto Fioretti are actually playing here, it really sounds like the guitar are vomiting up their notes. I know that's a weird way to describe a guitar riff, but it's just so quickly performed without much cadence utilized to emphasize anything that's happening. The execution is not sloppy mind you, Kreator certainly had better chops than most acts, as evidenced by the song to follow, "Storm of the Beast", my personal favorite the album has to offer for its guitar riffs alone. It's also one of the few moments on Endless Pain where the band slow the tempo down for a short moment during the chorus, another standout slower moment being the intro to final track, "Dying Victims". The final track sticks out like a sore thumb with its "Don't Fear the Reaper" guitar intro coming unexpectedly before quickly bringing everything back to Kreator territory.

If you were to ask my opinion for the best thrash debut to come from the big four from the U.S.A., my answer would be an easy vote towards Megadeth's Killing is my Business... and Business is Good!. Germany's power trifecta consisting of Kreator, Sodom and Destruction is certainly a harder decision to make as I'm not as familiar with them. though the consensus would certainly seem to point to this album. I personally would need to revisit the other two again before making a final decision, but what I can say is that Endless Pain is a hard album not to like if you're a fan of thrash metal. It's a straight-forward, mostly simple album apart from whatever Ventor is doing on the drums throughout most of the album, not to mention he also happens to split the vocal responsibilities, and actually provides vocals for every other track on the album, I happen to prefer Ventor's vocals and wish he would've done more on subsequent early releases such as Pleasure to Kill and Terrible Certainty. Not the most inventive thrash metal album out there, but certainly one that shouldn't be forgotten among the great B-tier list of thrash classics.

Superchard gets super hard for:
Flag of Hate
Storm of the Beast
Son of Evil

Kreator's chapter one : Evil - 100%

DesecratorJ, June 14th, 2018

There was a time when Kreator was one of the heaviest metal band in the world, in its glorious days of Pleasure to Kill until the Extreme Aggression album. However, the early days of Kreator are quite dark and evil compared to their later stuff. They were named Tormentor for two years before changing their name to Kreator, releasing two demos, which are both low-fi quality recordings, and barely listenable. They got their record deal a little bit later than their country mates of Destruction and Sodom, but it was still ahead of its time and the debut album of Kreator also deserve the same praise. When I hear about this band, it's always about their most known songs, but we have to remember that the original version of their iconic song "Flag of Hate" is actually from their first album, Endless Pain. The band went into various style during their career, but let's see what this record is all about...

Being the first full-length of Kreator, released in late 1985, it was basically the perfect time to release such aggressive music. To me, "Endless Pain" is one pure of a thrash metal record. By pure, I mean that the other releases of Kreator such has "Pleasure to Kill" has some early death metal elements present on some tracks, or "Terrible Certainty" is more technical at some points. But "Endless Pain" was made with just one goal in mind; Be fast, heavy, violent and evil. This album is probably one of the best example of the sound of German thrash scene. Even if it was recorded in just ten days, the musicanship was already quite good, and the guys of Kreator were pretty much minded to make a blast with the sound of this album. There are ten songs for a running time of 38 minutes, and let me say that there are no stopping point in these songs, they are basically all the same style, except maybe some exeptions but overall, every tracks on the album are brutal as hell.

Well, the album doesn't have any break actually, it starts off with the title track "Endless Pain", which has no introduction whatsoever, starting with a riff and Ventor's drums with the vocals kicking in. An arranged song in the classical way, but does the job very efficiently, in fact, the album doesn't feature some particular song structure as Sodom's "Obsessed By Cruelty" for example, as I mentioned in my last review of that record. It's kept simple, but what matters the most is the energy displayed, the young rebel spirit is definitely present, and it gives this album a certain charm. The fast-pacing guitar riffs is maintained in the following track, "Total Death", a highlight of this record. It's very similar to Exodus's "Strike of the Beast", but the catchiness and intensity of that one is impressive, its chorus hits pretty hard with the harsh vocals of Mille Petrozza. To be quite honest, one of the main reason I prefer "Endless Pain" over all the releases of Kreator is the sharing vocals duties between Mille and Ventor. They have a very different tone while both fitting perfectly in each song they perform. Ventor is more furious while Mille's vocals sounds more like bestial. The track listing of the album is well-arranged for that particular case too. They do the vocals each their turns through each song of the album.

Even if simplicity is present, some tracks are pretty interesting though. Songs like "Cry War" and "Storm of the Beast" are a little different with their more mid-paced tempo verse. To me, it adds some variety to the album, both these songs start a little more slowly, but reach the top speed we all like pretty quickly. Otherwise, we have of course some speed metal structured tracks such as the iconic "Flag of Hate", "Bonebreaker" and "Son of Evil". They are similar on a certain level, but each also brings something different too. The beat is really easy to follow and to thrash as well. The brutality of Kreator's debut doesn't end here though because some forgotten tracks like "Dying Victims" and "Living in Fear" are among the most violent songs of their whole catalog. Being signed to Noise Records, the band had the chance to release an already good quality release, as the production of Endless Pain is pretty good for a debut album. The instruments are well mixed, except maybe the bass, which is pretty much buried to a certain degree, a fact that does not really surprise me as a 80s thrash metal listener.

As many other 80s extreme metal bands of that time, Kreator, or as Tormentor before, flirted for a short period of time with the occult and evil stuff. That makes this album the only one to have such lyrical concept, as some material on Endless Pain was composed during the Tormentor days. However, they quickly dropped off for a more violent attitude soon after. Overall, this album is to me very underrated and hidden because of the success of their later releases mentioned earlier in this review. It is also one of my most recommendable album from the German thrash scene, people who like bands like Sodom, Destruction, Deathrow or Darkness will praise this album.

Favorite tracks: (Hard choices)

Dying Victims
Flag of Hate
Living in Fear
Son of Evil

About good boys and f**ked girls - 79%

Felix 1666, January 6th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

Some years ago, Mille spoke in an interview about "Endless Pain". He said that Noise Records had booked the studio for two weeks. Yet the band members were very proud of the fact that they were able to finish the recordings within ten days. In hindsight, Mille could no longer understand this amateurish, anti-perfectionist behaviour. But it gets even "better". Quite frankly, the album sounds like it has been recorded not within ten days, but within ten hours. Anyway, exactly the non-professional approach and the fairly awkward production lend Kreator's debut its special charm. Although it is defaced with one of these shitty Lawvere paintings, "Endless Pain" has become an important time document, not only because of the amazing career of the band, but also because of its musical content.

Okay, one cannot say that the album was highly original. Kreator wanted to sound as demonic, evil and abnormal as possible, but their closest competitors, Destruction and Sodom, pursued the same target. Furthermore, "Endless Pain" holds some riffs that had previously been used by others. "Total Death", for example, reproduces the riffs of the chorus of "Strike of the Beast". Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the trio copied these sounds deliberately. It is just a fact that a few parts of the album lie in close proximity to sections of other tunes. Yet Kreator also wrote outstanding guitar lines that triggered a fresh and energizing breeze. "Bonebreaker", a close relative of "Total Death", started with a riff that had the power to wake the dead in a matter of seconds. Both "Bonebreaker" and "Total Death" demonstrated that the young Jürgen "Ventor" Reil was able to manage very fast rhythms. "Tormentor" is another straight, unfussy and fast-paced rocket, but Kreator had slower fragments in their repertoire as well. Thus, let's put an eye on "Storm of the Beast".

Its beginning celebrates the triumph of simplicity. Ventor plays a primitive four-four time and a forceful guitar sets in and increases the tension. The song turns out to be another speed-driven, ugly monster, but its chorus slows down the tempo and the ending picks up the intro sequence again in order to close the cycle. "Storm of the Beast" does not show the highest compositional brilliance, but it is coherent and catchy in its own way. "Cry War", another fine mix of mid-paced and rapid parts, follows a similar line. By contrast, exactly the opener and title track creates nothing else but an awkward sounding noise and I also never understood the structure of "Son of Evil", despite its actually strong beginning. Well, as the oh so wise guys like to say, every beginning is hard. Even the special thanks section was strange. It listed their parents (good boys!) as well as "the girls that we f**k" (not so good boys!). But how many girls wanted to be f**ked by one of these three unwashed outsiders? One? Or even none at all?

Despite these irritating details, Kreator's debut was an important statement. It made clear once and for all that energy, ambition and conviction beat technical musicianship. Unlike the aforementioned guys of Destruction and Sodom, they did not start with an EP, but with a complete album and therefore we got the full dose of juvenile anger. Even in 2017, Mille's, Ventor's and Rob's thirst for action is still tangible. Inspiration was the magic word for the band as well as for its noise making surrounding. The movie "Thrash, Altenessen", which is available on YouTube, shows the fairly harmonic yet restrictive working-class milieu where the band members grew up. Furious thrash was the tool to break these chains. Nobody could foresee that Kreator would become a force to be reckoned with, but one thing was certain: this debut came straight from the heart. Among other things, this feature makes "Endless Pain" so valuable.

Phenomenal debut - 95%

Dead1, February 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, Futurist (Reissue)

Most of the time words like "savage," "visceral," "aggressive' and "primal" are overused in heavy metal reviews. Every third-rate thrash or death band gets painted with such phrases, even though often you end up feeling as if Mötley Crüe's "Smoking In The Boys Room" would be more aggressive and in-your-face. But one album that can only be described by such violent description is Kreator's phenomenal 1985 debut, Endless Pain.

If later Kreator can be imagined as battalions of riot police methodically striking down all opposition, then Endless Pain is a group of soccer hooligans obsessed with nothing but inflicting wanton violence upon anyone. Indeed the music seldom lets up. It's fast, furious and angry. Very often such a premise can be monotonous with albums thrashing through at similar pace without much variation. Kreator avoids this by writing actual distinct songs, each with their own central musical themes and hooks. The band is not afraid of throwing in some more traditional heavy metal and punk elements a la "Cry War" or "Storm of the Beast."

Dual vocalists also help maintain a sense of variation. Mille presents a more high-pitched shrill rasp, whereas drummer Ventor rumbles along in a more guttural style that would be at home on many an early death or black metal album. The riffs are phenomenal, being both memorable and primal. It's in fact hard to believe this a three-piece.

There is very much a form of youthful exuberance that other, more established bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax had already started replacing with a more serious and more metallic approach. Indeed this sounds more like it belongs in 1983 with the likes of Show No Mercy or Kill 'Em All than in 1985.

Tracks such as "Endless Pain," "Total Death," "Bonebreaker" and "Flag of Hate" are quintessential slabs of thrash. Even when the composition is flawed on songs such as "Cry War," there's still an infectious, violent groove that makes them enjoyable. And such flawed moments are few and far between.

The production is primitive but that's part of the charm. A more polished approach would have reduced the impact of primal, barbaric thrash metal. The remastered version was done well enough to make the music quite accessible whilst maintaining the sense of primal violence.

In the end Endless Pain attains a form of perfection based not on technical playing and production, but rather as the definition of extremely violent yet memorable thrash metal.

Splendidly Dangerous - 92%

rbright1674, February 11th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

In 1985, for heavy metal bands, cover art was an extremely important thing. If you were an extreme metal band, it was all encompassing. People weren't going to hear your music on the radio and if nobody knew who you were, then your cover art needed to say A LOT. The cover of "Endless Pain" says that this music is pure, unadulterated aggression - no power ballads to be found anywhere here. And if your parents caught you with it, and god forbid should they actually LISTEN to it, your ass was due for many lectures about this evil music and the power of Satan and how important your grades were and so forth.

I mean, hell, that sells itself.

Luckily enough, Kreator managed to tap into a primal, visceral aggression that not only did the cover art justice, but also established them as contenders to be reckoned with in thrash. Borrowing liberally from Venom and Bathory but not being derivative of either, "Endless Pain" is a tour de force from beginning to end. For a 3 piece on a limited budget, there's a lot of raw power and passion here. Dirty, sinister, snarling vocals, bludgeoning, breakneck drums and a razor sharp sound from the guitar and bass set this album as a serious piece of business and something you DESPERATELY wanted to scare the shit out of your friends with.

All this you can take in at a casual first listen, but the surprising element that doesn't really strike you until later is how solid the songwriting is. It doesn't take a million listens to commit it to your memory and even pulling away from it after a first listen, stop and think - it's surprisingly well done for young kids taking their first bat in the studio. To wit, you can have all the aggression in the world, and the most violent cover art you can think of, but something Kreator noticed even then is that, unless you have good, solid, memorable songs...what's it worth?

That's what makes long lasting bands right there, and Kreator has certainly achieved that.

In the years since, "Endless Pain" has rightfully earned it's place among the ranks of legendary debuts. It's paved the way for a lot of the extreme speed, thrash and black metal acts that have followed them and it's influence cannot be denied. Against all odds, three kids from Essen, Germany managed to document a moment in extreme metal that not only gave them a solid position in the years to come, but influenced thousands of bands to follow.

There's not a slight or off moment to be found - every track here is essential listening from start to finish and surprisingly more rhythmic than you might suspect. With hooks aplenty to keep you turning the needle back, "Endless Pain" is an album that absolutely has to be owned. You don't just listen to it - you experience it. It's a monumental accomplishment and there aren't enough good things that can be said about it.

The A.B.C. of Extreme Metal - 93%

Stenkth, August 22nd, 2015

And by A.B.C. I mean: atrocious, bestial and chaotic, this album is the purest definition that can be found for the term "extreme metal", because it is fast, it's very aggressive, it's "hardcore" in that it has no 'soft moments or instrumentals' that go away from the chaos that the whole album creates, except maybe for the first 25 seconds of Dying Victims and fortunately is the last song on this album, so the album is pure aggression itself. This album was released in 1985, but it is way ahead of its time. In that year there wasn't yet any Darkness Descends, nor Reign in Blood, nor Shark Attack, nor anything like this; for 1985, this is the most merciless album that can exist (this one along with Seven Churches and maybe Sepultura's Bestial Devastation ep); however, that doesn’t mean that before 1985 there didn't exist other releases that were extreme, in 1984 Hellhammer released Triumph of Death, an homage to the most horrendous face of metal in their ep Apocalyptic Raids, and in that same year Bathory released their self titled album; although Endless Pain is more extreme than Bathory's, Bathory's album is darker and more sinister than Endless Pain. Maybe there will be people that will want to include To Mega Therion as an extreme and bestial album (same for Bulldozer's Day of Wrath), but I don't consider To Mega Therion as extreme as Seven Churches or this album (but that doesn't mean Mega Therion is bad, all the opposite, it is magnificent).

Half the album's songs have Petrozza as the main vocalist, and the other half have Ventor (the drummer) as the main vocalist, and they are arranged in a way that one song has Petrozza as vocalist and the next song has Ventor as the vocalist, which is good. Although they could have put the first 5 songs with Petrozza alone as the vocalist, and the other five with Ventor as the vocalist and that would have been good as well. Both vocalists are aggressive, and with both vocalists the album is extreme and great; however, with Petrozza leading the band, Kreator sounds like a demon that has been unleashed and is completely pissed off and determined to harm humanity, whereas Ventor sounds like a pissed off guy that has the urge to kill. The difference is in that: Ventor sounds human and pissed off (extreme thrash metal), and Petrozza sounds inhumane, fierce and pissed off (extreme black thrash metal). Both vocalists are great, I like their style, around extremeness and violence the album's music centers on. The songs that have Ventor as the vocalist are the ones that in moments slow down a little bit the speed, but then again they speed up (a thing that isn't bad at all), for example: Storm of the Beast or Cry War are songs that go relatively slow (when compared with the rest of the songs), however, after the middle of the songs they speed up again and get violent; whereas Petrozza's songs never slow down at all.

Drums sound good overall, they aren't noisy in the respect that you can listen to the rest of the instruments, they also aren't brutal or something like that but still they go well with the music, they have good production and sound good. Bass can be heard sometimes here and there (mainly in Bone Breaker), but overall what sounds the most is drums and guitars, and of course, vocals which I consider are the most remarkable thing of this album.

Another interesting point that I want to highlight is that when this was recorded, band members were 18 and 19 years old, and that is quite impressive for me. They were very young, but that didn't mean they had no clue on what they were doing, they knew what they were doing and what they wanted to prove with this album: that they would be the most extreme thrash metal band in the whole Germany; Kreator are the Germany Slayers of the teutonic trio (Destruction, Kreator and Sodom; although there is people that expand the trio to a four way including Tankard or Exumer [I am possessed by fire!]).

This album breathes and emanates bestiality, ferocity, but at the same time, love for metal. This album raises high the Flag of Hate and the flag of metal itself in general.

Essential Primal Pummeling - 85%

Left Hand Ov Dog, October 24th, 2012

Kreator may have been the last of the German ‘Big 3’ to storm the gates of the ever burgeoning world of thrash, but to these ears, they wiped the floor with all the material both Destruction and Sodom had up to that point released. Endless Pain is very close in aesthetic to Slayer’s debut, a driving storm of diabolical riff craft that attempts little outside of standard verse-chorus-bridge compositional dynamics. Though to be fair, the same could be said of the vast majority of thrash metal, especially the formative albums. So, when based purely on the strength of the songwriting, which is infectious enough to make you blow chunks in purulent glee, Endless Pain is a resounding success. These boys weren’t quite as technically proficient as Destruction or as filthy as Sodom, instead lurking somewhere in between, but they more than distinguished themselves with an array of riffs that sear themselves like hot iron mushroom stamps into the memory banks, and their compelling dual vocal assault served to further differentiate them. There are hints of the unique monster Kreator would become in short order, but for the most part, this is very much in the ballpark of Show No Mercy, albeit with a raw, animalistic hatred for humanity that veritably drips with bloody audible saliva.

The fast, sharp NWOBHM style riffs are nothing incredibly unique, but they’re both exciting and memorable, chopping and slicing along like shrapnel in a razor wind. This is pure-blooded thrash, through and through, though a certain aspect lends a blackened aesthetic to a number of tracks. Namely, Mille’s vocals, rasping like some reptilian monstrosity, breathing ice all over the even numbered tracks. These duties are split down the middle with drummer Ventor, who lends a slobbering, filthy Neanderthal drawl to the odds. I like Mille’s much better, as he’s been one of my favorite vocalists (and guitarists) in the medium for years, but this dynamic switch-off does wonders in keeping already fun, yet familiar songs continuously fresh. All told, it’s much more of a strength than a detriment. Mille’s riffs and solos are all primed for war, sometimes just couple simple bars, and other times fast, scathing flurries. He and bassist Robert Fioretti work in tandem to get that head banging with rippling metal might, and the production feels raw and audible enough to do the music justice, if not accentuating these calculated napalm strikes. In all regards, you never feel like you’re getting anything other than a grade A classic thrashing.

The whole experience is incredibly barbaric, at length, but therein lays the charm, a vibe and technique that would climax on Pleasure to Kill. Songs like Tormentor (why does every classic thrash band need a song called Tormentor?), Cry War, and Son of Evil just charge up with wild, violent abandon and slash your throat right out… in fact, you get that from most tracks here. Flag of Hate is also a highlight, of not only the album, but their entire career. The techniques are simple and few, but Endless Pain just exudes creepy, violent excitement the whole way through, like a pack of cave-dwelling, spear-wielding nightmare beasts relentlessly stalking you through the night, jabbering obscenities with bloodlust shining in their eyes. It’s this revelatory primacy that lends such an instinctually satisfying edge to this album, with no need to intellectualize a damn thing, just feel the power and hatred surge while Mille shreds your face into scraps.

Endless Pain is going to appeal most to those looking for good old school thrash. In fact, most people that will love this album already know it very well, but it bears repeating once again. If you’re into classic intensity like Slayer, and other Bay Area bands, but haven’t delved into the German division, this is an excellent starting point. Conversely, the new wave of thrashers might find this interesting, as it’s a building block for a lot of material today, and more specifically to see the roots of the phenomenal, yet completely different band that Kreator embody today. Endless Pain is not perfect. It’s loose, wild, and simple, and there’s nothing here that will blow your mind like dynamite in a watermelon, but it’s aged incredibly well, and is an absolutely essential addition to any self-respecting thrashers collection. That’s a claim you’ll see me make often, I’m sure, and I assure you, I mean it every goddamn time. Out of all the founders of the empire called thrash, Kreator are one of my favorites, and moreover, Endless Pain is one fantastic debut album. As to whether or not it gets a top spot in the lexicon as a whole, I’m not so sure, but it contains enough quality to continue kicking ass after nearly 30 years, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it makes us spit blood after 30 more. Timeless awesomeness: the definition of classic.

-Left Hand of Dog

Raise The Flag of Hate!!! - 87%

Metal_Jaw, April 12th, 2012

There's no thrash like German thrash. Straight outta Essen comes my personal favorite of the German Thrash Triangle, Kreator, and their completely bloodthirsty debut album, "Endless Pain". How fucking cool is that title, huh? While certainly not Kreator's best, "Endless Pain" is one of the strongest starters for any thrash band ever, totally obliterating all in its path with a then unheard of rush of hardcore hooks and riffs mixed with grisly, genuinely evil vocals. Are you ready for the pain?

Kreator starts out as a trio here, with Roberto Fioretti on bass, "Ventor" on drums, and the legendary Mille Petrozza on guitars, both the latter two sharing vocal duties. Ventor's vocals are pretty vicious, but a tad bit cleaner than Mille's, whose vox are the real main attraction here. He sounds really, really pissed and flat out evil; classic raspy German growling. His guitar work is competent though nothing terribly special; even still the guy can rip and shred a riff better than you or me. Ventor's drumming is also simple and workman-like; nothing terribly creative but he has pummel the kit like a jackhammer on crack. Speed magic! And then we have Fioretti's invisible bass, which is so low in the mix I can't properly review it. Moving on.

There are 10 songs on this album. Ten songs that are are fucking awesome as fuck, and if you don't think they are awesome, then you are weak as fuck, plain and poseur simple. While the record is plagued a bit by a lack of variation and some repetition, they all still manage to kick in one way or another. The opening title track rips with untamable Ventor vocals and one hell of a riff that starts up a bit after the minute mark. Or we have "Tormentor", killing all with its clean hyperspeed and the hooky chanting of the title. Beware of "Bone Breaker", another catchy mini-thrasher that mixes speedy brutality with some cool melody in the verses. Maybe you could "TRY...TO RAISE...THE FLAG...OF HAAAATE!!!" and rip a hole through your neighbor's house with help from Petrozza's throaty death growls and more catchy chainsaw riffage. Watch out for the "Storm of the Beast" and its immense chorus and demonic time changes.

Overall, this is pure death-to-poseur, high-thrashing venom right here. Sure there is the lack of variety and a sense of inexperience, but you're not gonna care much when you're being ear-fucked by this many quality riffs and uber-aggressive thrashing. Recommended for you, and highly recommended for your neighbors!

Two sets of pipes, strong structures and Germany - 88%

Gutterscream, May 4th, 2011
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

“…in the name of Satan spread all your fear…”

Pleasure to Kill is a favorite of many, me included, but it’s possible without the pretense of this album’s gift of stringent structuring and adept songwriting, PTK as a debut may have come off as an infantile, pointless frenzy (some say it is regardless, but hey...) of sonic machinery. With Endless Pain, Kreator built a full-on thrash foundation that they could go a few places with: pull it back a few notches for the lovely radio-friendly market or haul off and belt everyone with an effort even more bulldozing. Unlike Sodom and Destruction, there was no initial ep for which to test the waters, so Endless Pain became their trial by fire. Of course PTK is an intense, speed-concentrated whirl of serrated steel that may be too chaotic for some listeners, and rightfully so these people gravitate more toward this lp or the eventual slabs that would follow said sophomore effort.

Which band of the unholy trinity of kraut thrash is better is a royal toss-up. At first glance with debut eps/lps, Sodom is the most unhinged and barbaric. Destruction manage to inject their brand of bedlam with a rough intricacy that would improve over time. Kreator, the last of the trio to groove vinyl, is thrash most fearsome, yet has a penchant for solid structures and possesses an ingredient hardly any other metal band can raise a hand to - not only do Kreator have two members spraining lungs equally, but the pair of guttural voices are easily distinguishable from one another. And hell, one's the drummer.

“…the voices of hell sound so nice…”

The pitchfork vocal attack is indeed a factor that sheds a more adoring light on the three-piece as Mille’s voice is a tattered wind of raw shrieks that curse “Tormentor”, “Flag of Hate”, and “Total Death”, meanwhile Ventor’s thicker, excavated-from-the-gullet broadcast crushes “Son of Evil”, “Cry War” and the title cut, the latter of which, with its brashly forceful chorus, launches the lp like a viscous, quickly-picked seminar on German thrash. Ventor laughs diabolically in the faces of astonished onlookers who haven't a clue what they've gotten themselves into. “Total Death” rings in with a similar velocity, then is accosted by the variety of quasi-trudging riffage, meanwhile a victorious chorus (that, yes, does resemble the chorus of Exodus' “Strike of the Beast”, but let's face the fact that it isn’t quite the beacon of far-flung songwriting where no one else would’ve come up with it) finds the highlight reel. Mild double bass tousles “Storm of the Beast” out of hibernation, a piece of fleshy thrash that's blotched red and white from rashes of speed and tempos of a slower, more protracted nature. “Tormenter” takes those tamer blotches and infects them with the rapid pace many of these tracks succumb to. Then it just so happens that “Son of Evil” summons back what some of those unhurried strides churn up, then surges onward on the tide the lp's generous momentum has provided.

“Flag of Hate” waves side two into motion, another rough n’ tumble track that will eventually pale to its brutal, thick-wristed revamp on the not-yet-released Flag of Hate ep. “Cry War” interchanges a methodically lethargic verve with one of the most simple, yet polevaulting main riffs on the disk that jaunts directly into the chorus. Vocally scalded by Mille is “Bonebreaker”, one of the lp's many tunes slouchless in the areas of riffage and propulsion, and “Living in Fear”, with its dramatic establishing riffs, bestial cry for war and main rhythm that spends time on the savagely epic stage, keeps the album's fervor hot with flame.

With a name that could have easily doubled as Creator both audibly and definitively, Kreator handed us a chief thrash affair on a blistered palm, an affair that’s noticeably unlike most of the thrash talent that roamed not only the area, but the galaxy as well. Next year’s Flag of Hate ep would show us where they were headed. Ventor hasn't stopped laughing.

Ripping all angels - 83%

autothrall, January 4th, 2011

Mille Petrozza and company might not have been the first to the well, but their debut as Kreator would arrive soon enough to join the rank and file of Sodom and Destruction among the earlier, major German thrash releases (post-demo stage). Formed a few years prior as Tormentor, with the members in their teens, the band had been jamming on covers, performing a few odd gigs, and releasing a few tapes, one of which caught the ear of Noise Records guru Karl Walterbach, who promptly signed them and asked them to change their name (legal reasons). Kreator had been born, Endless Pain was produced, and though it might not hold a candle to much of the band's 1986-1990 catalog, it's still quite impressive considering the age of the roster and the crude crunch of the writing.

From a technical standpoint, I might place this somewhere between In the Sign of Evil and Sentence of Death in both songwriting quality and musicianship. It's not quite so blistering and bedazzling as Destruction's EP, but a little more involved than the punkish hymns of Angel Ripper. The rather unique, expressive architecture of Mille's chord selection was already in place, even though it wasn't nearly as refined as Pleasure to Kill or Terrible Certainty, and his harsh, barking vocals weren't unlike Angel Ripper's in that they'd later become a major influence upon the emergent black metal scene. Indeed, Sodom and Kreator are very often considered proponents of the 'first wave' of that genre, and that's a distinction I certainly won't argue with here. However, aside from the intro riff to "Total Death" sounding a little like "Mad Butcher", and carrying a similar leather & bullet belts image to Destruction, there was something fresh, bludgeoning and unique about this young band that foreshadowed their ascent.

The vocals are an immediate highlight of the title track, a sadistic glaze over its rippling, busy guitars and the steady crashing of Ventor's drums. Rob Fioretti's bass might not have been a major factor here, but the thick pulse would at least offer some concrete support to the chords. The construction of the notes was easily on a level plane with what was coming out of California, even if the band were not writing hits of Kill 'Em All or Show No Mercy caliber. In particular, I'd call out "Tormentor" and the epic "Flag of Hate" as the real hits here, the former hailing from their demo days under their previous moniker, the latter good enough to get its own EP release, with tearing, radioactive guitars and a killer bridge hook. However, there are other pleasures here like the brute "Bone Breaker", with its hilariously blunt chorus verse, or the cutting velocity of "Son of Evil" in which Mille warps his vocals into a higher, screaming velocity not unlike old Slayer or Whiplash.

A few tunes don't exactly rise to the occasion, like "Cry War" or "Storm of the Beast" (with a title like that, I wanted it to be better), but there are no real hangups even on a complete listen one quarter century post-release. It's superior to In the Sign of Evil, as there's simply more to hear and the guitar patterns feel more bloodied and aggressive, but not quite a match for the riffs of Sentence of Death. However, I do like the production here more than either of those EPs. Even before the touching up in re-releases, it sounded fresh and as if the band were due a successful future. As it turns out, fate would deliver countless tours and further label deals, but as the time, Mr. Petrozza and his stalwarts were thrilled just to produce an album in their teens, and that enthusiasm and vibrancy is omnipresent in this recording.


Long live the torment! - 94%

MercyfulSatyr, October 17th, 2008

Released back in the glory days of thrash - that is, the mid-eighties - this was the REAL beginning of Teutonic thrash. Forget Infernal Overkill; even that masterpiece pales in comparison to the giant known as Endless Pain. Never before had a band taken their hatred and violence to such an astounding level. Fast, brutal, and above all, skilled musicianship abounds in this 1985 monster. There's no shortage of menacing riffs and shredding solos, the drumming suffocates, and the guitar and bass obliterate. All of this is possible due to a truly crushing production job.

The vocals in particular destroy everything in their path. Mille is Hell's equivalent of Jesus; he can be no other than the Devil incarnate. He's at his most demonic here, showing elements of what would become death and black metal, and on no other album does he sound so purely blasphemous. His growling is made all the more frightening by the fact that one can still decipher the lyrics - which are, by the way, evil at its best. Unfortunately, he would lose a bit of the deathliness of his vocals on subsequent releases.

Each and every song is worth a listen (hell, they deserve WAY more than that), and no track is weaker than any other. The most memorable may be the title track, "Total Death," "Flag of Hate," "Tormentor," and "Bone Breaker." An honorable mention goes to "Dying Victims," which opens with a pretty interesting bass solo.

The guitar solos are somewhat atypical for shredders; they are actually highly memorable. Some are fairly long, which in this case is a huge plus. They're extremely intricate and equally deadly and effective. This album's solos are some of the best thrash has to offer, which is saying a lot in a genre known for its solos. Rob Fioretti deserves major credit for his bass playing. Instead of quietly following the guitar as bass players are prone to do in metal, he plays fairly loud and independently, sometimes rivaling the guitar itself. The drumming is also very sound. Always precise, always powerful, Ventor redefines just how fast and how well one can play the drums. The instrumentation along with Mille's Satanic vocal delivery adds up to a completely devastating listening experience.

Endless Pain marks the beginning of a five-album trend of nearly perfect brutal thrash metal. From here all the way up to Coma of Souls, Kreator would make a name for themselves as the head of the death/thrash movement. Though they later became a band of inconsistent quality, for now they were at the top of their game.

Where the Real German Thrash was Born - 88%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, March 26th, 2008

The 1985 Kreator’s debut is a fucking brutal assault. The thrash influences are preponderant but we can find death ones also because the group seems really bad ass, pissed off with the rest of the world and the violence of execution is inhuman for the period. With the title track we can really taste the group’s essence, made of thousands guitars riffs, restless drumming and the screamed vocals by Mille.

It was so hard to do this kind of metal at the beginning of the 80s and they were surely the precursors of a new form, a new conception of extreme music. The pure thrash metal was the main genre at the time but this goes beyond, for sure. “Total Death” has in it riffs directly taken from Destruction’s “Mad Butcher” and Exodus’ “Strike Of The Beast” during the refrain. Funny! Here the vocals are on the borderline between thrash and black! Unbelievable.

The mid paced parts finally come from the third track, “Storm Of The Beast” with a great galloping guitars work, more various than in the previous tracks. This song is definitely more “pure thrash” but as you know, also the production contributes in creating a gloomier sound that sometimes can be categorized as death metal. The solos are very similar in these songs but terribly good without being technical or melodic. They can be seen as simple free rein in pure Slayer style with shredded parts.

“Tormentor” is a piece of death/thrash history that still nowadays is played in every single gig by Mille and Co. The main riff is really old school thrash. The sequence “Son Of Evil”- “Flag of Hate” really takes your breath away reducing you to ashes. I thank a lot the mid paced beginning to “Cry War” because I was almost exhausted…I longed for peace and quite but the punkish, Sodom-inspired refrain pushed another nail in my already bleeding head.

To say nothing of the speed/thrash blast of “Bonebraker” and “Living Fear”…pure madness. This is where groups like Sepultura, Death, Obituary and many, many others took inspiration to set up their music. This is a piece of history and the true beginning of the mythical, worldwide known GERMAN THRASH.


IWP, October 16th, 2007

So this is the debut album of one of the most influential and aggressive thrash bands ever. This band makes Slayer sound like wimps. They're a lot more aggressive and overral better than Slayer as well. Speaking of Slayer, this album reminds me alot of Slayer's Show No Mercy. Just l;ike that album, It has a very raw and NWOBHM-ish sound to it. However, just about every song on here is fast, angry, and most of all evil. To add to it, this album features two vocalists. The first one being Ventor who amazingly also plays drums here. Then, we have the second and better fitted singer for this band, Mille. He sings with a black metalish style, and on this album, it fits perfectly.

Amongst the highlights here are the title track, Total Death, Tormentor, Flag of Hate, and Bonebreaker. Bonebreaker oddly has a fun punkish sound to it, but it still has monster riffs. The other songs are raging thrashers that you must headbang to. Mille's vocals are what really makes this album great. I mean, his voice just fits the music almost perfectly. Ventor isn't too shabby either, though. Another thing about Kreator is that whenever they play fast songs, they never fail to impress, but whenever they play slower songs, it always sounds a bit dull and uninteresting. Dying Victims is a great example. It's not a bad song, but it's just not as bloddy awesome as the other songs on this album.

If you're a fan of raw sounding thrash ala Kill 'Em All or Show No Mercy, or just love very aggressive thrash, then by all means get this album. Sure, it's no Pleasure to Kill or Coma of Souls, but it's sure as hell worth your time.

Blood of Jesus one thousend people fall the priest - 85%

Nightcrawler, November 9th, 2004

Kreator started their career right away on a very high note with "Endless Pain", a pretty damn brutal release for 1985. German thrash is general was raging at the time, led mainly by this band and Destruction, though the latter were more into the raw early black metal than the proto-death of Kreator, though they were really basically doing the same thing - tearing your face off with vicious, raw and aggressive thrashing riffage, and Kreator definitely standing out as the better of the two, at least around 1985, the time of Destruction's somewhat uninspired "Infernal Overkill" LP.

"Endless Pain" just never stops to kick your ass, and shows an incredibly young and unexperienced but hungry and inspired trio of evil thrashers, wanting nothing more than to kick the asses of countless fans with lyrics that tell of evil, bloody and brutal subjects, and riffs enhancing that atmosphere, in a band originally started as a less-than-serious pastime.

As they were still quite young and unexperienced, there's a noticable lack of variety in between the songs, and some of it is slightly less memorable than what the bay area was doing at the time, for example, when monsters like "Bonded By Blood" for example were coming out. And speaking of which - the choruses of Kreator's "Total Death" and Exodus' "Strike of the Beast"... "Try! To run! Or hide! From the death!" VS "Try! To run! Or fight! Off the strike! Of the beast" With the exact same vocal melody. Who ripped off who? I don't care, cause both sound awesome.

But anyway. This slight lack of variety does little to hurt the album, cause what it lacks for in that factor it more than makes up for in plain awesome riffage. "Tormentor", for example, is the best fucking song on here, and that main riff is in total "Bonded By Blood" or "Kill 'Em All" style, catchy as fuck, while the rest of the song brutalizes you completely. This album does that pretty damn well, bringing out quite a few really catchy and simultaneously crushing riffs. Other examples would be "Cry War" and "Son of Evil", but it's all pretty fucking good.

Other highlights are "Storm of the Beast", which has some wicked tempo changes, and the short but sweet "Bonebreaker" with a catchy, fast power chord main riff almost sounding like something out of the NWOBHM. And of course the headbanging madness of "Flag of Hate", probably the second greatest track on here. But really, there ain't a single weak song in the bunch, so if you like your early raw, brutal death/thrash from the infamous Germany, then you just cannot possibly go wrong with this, and the fact that their English was quite incompetent at the time (see review title - quote from "Son of Evil") just adds to the charm of early Kreator.

Relentless!! - 84%

Lord_Jotun, February 15th, 2004

"Endless Pain", eh? The title says it all, kids. It happened in 1985, when three German Metal lads - Mille, Ventor and Rob - had to be driven to Berlin (since they were all underage) to record their debut album. With no studio experience at all, they spent 10 days in the studio, put all their effort into it, and the album was done.
The recording quality isn't exactly the best, as the guitars are pretty thin and the drums and vocals often overpower the rest. At times the playing is not too solid, and seldom it gets downright sloppy. Mille and Ventor share vocal duties on the record, and while the former tries a raspy, Black Metal influenced vocal assault and the second prefers a more strightforward raucous scream, both of them are quite lacking in coherence and pronunciation.
So how can we describe the final result? REALLY FUCKING INTENSE.
Most people (about 99%) go stright to "Pleasure to Kill" when it comes to early Kreator material, and I completely second that. Nevertheless, I strongly doubt that there could have been any "Pleasure To Kill" without this somewhat underrated debut. From the unlistenable quality of the clumsy Tormentor demos to being part of the German Thrash Trinity, this was a required step. And even if we forget about its historical significance, "Endless Pain" is solid at the very least. After all this is Kreator, which stands for intensity, energy, aggression and so on.

Despite being the least known of Kreator's winning five (albums from "Endless Pain" to "Coma Of Souls", for the newly initiated), this album yelded some classics anyway, the first in line being of course "Tormentor", precious heritage of the band's humble beginnings. This is the shortest song of the album and represents what Kreator stands for, with its malicious riffs and ceaseless speed. It will remain a cornerstone in the band's live set for years to come, and rightfully so. "Flag of Hate" is another favourite... short drum intro, and here we go, blazing riff after riff all the way till the end. It's when you listen to this couple of tracks that you can see "Pleasure To Kill" approaching on the horizon; still, the rest of the album isn't exactly a letdown.
First, I have to mention the album's amazing kick-in-the-balls opening, achieved thanks to two back-to-back Thrash jewels. "Endless Pain" begins without warning with the furious title track, which immediately assaults the listener with its frantic riffage and Ventor's angriest screams. This must have been on heavy rotation in the Necrodeath boys's stereos when they recorded their debut, "Into The Macabre".
"Endless Pain" finishes with a pre-"Reign In Blood" Slayer worshipping riff, but there's hardly a moment of rest as "Total Death" is next. More riffs, more aggression, more malignant moods. By this pont you've already realized that this album takes no prisoners.
And now, ladies and gentlemen... enter "Storm Of The Beast", the longest track of the lot. This has a slower opening, an dthen alternates fast verses with a crushing mid-tempoed chorus. Of course, all the riffs range from good to amazing. And did I mention that the choruses on this album manage to be catchy and intense at the same time?

I mentioned overlooked cuts earlier, and it's time to do them justice. "Bonebreaker" is one of them, a song which had already appeared on the "End Of The World" demo, only made FASTER this time. The riffs are mindblowing, and take this song almost up there with "Tormentor" in my ranking (not quite at the same height but extremely close). This is also the home to my favourite solo on the album.
"Cry War" is another demo era revenant, once again made faster and tighter. This one alternates between and square 4/4, Celtic Frosty midpaced riff and the usual flat out Thrash attack. Ventor screaming "CRY WAAARR!!" in the chorus epitomizes the rawness of this record pretty well, and who gives a shit if his attempt at a evil laugh sounds more like a cough than anything else. You can always go for "Images And Words" if you crave something more refined; still, the honest hard work behind this album cannot be mistaken.
"Living in Fear" is another blistering little skullcrusher, the second shortest song on the record; after the second chorus it goes into a great instrumental section full of pretty melodic riffs and completed by yet another damn good solo. "Son of Evil" also destroys... great mid-tempoed break after the first verse, with some funny lyrics ("Deny the father, deny the mother / Burning the sister, poison the brother"!?), followed by more killer riffage. "Dying Victims" provides the grand finale, with a classy melodic overture and then frantic riffage all the way to the end.

Wow, this was one hell of a ride. This album definitely deserves more attention that it gets, people. It is a faithful document of the birth of a Metal legend (Kreator are essential, whether you like it or not), a promising effort brought forth by a young and extremely determined band. The reissue also features the four "End Of The World" demo songs as bonus tracks, so you really have no excuse for skipping it... unless you hate Thrash - and especially GOOD thrash -, but I know you don't.

The most special death.... - 87%

UltraBoris, December 30th, 2002

Quick clarification ... the title of this review comes from a live bootleg where a certain song is introduced as "The most special death... is... Total Death!"

Anyway, moving along. This is a great debut from the German thrash masters Kreator. It's raw as fuck, and not quite as "grab you by the fucking throat, spin you upside down, and make you meet your maker 245 times a minute" as Pleasure to Kill, but it is certainly no slouch. It also has one of the most simply awesome album titles ever. "What are you listening to?" ENDLESS PAIN!!!! Doesn't get more Fucking Metal than that.

For the most part, this is very fast thrash with death-metal overtones (especially in the riff work, I hear a lot of old Sepultura or old Death in this), but at times it becomes an all-out raging thrasher, with the addition of monster counterpoint riffs. The best example of this is, the best song on here, "Storm of the Beast". Behold the chorus riff. Fear the chorus riff. All those caught not banging their heads will be shoved eyeballs-first into a fucking oven.

Also... "Take their Lives" has some great riffs in the verses, and "Total Death" is quite... special... yes. "Dying Victims" is just so fucking fast, and "Cry War" has that Artillery-esque total drop in speed, which is really well done. Textbook European thrash here. All the songs are really well done. Mille's vocals aren't quite as evil as on the next few albums, but they definitely go well with the material.

Overall, this is the first in a series of incredibly good Kreator albums - they would, for a few years anyway, do absolutely no wrong.