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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.