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Melodic = evil? - 90%

Darkes7_, March 7th, 2009

Certainly not. Not in this case, at least. The new Kreator album is more melodic than Enemy of God, but also heavier. It’s less than 40 minutes long, which shows pretty clearly it’s very straightforward. And it is – except for a few short moments it’s heavy, fast, powerful thrash with some melodic influences from the beginning to the end.

Just like Enemy of God, it starts from the title song, and after a melodic beginning, there is no doubt: it’s Kreator. Strong and relentless, with some melodic parts here and there, we reach the chorus, and basically at this point we can already say a lot about the album. First of all, it’s the production, which is one of the best I’ve ever heard. It sounds raw and modern at the same time, it’s very easy to distinguish the instruments (ok, the bass could be a bit more audible) and you can hear it’s a new album, but it really emphasizes that it was meant to be heavy, even heavier than Enemy of God. I’ve also mentioned the chorus – it’s often on Hordes of Chaos that the chorus is quite simple (usually one sentence) and repeated several times. It might be annoying - normally I hate if something is repetitive, but in this case it’s not a problem to me for some reason, and there’s a good side of that – they’re really catchy and very memorable.

…but OK, we’re just through the first minute of the album, and there’s over 38. Nine songs (+ one interlude, Corpses of Liberty). What has also improved since Enemy of God is that the album is less repetitive – there, from time to time I had an impression that I’ve heard this before on the album – not often, but it happened. Here it doesn’t, the album as a whole is very consistent, but each song is different in a way - also in the way it’s built, usually something more than verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus. The style is also varied, from really heavy, powerful thrashers (Warcurse), through extremely fast and absolutely insane songs (Escalation) to something a bit lighter (To the Afterborn). And if we’re talking about variety – Amok Run is probably the weirdest song on the album, starting with acoustic guitar and clean vocals (!), reminding a bit of Voices of the Dead, and then slowly passing into something even more insane than Escalation, with certainly the catchiest chorus on the whole album - I’m wondering how Mille can catch his breath singing this song, since there are almost no pauses at all. (It’s probably been meant to work awesome live – and well, I had the luck to find out it does. Actually, the album as a whole has that feeling they were thinking a lot “how would that sound live?”, and the production adds to that.) Amok Run certainly stands out on the album, but my absolute favourite is something else – the closing track, Demon Prince. It’s probably the most melodic on the whole album, but also the most complex, most varied and simply awesome. I think it’s also the best written song on the album, every part is long enough to be memorable, but also short enough not to get boring (also, the first solo and the way it passes into the chorus… pure art). Another two highlights are Warcurse, which is probably the heaviest song on the album, and Escalation – like I’ve mentioned, really fast and relentless. Probably the only weaker points of the album are songs 7 and 8 – Absolute Misanthropy and To the Afterborn. They’re good, but there are some things I don’t like about them. In the first case, it’s a bit repetitive, in the second – a bit too long chorus and a few parts which aren’t very interesting. However, those are not serious weaknesses.

With all the good things about this album, there’s something that shines the most. It’s the guitars, both the riffs and the solos. It sounds just like it should, heavy riffs are really heavy (the production helps, again) but they’re not playing the-same-riff-for-two-minutes, the feeling of boredom is what you’ll never experience on this album. And the solos are truly awesome and great pleasure to listen to (the solos on the title song and Demon Prince are probably my favourites). Like I mentioned, the album as a whole is also more melodic – especially the solos, but it fits the album very well and doesn’t feel out of place in any way. The drums are also great and complex (the song where they shine the most is Escalation). Unfortunately, I can’t say much about the bass – it’s the only weakness of the production that it’s not that easy to hear, but what I could hear sounds very good. However, I haven’t said anything about the vocals yet, and they’re really good. It really sounds like he’s angry and not just screaming to sound dark and evil. Mille’s vocals have always been great, but from all Kreator albums I’ve heard, here they’re definitely the best, sounding mature but very powerful at the same time.

To put it all together – Hordes of Chaos is a powerful, melodic and straightforward album, with a lot of memorable parts and great production. It can be heard they’re a very experienced band that still has a lot of ideas, creativity and strength. If you liked Enemy of God together with the melodic parts – you’ll probably love this one. If you disliked it, but love the old albums – have a look at Hordes of Chaos, it’s rawer and more aggressive. In my opinion, this album has few and not very important weaknesses, and has reminded me that Kreator is the band which recorded Enemy of God – an excellent band.