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Sow the wind, harvest the storm. - 75%

Diamhea, January 28th, 2014

I can go either way regarding Kreator's modern output, and Hordes of Chaos falls in line with most of the band's post-Endorama material. I fully comprehend that one of the main draws to this album upon the time of its release was the antiquated recording practices that were employed, but at the end of the day it does little to separate Hordes of Chaos from it's direct predecessor, Enemy of God.

If there is one sonic attribute Kreator picked up throughout the '90s, it was a keen sense of melody. This doesn't necessarily surface on every song, but both the title track and "Demon Prince" feature Iron Maiden-like harmonized leads that coexist potently with the band's usual teutonic aesthetics. The riffs manifest themselves as sepulchral, caustic bombardments as per Kreator, but the harmonized leads are what really lift individual moments to greatness here. The biting, dissonant inclination of "Escalation" and the more deliberate, stomping persona of "To the Afterborn" are other highlights. The guitar tone is both classic sounding and heavy. The one major stylistic deviation compared to Enemy of God is the disposal of the overloud, modern distortion that plagued said album, and as such Hordes of Chaos benefits greatly.

However, Hordes of Chaos also suffers from many of the same pitfalls that plagued its direct predecessor. Many of these tracks end up blurring together, rushing by with riffs either too stock or too forgettable to catch. This primarily occurs between "Amok Run" and "Absolute Misanthropy", ultimately accounting for about half of the album. These tracks aren't necessarily bad or offensive, but they pale in comparison to the rest of the proceedings. Save for the decent opener, Hordes of Chaos really comes alive during the final three tracks. "To the Afterborn" features a stinging, memorable chorus and a decent groove. Regardless, the highlight is without a doubt "Demon Prince". The terse, acoustically textured "Corpses of Liberty" slowly leads into it, at which point a glorious twin-lead manifests and escalates into the heart of the song. It doesn't even end there, as the melodic, emotive solo yields even more harmonic goodness. Moments like this separate Kreator from other, more standard modern thrash acts. I understand that some fans are not fond of the Gothenburg-influenced melodic side the band has been playing up recently, but it comes off as novel here, resulting in what is probably their best modern song.

Petrozza's vocals I find myself in the middle of the road on. He reminds me of Boltendahl from Grave Digger in that his vitriolic approach would be out of place in nearly every band but his own. He has virtually no range and barely tries, so if there is a weak individual performance this is undoubtedly it. I'm assuming a lot of the modern influences regarding the guitars is a result of Yli-Sirniƶ's involvement, but he is a decent lead-smith and has settled into a comfortable niche here with Kreator. Reil's drumming is the same as it has always been, featuring typical thrash patterns and occasional, controlled bursts of speed. He is neither a standout nor a liability here.

It isn't amazing, but if I had to choose between this and Enemy of God, Hordes of Chaos edges it out by virtue of slightly more speed and vivacity in the performances. Don't miss "Demon Prince", if anything.