Monday 24 January 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Kreator, "Violent Revolution" (Reissue)

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length (Reissue)
Date Released: 21/01/2022
Label:  Nuclear Blast

“Violent Revolution” CD//DD//LP track listing:
01. Reconquering The Throne
02. The Patriarch
03. Violent Revolution
04. All Of The Same Blood
05. Servant In Heaven - King In Hell
06. Second Awakening
07. Ghetto War
08. Replicas Of Life
09. Slave Machinery
10. Bitter Sweet Revenge
11. Mind Of Fire
12. System Decay
The Review:
Kreator are de facto my favourite German thrash band and, as has often been said, are the only thrash band from any nation in the mid 80s who made a record which rivals “Reign In Blood” for sheer violence and intensity. Of course, there is much more to the band's catalogue than just “Pleasure To Kill”.
While this album is not in the classic run which featured the aforementioned, “Endless Pain”, “Extreme Aggression” and “Terrible Certainty” (not in that order!) it is the first of Kreator's modern era purple patch which has run from this record through to “Phantom Antichrist” and “Gods of Violence”. After a somewhat shaky 1990s, the band really did roar back with this record. Kreator, to their credit, never went away but they had drifted from their core sound and simply did not maintain much of a presence when thrash found itself out of favour with the press.
I'm aware that the reissue features bonus tracks, but as I have only the album here... that is what I'll focus on. It's a fairly raging album. The band meld their socially conscious and socially liberal political leanings with righteous rage. Incredibly, this record is now over 20 years old and still sounds vital and relentlessly heavy.
Opening with “Reconquering The Throne” is a vicious mission statement; it really did reassert their thrash credentials at the time and listening to it now, it's no less potent. From there, the material is as weighty as it is well delivered. The production is pretty great; it's not like 2001 was 1971, but even so I was surprised, revisiting this, how clear and powerful the sound is. The drums in particular really benefit from the crystal clear mix and it sounds, well, just really good.
Pleasingly, it is also fairly relentless. There are no real detours into melodic territory which have featured more often in later records and instead this is just a pretty straight ahead thrash record, played and delivered expertly. It's a far cry from the endearingly inept “Endless Pain” but not quite as polished as “Gods of Violence”. In short, it is thrash metal with no surprises other than (un)pleasant familiarity.
While more mid paced material is not as interesting as the ragers here (“Servant in Heaven”), they are still engaging and nasty enough to be worthy of the band and the record. Strangely, Violent Revolution” has never been an album from their discography I've played that much. I've usually gone for “Hordes of Chaos” or “Phantom Antichrist” as a go-to from the band's latter period... but I'm now wondering why I overlooked this.
As reissues go, this is well worth shelling out some cash for if you missed it first time around or if you never paid it much attention. The band keep the pedal to the metal right through to “Bitter Sweet Revenge” and “Mind of Fire” and the eleven tracks are all at least good- no clunkers. Negatives? Well, about the worst thing I can say is that a couple of tracks are a little long- but this is small beer really. The songs are pretty focused overall and certainly are fiery enough to power through on attitude and commitment even at the longer song running times.
“Violent Revolution” is available HERE 

Band info: facebook

Tuesday 18 January 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Apostle of Solitude, “Until The Darkness Goes”

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/11/2021
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

“Until The Darkness Goes” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. When The Darkness Comes
2. The Union
3. Apathy In Isolation
4. Deeper Than The Oceans
5. Beautifully Dark
6. Relive The Day
The Review:
Apostle of Solitude, doom denizens of Indiana, return after 2018's excellent “From Gold to Ash”. This time around the band... deliver another slab of molten doom metal! Certainly, opener “When The Darkness Comes” is bleak and foreboding with slow, S-LO-W, riffs, massive drums and plaintive vocals in abundance. 
The record sounds great- organic but well produced- and the songs are not short on dynamics, either. This kind of light and shade in texture and volume is quite key to this kind of doom being successful. This is trad-doom; Saint Vitus, Trouble, The Gates of Slumber et. al. but a rather forlorn and sorrowful vibe which rules out aggression in the delivery.  As such, it's operating once again in that sphere of slowed down heavy metal where you just have to have the songs and dynamics to keep the listener interested.
Fortunately, I can happily report that Apostle of Solitude have them in spades. Of course, it's all uniformly dark and melancholic and most tracks are six or seven minutes in length, BUT the band have played a masterstroke by sticking to a manageable album length. Six tracks; one under three minutes- bringing the playing time to about the length of a classic Sabbath album. Wise move. A little of this kind of emotional and musical heft goes a long way. The record is perfect to listen to in one go and digest as an album.
As the album progresses, it doesn't bring any jauntiness to proceedings; “Apathy in Isolation” is just as downbeat as “The Union”, while “Deeper Than The Oceans” is maybe even more so, If you are expecting “Beautifully Dark” to be a three minute thrasher... think again. It is instead exactly as its title suggests. By the time of “Relive The Day”, it's clear: there is to be no respite and no hope. Much like their previous records, this is not for the faint hearted and not for those who want to rock- this won't really make you want to break the speed limit, go on a night out or even bang your head. It's beautifully depressing and relentlessly bleak.
Apostle of Solitude have made another great record. The band are a force to be reckoned with live, as I can attest having gigged with them a couple of times in Germany and Austria. They're also top blokes, real gents and deserving of your support. Any drummer who'll lend me their Paiste cymbals for a gig is staunch in my book- thanks Corey. So show some support, buy this record and revel in the gloom.
“Until The Darkness Goes” is available HERE 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook