Album Review: Kreator – Violent Revolution [Reissue]

Album Review: Kreator - Violent Revolution [Reissue]
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

I think it’s fair to say that the release of ‘Violent Revolution’ in September 2001 saw fans of the Germans breath a sigh of relief. After their experimental offerings during the 1990s, this album saw Mille Petrozza, Christian Giesler and Jurgen ‘Ventor’ Reil joined by new guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö and the result was a return to their violent thrash roots.

In many respects, ‘Violent Revolution’ picked up where the band finished in 1990 with ‘Coma of Souls’. The album is ambitious, 56 minutes and 12 songs, meaning that there was a serious risk of some filler amongst the music. Listening to it again for this review, the album remains reasonably free of the fat. The mix of melodies which blended with the typical Kreator thrash style allowed ‘Violent Revolution’ to stand alongside some of their classic releases without too much difficulty.

Opener ‘Reconquering the Throne’ is a statement of intent, the message clear. Kreator were back and in that first four minutes the trepidation which may have been hanging was dissipated. We then have the strange phenomenon of an intro in ‘The Patriarch’ before the raging title track, which remains locked into the band’s set today. ‘Violent Revolution’ is anthemic, the chugging riff and memorable chorus delivered by Petrozza in his unique gritty vocals. The sound is tight, powerful, and impressive. Is it possible not to bang the head when listening to this song?

There were a few masterstrokes alongside the return to the band’s thrash roots. The most important of these was probably the move to obtain the services of one Andy Sneap on production duties. Not only does the production provide the exact finish that one would want from a Kreator but Sneap guided and shaped the return of the Teutonic thrashers. Allowing Kreator to breath and ease their way back worked benefits, bringing a modern style to their music whilst retaining some of those rawer aspects that had made the band such a leader of the worldwide thrash movement in the mid-1980s.

Album Review: Kreator - Violent Revolution [Reissue]

The longer songs on the album provided opportunity for Kreator to flex the writing muscles and neither ‘All of the Same Blood’ with its Maiden-esque breakdowns or the more progressive ‘Replicas of Life’ with its slightly gothic intro feel overdrawn or bloated. The latter in particular moves from a slow burn to a bruising thrasher in a matter of seconds.

Mille was quoted at the time as ‘Violent Revolution’ being the album “to get back to the reason why we began this band in the first place.” It’s certainly did that and whilst it may not have been as visceral as ‘Pleasure to Kill’ or ‘Extreme Aggression’ tracks such as ‘Slave Machinery’, the pulsating ‘Ghetto War’ and ‘System Decay’ are solid enough to act as the springboard for the band to reclaim their place at the head of the German big four and one of the seminal European thrash outfits with a consistency which followed from 2005’s ‘Enemy of God’ through to their latest release ‘Gods Of Violence’ in 2017..

Of course, no self-respecting thrash fan will be unaware of this release and indeed, it’s an essential item for the collection. The promised package which will mark the 20th anniversary will be as lavish as their ‘Under the Guillotine’ set that arrived last year. Live shows, DVD, CD, and coloured vinyl and even a Kreator comic are all part of the options available with a range to suit all pockets.

One final thought. It’s worth remembering that the title comes from a John F Kennedy quote in 1962: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”. As the world continues to turn more and more authoritarian, one may just taste the disturbing irony at the coincidental timing of this release.

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