Kreator: Chaos Theory

Originally published in Guitar World, April 2009

The German thrash metal titans return with Hordes of Chaos, their crushing new album.

For more than 20 years , the members of German thrash band Kreator have recorded albums in conventional fashion, tracking drums, guitars, bass and vocal parts separately, then overdubbing leads and gang vocals. But for their new disc, Hordes of Chaos (SPV), Kreator returned to the approach they took on their first two albums, 1985’s Endless Pain and 1986’s Pleasure to Kill, recording on analog tape and performing nearly everything live in the studio.

“We knew that was the best way to get the vibe of the album to be the most intense and brutal that it could be,” says frontman Mille Petrozza. “We played each song five to 10 times and then edited together the best recording of each individual part.”

While the process didn’t leave much room for last-minute experimentation, Hordes of Chaos lacks neither diversity nor freshness. The material has an uncompromising, late-Eighties thrash vibe coupled with a more modern production. Throughout the album, the band sounds pumped and angry, whether tearing through Slayer-style riffs and minor-key guitar harmonies on “Warcurse” or playing ringing arpeggios, midtempo rhythms and melodic hooks on “Amok Run.”

“When I write something, I always ask myself, ‘Is this still relevant for today’s metal world,’ ” Petrozza says. “And if it’s not, I throw it away and do something else. I’m definitely my own worst critic.”

Petrozza wrote Hordes of Chaos between the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2007. Following six solid months of rehearsal, Kreator entered Berlin’s Tritonus studios in June 2008 with producer Moses Schneider. It was a strange move. Schneider has plenty of experience with alt-rock, having engineered albums by the Pixies, Beatsteaks and T. Raumschmiere, but little background in metal.

“At first, it was kind of weird to work with somebody who’s not really familiar with our back catalog,” Petrozza admits. “But Moses has recorded orchestras, so he’s an expert at getting great sound in a live environment, and he’s also good at getting the best emotions out of you. I think he walked out a real Kreator fan and a bigger fan of metal.”

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