Kreator

Outcast

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The unexpected arrival of former Coroner six-string genius Tommy Vetterli into the Kreator fold, there to spar with founding mastermind and resident blazing thrash guitar specialist Mille Petrozza, seemed like one of the oddest stylistic pairings in metal history. Needless to say, observers expected one of two options: absolute fireworks, or a complete and utter failure to communicate. Ironically, they didn't really get either one, for not only was 1997's Outcast conspicuously scarce on virtuoso guitar solos, but it also stuck with recent Kreator history in exploring sonic territories far beyond the legendary German group's once dependably strict diet of pure thrash metal. In fact, though it thankfully coalesced the chaotic ideas scattered all over 1995's Cause for Conflict into a more cohesive whole, the album resurrected some of the industrial elements first heard on 1992's Renewal with questionable results, and focused predominantly on mid-paced arrangements that hardly approached the hyper speed of yore. As a result, despite offering some quality songwriting via first-half highlights like "Leave This World Behind," the pounding "Phobia," and the claustrophobically slow "Black Sunrise," the bulk of Outcast is barely recognizable as a Kreator LP. And even if approached as a brand new entity, the material (particularly second half yawn-fests such as the title track) is nowhere near groundbreaking either, never mind -- God forbid -- exciting. In short, whatever artistic headway purportedly made here was rendered null and void by the commercial rejection that met its release, although Kreator would take one final stab at this direction before reverting to the band's trusty old ways.

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