The 13th studio album of Kreator's enviable 30-year career, 2012's Phantom Antichrist is also the fourth long-player released since the group's triumphant rebirth to thrash in 2001 -- a move that coincided almost perfectly with a worldwide genre revival driven by both veteran and rookie ensembles and that, as a result, saw these German survivors enjoying a long-deferred coronation for their almost unrivaled achievements. Now that trend -- like all trends -- has come and gone, and yet Kreator persist: still displaying, as the new material contained here bears repeated witness, 100 percent commitment to the original, metal-thrashing mad raison d'être that launched them in the first place. Filled with fire and fury, indefatigable energy, and truly incensed lyrical bile for men of such middle-aged ripeness -- led as always by guiding light Mille Petrozza -- the opening title track and "Civilization Collapse" dispense a moshing master class, showing the young ones how it's done, and how it'll continue to be done as weaker, less driven bands young and old inevitably fall by the wayside. Acoustic guitar-augmented cuts like "United in Hate" and "The Few, the Proud, the Broken" prove equally devastating before they're though, and just when more commercially inclined musical considerations appear to threaten thrash's supremacy, like, say, during the highly melodic parts of "From Flood into Fire," "Victory Will Come," and "Until Our Paths Cross Again," one can rest assured that a pedal-to-the-metal onslaught lies just around the corner. To wit, both the slower, mildly Arabian-psychedelic bridge of "Death to the World" and the contemplative mood-meets-murmured vocals of "Your Heaven, My Hell" weigh in, passing at Kreator's hit-and-miss experiments of the 1990s before returning to the prevailing mosh-fest, and within that context there really can be no hard feelings -- what's past is past. The irony of which should be lost on neither fans nor the bandmembers themselves, since embracing the past clearly paved the way toward Kreator's future by affording them this second lease on life and career. Judging by the evidence available on Phantom Antichrist, it's not over yet.
Phantom Antichrist Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia