Tuesday, August 12, 2003 @ 5:22 PM
- advertisement -
Germany’s Kreator proved they still had a few bullets left in the old arsenal with 2001’s vicious Violent Revolution album. After floundering for most of the ‘90s from label changes, line-up turmoil and sonic experimentation that never seemed to really click, the band went back to basics with Revolution, doling out the lethal, technically adept thrash that made them one of the genre’s truly elite, pioneering bands.
It re-established Kreator as a relevant force and helped them reconnect with fans that had lost patience with the band, as well as gaining them plenty of new recruits. Now, after some 20 years, the future looks pretty bright for one few surviving acts from thrash metal’s mid-80s heyday. And it provides an opportune time to pause and reflect, which Kreator has done not only with the recently released double Live Kreation album, but with this DVD companion piece that charts the band’s somewhat turbulent history and shows how things have come full circle.
The centerpiece of Live Kreation – Revisioned Glory is, course, Kreator on stage, and it features roughly two-thirds of the live album’s material -- 17 of the 24 tracks if you’re keeping score, with notable omissions being feral old gems “Under The Guillotine” and “Awakening of the Gods.” Filmed in the surreal surroundings of a Pusan, South Korea, outdoor festival set, literally, smack dab in the middle of some mammoth apartment complex, and a roomy Brazilian auditorium, it presents Kreator in their element -- big stage, lots of lights, crowds going apeshit and the band methodically ripping everyone’s head off.
Never one of the more mobile or showy thrash bands, even way back when -– I saw them on their first U.S. tour with Voivod in like ’86 -– Kreator instead kill with their focus, efficiency, intensity and the commanding presence of founder/frontman/guitarist Mille Petrozza. He might not be thought of in the same league as someone like Slayer’s Tom Araya, but few frontman are able to channel and direct a band’s energy like Petrozza. And Revisioned Glory is not only ample evidence of that, but it shows what a formidable live act Kreator still is.
My only real complaint with the concert portion of the DVD is the slick production of Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Arch Enemy) which strips away a bit too much of live music’s natural gnarliness. The studio-quality cleanliness of the sound makes one wonder just how much tweaking went on after the fact. But that’s picking nits, and if you really want to hear the band rough, raw and dirty, bonus clips of “Flag of Hate” and “Tormentor” from a mud-caked With Full Force festival performance will certainly do the trick.
The second half of the DVD provides a surprisingly complete biographical portrait of Kreator, with one section weaving interviews and band history in with promo video clips from various stages of the band’s career and the other documenting the extensive ‘Violent Revolution’ world tour.
The historical stuff is pretty straight forward, even if most of the interviews are conducted in German –- though there are subtitles -– and there is no mention of Kreator’s two-album major label run with Extreme Aggression and Coma Of Souls. But the video chronicle –- nine of ‘em are included -- is where you get a real picture of Kreator’s evolution. In concert, the material maintains a certain tone and intensity, so it’s difficult to place songs within a historical context –- save for the crude early tracks like “Riot of Violence” -– unless one has followed the band.
With the video clips, however, it’s a different story, as they capture the raw, primal fury of the early days with “Toxic Trace” and “Betrayer,” and the experimental –- if meandering -- mid-period with the trippy sludge of “Renewal,” the grim introspection of “Isolation” and “Leave This World Behind” and Rammstein-like anthemics of “Endorama” where Petrozza duets with the freaky chick singer from goth rockers Lacrimosa. Then it’s back to classic, ass-ripping Kreator with the “Violent Revolution” video –- gorillas and all, still haven’t figured that part out yet.
For good measure, there’s also the brutal bondage and eyelid-sewing clip for “People of the Lie” that you can be pretty sure MTV never broadcast. Yum!
The tour diary stuff is pretty cool in that it goes way beyond the usual drunken backstage antics, fart-lighting on the bus and skanks flashing their boobs -– although there is some that. It essentially captures the entire ‘Violent Revolution’ tour in stark, yet memorable snippets, such as stops in South America where Kreator are greeted by fans at airports and venues like they’re the friggin’ Beatles to scenes inside some genuinely scary clubs in the East Bloc nether regions of Croatia and Lithuania.
But even nastier are strip-mall shitholes the band has been playing in America for most of their career. Between the squalor, the sleazy owners and the cretinish hangers-on, it’s amazing they keep coming back. But that’s life in the metal underground, I suppose.
Kreator will, indeed, return this fall as part of the ‘The Art of Noise 2’ tour with Nile, Vader, Amon Amarth, and Goatwhore, starting October 1st. In the interim, Live Kreation – Revisioned Glory is a fine way to bide the time.
* * *