THE GIG REVIEW
Kreator @ Music Hall, Minneapolis, MN
Reviewed by: Bryan Kuntz
– Exclusively for CC Badass Productions Presents
Pioneering German four-piece Thrash Metal gods Kreator returned once again to the frozen winter wonderland that is Minneapolis on a recent Friday night, playing mid-bill as part of a sold-out, nationally touring triple-band package appearing at the Minneapolis Music Hall. The show also featured openers Cyhra and co-headliners Sabaton who closed out the show. Somewhat surprisingly there were no local bands added to this bill. And of random note, Friday was also release day for a batch of Kreator catalog remaster CD’s: Coma Of Souls (1990), Renewal (1992), Cause For Conflict (1995), and Outcast (1997) – all remastered and reissued with previously unreleased bonus material. So read the review here and then head yourself out to your favorite local music shop to pick up on those!
Doors were scheduled for 7:30pm. I arrived in downtown Minneapolis around 7:40pm and parked my car in the “A” ramp a few blocks away from the venue. Thankfully I was able to walk in the enclosed, above-ground Skyway most of the way to the venue. I dropped down to the sidewalk level, braced against the cold, stepped out and…saw the line at the venue door. It stretched…to the end of the block. Total. Drag. So I begin to walk along the line – and I get to the end of the block – and the line continues, around the block! And then down the entire length of the block! I can hardly believe how far back I am when I step into place and begin my cold wait. The line actually continues to grow at a good pace and soon wraps around this end of the block as well – so now the entry line for the show literally stretches “around the block.” I’m happy to see it on one hand, for the bands it most-likely means a sold out event. For those of us stuck waiting outside, inching slowly forward to the door as the first band plays their entire set and is finished by the time we gain entry…eh. Immediate annoyance with the venue. Wondering how it can take so long to admit people to an event. Wondering why doors didn’t open sooner maybe so people who paid to see three bands could have at least had a chance at seeing the opener. Most I believe, were unable to do so.
So I finally gained entry around 8:40pm – almost an hour. I felt bad for the people still behind me and wondered how long it would take for them to finally get everyone who paid for a ticket inside. Set change was already taking place for Kreator who were scheduled to go on at 9:00pm. I made my way through the main level and found a spot (a single unused chair? That never happens!) near the edge of the main-floor area. I settled in and prepared to be pleasantly crushed. I didn’t have to wait long, the show was running on time, and at 9:00pm, the house lights shut down and the Kreator intro began.
(Still) touring on the strength of their January 2017 release “Gods of Violence,” it is apparent that Kreator are still in fine form at this point, showing no signs of the road-weariness of a band that has been constantly on tour, all over the planet for most of the last year. The intro music ends and the band appear amidst a blinding assault of strobing LED multi-colored lighting and rip immediately into “Phantom Antichrist,” title track of their 2012 album. The sound mix is physically-thick, bass-heavy, clear but brutal guitar mix, vocals are not overpowering and yet not lost. The band sound amazing right from go - they have won that victory over the room. A massive cheer erupts from the crowd at the end of the song and for the next hour-plus, it is on!
From the aforementioned latest CD “Gods of Violence” CD, the song “Hail to the Hordes” follows and goes down with the crowd to similar effect – they seem to dig it. Left up to me it would not have made the setlist. I find it a bit plodding. And the “We are one, HaiI to the Hordes!” chorus skirts with that whole Manowar “Metalheads against the world!” feel. I don’t hate it but I don’t really love it so much either. After greeting the Minneapolis crowd and stoking our collective egos for our “world-famous” mosh-pits, thankfully the next song, another title track, this one from 2005, “Enemy of God,” comes like on like a blindside. From a jackhammer. And they make it look so easy! And the crowd unhinges into one of those mosh pits mentioned in the intro. Whether it would make “world famous” status could be argued. But the participants of said were right there with the band who were by this point locked into machine-like precision and in full “kill” mode.
“Satan Is Real,” another of the newer “Gods of Violence” album tracks was next. I think the band is sounding great, but four songs in, two of them I would have left off the setlist and I am starting to wonder when we are gonna hear some vintage Kreator. Not just yet. “Civilization Collapse,” (2012 Enemy of God) is the next song. It is one of the better songs from that record and I find it a welcome addition to the setlist.
With feedback still ringing on from the previous song ending and stating the title only of the next as introduction, the band blitz right into a “classic” from 1990, “People of the Lie.” I’ve always liked this mid-era song so of course I was pleased they have chosen to include it in the set on this tour. Coming it at just over three minutes it is one of the shorter songs in their catalog I think. Then the band dig back even further, to the beginning, to a song that defined their aggressive sound three-plus decades ago. “Flag of Hate,” from their 1986 EP was one of those songs I heard when I was 16 years old and was just blown away at how seamlessly fast they could play the riff and made me a fan for life. Brutal and precision in execution. Early punk-inspired thrash metal at from the exact moment in time of it’s creation. And it sounds better now than it did then due to heavier thicker sounding live production values. With no break, “Phobia,” a brutalizer from the bands somewhat overlooked 1997 “Outkast” album comes next. This one has been making repeat appearances in the setlist often since its initial debut twenty years ago. And it sounds like it could have come out alongside the next song, the band coming back to the present for still another title track, “Gods of Violence (2017.) Those two songs, back to back, coming 20 years apart, illustrate perfectly how the band has never lost a step, only growing in technical proficiency. The intensity level has never wavered from this band unlike some others, it has only increased years by year.
The next song? Well, It is a song. By Kreator. “From Flood Into Fire” from “Phantom Antichrist” (2012) is…another one I would have left out of the setlist. I can think of half a dozen others I’d rather hear without thinking much about it. More if I begin to ponder it. When I think “Kreator” I do not tend to think of this song. Things take an immediate upswing from there though with the pit-inspiring “Hordes of Chaos,” title track of the 2009 album of the same name. So we are 10 songs in – and we have had five count ‘em five title tracks. And the show was not over just yet.
“Totalitarian Terror” (“Gods of Violence - 2017) and “Violent Revolution” (2001 - Album title track alert #6!) come at the crowd back to back and compliment each other in message and momentum. Kind of a nightmarish, modern-day “Problem – Solution” scenario.
To end the show, what else? One more title track. For those keeping score, the final is seven out of thirteen songs in the set were album title tracks. The band goes out while stepping back once more to where they came in, with 1986’s “Pleasure To Kill.” They wind it up tightly for nearly five more minutes and then chop it off! And as they leave the stage you kinda shake your head and go “Whoa. What the hell was that?”
That…was Kreator. Thrash Metal gods. Pioneers and now respected elders of their genre. If you’ve never seen them do what they do…you need to. Just one time. They will make you forget all about those Metallica and Megadeth chicks you’ve been hung up on for so long. Why you continue to waste your time on them is beyond me. You deserve better.
You can find and keep up with Kreator at:
Complete Setlist: 02/23/18 Minneapolis
Intro – Phantom Antichrist
Hail To The Hordes
Enemy of God
Satan Is Real
People of the Lie
Flag of Hate
Gods of Violence
From Flood Into Fire
Hordes of Chaos
Pleasure To Kill