Review Summary: Occasionally Kreator refer to their old selves on this record, but it's mostly just a modern version of the thrash movement.
The thrash revival as of late has seen many bands return to their respective roots. Well-known bands such as Metallica and Slayer seem to hark back to their music as of old, with differing results. But it's also when we dig somewhat deeper into the genre that we find old and new bands harking back to the glory days of yore. Among bands such as Exodus or Evile, or even Teutonic thrashers such as Destruction, there is a yearning for the days of old. And none exemplify this trend of harking back the old better than Kreator did on 2005's Enemy of God, which was a direct return to their thrash days from the 80s, after an experimental and heavily criticised phase in the 1990s.
Its followup, Hordes of Chaos, musically continues much in the trend of Enemy of God. The album basically reads like any odd Kreator album, with a more modern production value (thus sounding closer to a latter-day Slayer than, say, Coma of Souls or Pleasure to Kill). The growling, snarling riffs abound on this record, as do Petrozza's familiar shouts and yells; we are greeted from the opening title track by a much-deteriorated yelp. In fact, this album might be compared to Kreator's version of Christ Illusion; a sort of middle ground between the really old thrash days of the band with a more modern sounding production.
There are, however, a few elements that set this album apart from the older Kreator work, and this manifests itself mainly in the use of more prominent melody. From the opener onwards, not only do vicious riffs whirl around in the thrashing maelstrom, but Petrozza and friends also unleash a blistering amount of melodic solos, not far from the Swedish style of melodic death metal (think Darkane or old In Flames). In fact, I don't recall Kreator ever sounding this melodic on any record; however, this is a good thing, as it makes the material more palatable and less overwhelming on first listen.
Despite the use of melody, however, there's nothing new under the sun. Parts from Amok Run could have been taken from any odd Slayer album circa Seasons. There's also a bit less speed to the record, also exemplifying that odd thrash trend of old bands not quite hitting the highs as they used to in their early youth. Occasionally this midtempo plod seems to have bogged the album down in parts; songs become indistinguishable from each other, and the monotonous croak of Petrozza doesn't really aid matters (again, not unlike Slayer's Tom Araya, he sounds nothing like the Mille of old).
This album is not a definite failure, though. Kreator have definitely succeeded in creating some good songs (particularly the first couple tracks are really good), and none of the music here seem to be explicitly bad (apart from that one riff in Warcurse which is just a pinch harmonic held over and over). We've heard better from this veteran band by now, but at times Kreator hint at their old selves, which means that it's still a worthy buy for anyone who's been following the band for its 20-year-plus lifespan now. If this is the album we're gonna get from post-heyday Kreator, at least it's something we can feel comfortable nodding our heads to. And that was something desperately needed in this metal neck of the woods.