Review Summary: The sound of a band at their peak - far improved from previous work in every way, 'Extreme Aggression' is a must have for any fan of the genre.
Mille Petrozza - guitar and vocals
Jürgen Reil - drums
Rob Fioretti - bass guitar
Jörg Trzebiatowski - guitar
Kreator’s 1989 release ‘Extreme Aggression’
is the sound of the band at their peak. They had been showing their potential for years, with 1985’s widely cited 'Pleasure to Kill'
and 1987’s 'Terrible Certianty'
both going down well with metal audiences. While ‘Terrible Certianty’ was a great improvement from it’s enthusiastic but naïve predecessor, it was by no means the perfect album, still suffering from a degree of repetition and lack of imagination. The German thrash crew’s third full length would remedy all of these issues, with surprising success, creating a superb thrash album in the process.
The main improvement from previous efforts on this album is the superior quality guitarwork from Petrozza and Trzebiatowski. The riffing is varied, interesting and surgically precise, ranging from the fairly straightforward single ‘Betrayer’
to the far more intricate title track, ‘Extreme Aggression.’
Another notable quality of this album is the way that Kreator have obviously progressed, but without sacrificing any of the qualities that made their earlier works so great. Petrozza still screams every line as if he would never have the chance to again, Reil’s drumming is still brutal, without becoming monotonous and the guitars still eat away at the ears like a misplaced dentist’s drill. The change in attitude to songwriting and musicianship from previous albums is absolutely seamless, therefore making this album a universally pleasing one to any metal fan.
Nevertheless the increase in the quality and abundance of guitar leads and solos are one distinguishing feature from previous albums: the frantic, wild tremolo picking of earlier efforts has been successfully replaced with memorable, well thought out and executed arrangements, such as the intro to Stream of Consciousness
, which only serve to increase the hitting power of the album as a whole. The lead work sits next to the thrashing, brutal riffs perfectly. Some songs, such as Bringer of Torture
are still reminiscent of earlier works, they are written with a greater flair, and easily sit next to songs such as Fatal Energy
which are far more accessible and polished. This variation means that every song is memorable enough to be easily be told apart from another.
Mille Petrozza’s vocals are also far more polished on this album. Gone are the lower growls used on Pleasure to Kill, being replaced with a higher pitched shout which seems to fit the music better. This is another sign of progress from the band, although one criticism, albeit a picky one, would be that the vocals do become tedious by the end of the disc. Either way, this is a fairly insignificant comment, when the guitarwork is easily varied enough to keep the songs interesting, and the vocal improvement and consistency shown are further positives.
Similarly, the sticksmanship of Jurgen Reil is both consistent and diverse enough to add to the quality of the songs, like Don’t Trust
. However, he still maintain the brutality, in songs such as No Reason To Exist
, that Kreator had gained their reputation from . There were no faults that I could pick out with the drumming on this album, only increasing the overall impact of the songs. However, as usual with this genre, the bass is largely hidden in the mix, which is a shame.
As a result, Extreme Aggression is certainly one of those albums that you have to listen to. The seamless riffing, solos and leads, mixed with the quality, brutal drumming of Reil and Petrozza’s frantic vocals can only make for a winning combination, and a thrash classic. From this point, Kreator would begin to lose momentum, along with the wider thrash scene, releasing one further, critically acclaimed album in “”Coma Of Souls” before experimenting with features of other genres throughout the nineties. Even with Kreator’s revival in recent years, this disc still stands up to, and occasionally exceeds the quality of newer albums, making it a superb thrash album.
Stream Of Consciousness
Bringer Of Torture