Review Summary: One of the worst albums of Kreator's career? Yes. An atrocity? Well, not quite.
With the release of the industrial, groove metal tinged Cause For Conflict, the direction of Kreator's 1997 release could have gone many directions. Kreator's original drummer, Jurgen "Ventor" Reil, had returned, and hope for an oldschool style, thrash metal record was indeed anticipated. CFC was experimental, but a thrash album nonetheless. Outcast slows down the tempo quite a bit; all of the songs don't go past Metallica's "Black Album" speed. Creativity is pretty much nonexistent, with typical, uninspired riffs crowding the entire album. What makes this album enjoyable? The fact that mainman Mille isn't afraid to experiment with different styles that interest him, regardless of the criticization he may receive. The album itself isn't completely dead... but may/will gather dust over time.
Outcast is half of what I think is indeed half-ass material, and half "if it happens to come on shuffle while I'm listening to my Ipod, why not give it a shot" material. Songs like Black Sunrise interest me as far as Mille actually trying to sing and intricate bass playing during the verses. The reason being is because they have never tried anything like that before ( but if it was overdone by Kreator, it would seem very redundant and bland, which is why I think they kind of screwed themselves releasing this album). But songs like A Better Tomorrow and Noncomformist sound like they were thrown together in 15 minutes while they were bored on tour. Definitely not acceptable after waiting two years for another album after a semi-listenable album (Cause For Conflict).
The not so surprising thing is Kreator never touch any material off of this album when they play live (with the exception of Phobia, which has become a permanent song in their setlist). Part of it (in my opinion) is that in recent years, they have proved that they are indeed a thrash band, and more than a song or two off of Outcast/Endorama/Cause for Conflict/Renewal would be extremely boring for both the band and the crowd. It is almost impossible to get really into those albums, and a even a handfull of songs from those albums would be overkill. Imagine Mille Petrozza saying: This is a song off of the OUTCAST ALBUM!!! A...GAINST...THE...REEEEESSST! Nobody wants to hear that, as far as I'm concerned.
The lyrics have taken a dive; Mille has decided to take the "repeat the name of the song at the begining of every line in the verses, and then shout the name at the very end of the chorus" route. The intriguing lyrics of the late 80's/early 90's stlyle Kreator seem to be lost as they decide to write about things you would never guess a band with an intense thrash metal background would write about. A Better
Tomorrow? Whatever It May Take? Alive Again? Sounds like Stick to Your Guns or It Prevails songtitles if you ask me. No, I don't think thrash metal bands should be stuck with only the negative song topics, but after listening to the songs I just listed, they do not even pull off the vibe they tried to deliver, let alone deliver decent songwriting.
My main appraisal of this album would be aimed towards the bass. It is extremely rare to hear the slightest bit of bass on most Kreator albums. Instead, the bass plays an important part on this album, as well as being very audible. The addition of Christian Giesler was a very good idea, considering Rob Fioretti was rarely heard on the records he played on. The bass playing is nothing fancy though (then again, Kreator's music doesn't really allow the base to be really creative or technical). It is just nice to hear some bass in Kreator's music, whether it is the center of the song or just holding the bottom of the song.
Most of what I have said has been a negative reflection on the album. It's really not terrible or unbearable in any way, just not a completely legitimate Kreator album (if you know what I mean). I am an oldschool as well as a newschool Kreator fan, so I think fans like me have a little more tolerance for this side of Kreator, though a lot of fans have never even heard of this album or the songs off of it. A little less than solid album, but not a regular listen by any means.
-Audible bass and some bass-centered songs
-Production is much better than the previous record's
-The return of Jurgen on drums
-Mostly half-assed riffs and music
-Uninteristing lyrics and vocals
-Tempos are all the same
-Too many rehashed songs