Review Summary: A supposed Classic........ Yeah, right.
Kreator. The name spells greatness. But the K also spells menace, and the band embodies both of these traits. Their career now spans nearly 30 years, from their thrash roots on Endless Pain, through a gothic and industrial phase in the 90's, up to their melodic form of thrash they play today, with the fantastic album Phantom Antichrist. However, out of their bunch, two albums are frequently elevated to being the best of the bunch. These albums are 1990's Coma Of Souls, and 1986's fantastic Pleasure To Kill.
1986 was a fantastic year for thrash. There was the release of the classic Peace Sells from Megadeth, Master Of Puppets from Metallica, Darkness Descends by Dark Angel, Slayer's seminal Reign In Blood, and Pleasure To Kill. Kreator had already proven they had it in them to create some fantastic tunes on Endless Pain, but this debut always came off rather sour. It did not have the staying power of other albums, as it was clearly only half formed. Flag Of Hate and Tormentor aside, it lacked tracks that packed a punch. Pleasure To Kill was supposed to correct this, and take their music to a new level altogether. And it was to do this by...
...Opening with a soft, clean guitar piece... This was absolutely shocking, but also leads into the first proper track fantastically. And that track is, of course, the absolute classic Ripping Corpse. Ripping Corpse is seen by many as one of the main influences on Death Metal (along with much of this album), and it is not hard to see why. Fast, furious drumming from Jurgen Reil as usual, intense tremolo picked riffs, dense production and absolute evil vocals from Mille Petrozza. Seriously, there was not a thrash vocalist at the time who had the same tones as Mille, and with good reason. Ripping Corpse is truly one of the standout tracks of the album.
Pleasure To Kill, track four, is one of the other finer cuts off of this album. The title track opens up with some fantastic drumming from Reil, and leads into some more great, speedy riffing. However, the highlight of this song is the frantic delivery of the lyrics from Mille Petrozza. Seriously, the guy spits venom on this track. The lyrics he delivers are extremely evil, and rather well written. Lines such as "Tasting the blood from your lips as you die means satisfaction to me" may cause a snicker just to read, but when coupled with Mille's extremely aggressive delivery everything comes together. The slightly slower section in the second third of the song is one of the highlights of this album, with some fantastic riffing to be found there.
Riot Of Violence is a much slower song, which helps break up the album straight after the head-on assault that was the title track, and remains one of the finest on the album, with some of the tightest riffing to be found on the album. Jurgen "Ventor" Reil, the drummer, takes vocal duties on this track as well as a few others on the album (as he does on all early Kreator albums), and he absolutely barks the lyrics with every bit of the intensity that Mille brings to the table.
The main strengths of this album are in its timing. Much of the album is timed so that nothing outstays its welcome. Not one riff, not one vocal section... nothing. Everything slots together perfectly for much of the duration of the album, other than one song, which will be mentioned later.
The riffing is another reason for the success of this album. Whilst the tremolo picked riffs are overused, much of the album stays creative, and mixes it up a bit, in particular on the song Riot Of Violence, where there are slower riffs, incredible mid-paced ones, and superb speedy ones. The general quality of the riff work on this album is fantastic and extremely consistent.
However, this album is not without fault. First off, the solo work is poor. People complain about Slayer for writing bad, tuneless solos, but Kreator do the same thing, just to a lesser degree. The solos really do grate on me a lot. They work on some tracks, mainly on the title track, but much of the time they just annoy me and detract from the actual songs themselves.
The Pestilence is a song that suffers from being overly long. The first 2 and a half minutes of it are absolutely boring, before the only decent riff of the song comes in, which makes it slightly more endurable, but it really is just suffering most of the time. A lot of people seem to enjoy this song, and i can't see why. Sure, Ventor puts in a fantastic performance, and sure, it tries to mix it up a little bit, but it just comes off as stale, and filler.
Much of the second half of the album has moments of the songs where it distracts from the real quality of the song. Many of the songs themselves are fantastic, but there will be one or two moments where everything doesn't quite slot together very well, that really let this album down.
Overall, this album is highly overrated, but remains an essential listen, if only for the three praised songs. There is a lot of quality on display here, but not enough to just forget about all the little niggles you will find here or there. This is a solid 3.5 out of 5, but nothing more.