Review Summary: An often overlooked album that showed Kreator still had some thrash traits even when dabbling in other genres.
When most people think Kreator, they think the brash ear assault of Pleasure To Kill, the refined aggression of Extreme Aggression or the technical workout of Coma Of Souls. Some may think of the return to the thrash style they helped make popular in their native Germany with such great albums as Enemy Of God and Phantom Antichrist. However, one often overlooked album is their dabble with the industrial genre, heavily influenced by bands such as Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails and certain aspects of Marilyn Manson. The album utilized simplified chugging riffs and tuneless shouting from frontman Mille Petrozza across 12 adrenaline soaked songs. The album I am referring to is the criminally overlooked 1995 album Cause For Conflict, the album I personally think of when I think about Kreator.
This is an album that got a lot of hate upon its release, and still is, with many fans of the band being particularly angered by the blatant disregard for their thrash past. However, the band could not have gone on putting out PURE thrash great after PURE thrash great, as had already been shown following the release of Extreme Aggression, with their best album Coma Of Souls dabbling with much more progressive structures and more intricate styles of their music. However, the rage that made the band so great on albums such as Endless Pain, Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression is present and in correct order on Cause For Conflict, with every song sounding just as pissed off at the world as the previous one. Whilst Mille's voice is definitely not the same as found on past releases, it is perfectly fitting for a release such as this, clearly containing a large amount of Fear Factory influence in its styling. The vocal patterns are, at times, a little off in this album, however, particularly when the songs speed up and Mille has to frantically deliver his vocals in order to keep up with the music. His voice is considerable monotonous throughout this album, but that tone is one that packs an edge to it unlike so many passionless vocalists out there, and for that Mille deserves credit, for showing that even in a samey genre such as Industrial, he can still kick it with the best.
Many consider the major criticism to be made about this album to be the lack of Jurgen "Ventor" Reil behind the drum kit, and whilst this is clear from the off, it is also obvious that the band found a more than worthy replacement in the form of Joe Cangelosi. Cangelosi can keep a solid beat going with his double bass work, keeping a sound of intensity and showing that the band was not finished after their original drummer left. Joe overuses the double bass somewhat, but is still an adequate drummer, and, during the faster moments of this album he really shines. Catholic Despot, when it speeds up, is the best example of how good Joe can be at times, with some of the fastest beats on the album contained within this song and handled brilliantly by the new man with the sticks. At the other end of the rhythm work, the bass is at its most audible on a Kreator album here, with Christian Giesler clunking away incessantly, playing some nice bass work throughout the album that shows off something rarely heard on a Kreator album, making this somewhat unique in the bands discography.
The one slight throwback to the glory days of Kreator on this album is found in the guitar work. Specifically, some of the riffs are very much the signature crunchy brand of riffs found on albums such as Terrible Certainty. Whilst the past album, Renewal, had showcased a heavy industrial sound, this was the album that sounded most akin to the forerunners of the genre, whilst retaining a moderate amount of thrash riff work at times. This is still a far cry from the guitar work found on their previous releases, but certainly has a bite to it that the previous release lacked somewhat. The one riff that stands out the most among this entire album is the very first one found on the opening song, Prevail. This is one of the strongest songs on the album, containing relentless drumming from Joe Cangelosi and a level of passion and anger that is obvious from the off. The riffs to this are about as tight as the album gets.
This album contains significantly more thrash influence than on the previous album, but is definitely still an experimental album for them, and one that tops much of their catalogue. Whilst on a purely musical level, this may not be as good as some of their previous work, the sheer rage behind this album is more than enough to carry it and prop it up among the best they have put out. This may well be among my favorite Kreator albums for the simple fact that it is unrivaled anger packed into relatively short songs. There are a few more than headbangable moments found throughout this album, with the slower section towards the end of the third song definitely being the most notable. This is a great album that gets slept on unfairly, and is certainly worth a look.