Review Summary: Hugely Misunderstood
Kreator's legacy is not one to be sniffed at. This is the band that's discography includes the mighty Pleasure To Kill, Coma Of Souls, Hordes Of Chaos, Terrible Certainty, amongst others. However, this is also a band that fell into obscurity with gothic and industrial metal albums during the 1990's, including the album I am reviewing currently, Outcast. Outcast, in my opinion, is a hugely misunderstood album, and is one of my personal favourite Kreator albums.
Kreator abandoned their thrash days on Renewal, and continued it on 1995's Cause For Conflict, both of which were mediocre releases that were never really going anywhere. They had some tracks of not on, but were mainly just snorefests. Whilst Kreator have once again stayed away from the thrash with their 1997 release Outcast, they have created an album that has enough going for it to be considered a fantastic release.
Kicking things off right away, we have the dark, haunting song Leave This World Behind. Whilst this is clearly a commercial, catchy effort, it retains a heavy edge to it, and does not fail to sound evil. This song really is a morbid track, and stands out as possibly the best Post-Coma of Souls song until Violent Revolution's title track, other than one that comes a little later on the album. It's a slow song, but one that commands a certain amount of respect.
Phobia follows this, and manages to be possibly the catchiest song on the album, whilst still being semi-decent. It is not a patch on Leave This World Behind, but still manages to be a fun song. The pattern continues with Forever, which has a lot of studio effects added into the chorus, but retains that catchy but dark atmosphere. This is pretty much the template for every song for the album-catchy and dark.
Probably my favourite song on the album would be Black Sunrise, which features some lovely clean vocals, and a nice soft to heavy dynamic that, in my opinion, was perfected on Hordes Of Chaos a few albums later. This song really is rather different to most of what this band has ever put out, and is clearly better than much of their later work. The solo to it is rather nice, the drumming is decent, and Mille's vocals are some of the best he has ever done. My one minor pickle with this song would be the lyrics, but more on that later.
Enemy Unseen starts promising, but rather outstays its welcome, lasting about a minute too long, which isn't bad for saying that its only 3 and a half minutes. Stronger Than Before has the same problem, in that it starts off sounding rather good, with some nice guitar work, thundering bass, and nice drumming, but it throws it all away. However, this is balanced out by the all-round awesomness of the last three songs, Alive Again, Against The Rest and A Better Tomorrow.
Alive Again is a fun song to listen to start to finish and Against The Rest has some of the best guitarwork on the album and some truly pissed off vocals by Mille Petrozza, with a perfect chorus for the song. However, it is album closer A Better Tomorrow that really is the best out of the three. This song makes up for any weaker moments throughout the album perfectly, with a full song that never once lets up.
Musically, this album really does manage to standout. The riffs are all fun and catchy, but hold a dark atmosphere. They are nothing on Coma Of Souls, where it was ultra-technical. Instead, here, Mille has managed to create a sense of dread on an album unlike anything the band had ever done before. The riffs manage to stay away from being generic, and actually do hold up compared to their other works.
Ventor's drumming is, as usual, top notch. He sacrificed speed for groove here, and it worked perfectly. He keeps a solid rhythm going in the background, for the guitars and vocals to roar over the top of it. Speaking of the vocals, Mille petrozza really has come a long way here. He experiments with clean vocals, and has his barking vocals, and he really is all over the place in the best possible way. He spews venom, and he also has emotional moments, where he sounds rather soothing.
The lyrics to this album are its one major failing point. On songs such as the title track and even Black Sunrise, they are really terrible, and sound too forced. They are nowhere near as pissed off as early Kreator's lyrics. However, this can be put aside when you listen to the music backing it.
This album overall is one of the band best works, containing enough in each of the songs to give the listener an enjoyable experience. It comes highly recommended for those with an open mind. However, anyone who thinks Pleasure To Kill is the finest thing since sliced bread and everything after it was ***, kindly stay the *** away from this album. 4/5