Review Summary: Tight riffs and angry vocals do not make up for the incompetence in structure
Throughout the 1990's, thrash died off. Grunge took over, and then the nu-metal craze sunk in, and it seemed, for a while, as though thrash would never resurface. Many thrash bands shifted up their styles to allow for these changes, and the ones that didn't were soaked up. One of these bands were the once-mighty Kreator. Other than Outcast and, of course, Coma Of Souls, the 90's were not too kind to Kreator. Renewal and Endorama and Cause For Conflict were middle of the road efforts. Whilst none were amazing, and none were remotely thrash-oriented, they all managed to just abuot be decent. Thrash, even for Kreator, was a dead horse. Until 2001.
Violent Revolution proved that Kreator were not gone for good, and that they could still create those evil sounds. However, this was still a weak effort when compared to earlier releases, and had too much of their 90's sound still infused with their thrash vein. However, this would all change on the very next release, which was promised to be an aggressive thrash album in the same circle as their earliest material.
Fast-forward to 2005, and this album descended. Enemy Of God, an album that, right from that very first drum beat, shows the revitalised Kreator in fully-fledged pissed off mode. God knows what happened between 2001 and 2005, but Kreator were back, sounding heavier than they had done in 15 years. And it sounded fantastic upon release.
Kicking things right off with the stunning title track, we are shown an absolute ***ing riff fest of a song, with lightning fast drumming from Ventor, and some of the most pissed off vocals Mille Petrozza has ever done. The lyrics are really a step up from their earlier work as well, with some fantastically written verses. The music is some of their most mature, with an incredibly heavy, fast intro, and then a slower middle section in the same vein as Slayer's Angel of Death or Sepultura's Beneath The Remains, before launching back into the non-stop brutality. This remains one of the bands finest tunes to date, and really does kickstart this album.
Impossible Brutality may well be one of the weakest tracks on the album, which is a huge shame considering it picks up from the title track. It lasts too long, and does not have enough ideas going for it to be one of the better tracks on the album. However, Suicide Terrorist, World Anarchy and Dystopia are the perfect remedy for this album, all of them being riff-fests, and savage attacks on the ears.
The next two tracks are the best on the album, in my opinion. Voices Of the Dead is one of my personal favourite Kreator songs ever. The nice bass introduction sets the tone for this album with its very first note, giving way to some beautiful singing from Mille Petrozza. In this context, however, beautiful does not mean Lights or Whitney Houston. Beautiful means it conveys the emotions of the lyrics, and Mille really does handle the dark subject of this song brilliantly. From there on, it is an absolute thrash fest, with the roaring vocals from Mille and the infamous chorus that bears a strong resemblance to that of Slayer's Seasons In The Abyss. A perfect song.
Murder Fantasies is a little more straight forward in its structuring, and is slightly longer, but makes perfect use of the time allocated. This is how a Kreator song should sound-utterly pissed off, angry, dark, deadly and terrifying. Mille sounds ready to take your ***ing face off on this song, and the relentless drumming from Ventor does the same thing. This is undoubtably one of the best the band has ever put out.
When Death Takes It's Dominion has a nice introductory riff, and has a dark atmosphere to it, that never lets up. Mille strains himself vocally here, which is always nice to hear. However, this one really does last too long in my opinion. It is the second longest song on the album, and really does not need this long to get its point across. Looking past this, however, it has one of the best choruses on the album and some of Ventor's finest drumming since their glory days.
The next three songs are pretty much standard Kreator affairs, so, skipping down to the final track, and also the longest one, we hear the slowest, most brooding section of any Kreator song on the album (other than Voices Of The Dead). The Ancient Plagues has the perfect intro, and sounds absolutely incredible. I imagine this would be the soundtrack to the end of the world, as it truly does sound nightmarish, before we dive headfirst into one of the best riffs on the album. This has that gallopy feel to it that just makes you want to get up and jump around like a ***ing madman. The tremolo picked riffing two thirds of the way through is perfectly implemented, and never sounds too forced, like on Pleasure To Kill. This is the best way to end the album the band could possibly have created.
This albums main strength comes in the guitar work on display. The riffs are tightly constructed, and yet manage to be incredibly technical and hard to play. They sound so perfect, and the production on the guitars is absolutely cutting edge. They come off sounding incredibly brutal, and it fits the tone of the album as well. The soloing is some of the best the band has put out, and never once detracts from the song.
Ventors drumming is completely insane on this album, and the scariest part is that he would go one better on their next album, Hordes Of Chaos. He really is one of the finest thrash drummers out there, and manages to prove it a thousand times over on this album. The bass work is audible, and sounds decent. Mille Petrozza's vocal work is completely insane, but sounds perfect. Nobody could have delivered these lyrics quite as well as he did.
The main weak point of the album is the song lengths. Many of them are half a minute to a minute too long, and it loses its flow towards the end of the album because of this. If The Ancient Plague (ironically, the longest song) had not closed the album, it would have been overbalanced, and the latter half would have become irrelevant. This really does grate on me, as all the songs have at least one decent moment.
This album is a fairly good album, being a step up from Violent Revolution in every department. However, when stacked against their early material and, indeed, what was to come on the next album, it really fails to do anything for me. The riffing is as tight as it gets, and the drumming is incredible, but overall, this is a mid-tier Kreator album. 3.5/5, and that's being generous.