wed 29/03/2023

Kreator, Chalk, Brighton review - an invigoratingly relentless assault | reviews, news & interviews

Kreator, Chalk, Brighton review - an invigoratingly relentless assault

Kreator, Chalk, Brighton review - an invigoratingly relentless assault

German thrash titans give Brighton a rare lesson in extreme metal

Kreator and their 'Flag of Hate'

Mille Petrozza is roaring into the mic, teeth gritted, black hair flailing. Behind his growl-screeching a triumphant martial riff is holding the “tune” and behind that, never-ceasing drum beats, an exercise in pure velocity.

“The failed, the outcasts, the sagacious and wise will form a bond, impeccable art crafted through aeons of time,” thunders Petrozza, in a rare popular musical use of the word “sagacious”. “Hail to the Hordes” runs the chorus to the 2017 song, and writhing before Kreator, there they are, the hordes, a mass of denim and leather and skin, buffeting around the mosh-pit like ping pong balls.

Good on German thrash perennials Kreator for coming to Brighton. This part of the world has a drought of metal. It’s easy to understand why. Tonight’s gig is full but even the previous night tickets were still available. Chalk is, at a guess, a 700-cap venue. Kreator headline festivals and regularly sell out venues three or four times this size. Brighton doesn’t do metal. A caricature of the city’s musical taste would be an ageing B-boy/raver playing a pristine vinyl Lauryn Hill album while his partner does yoga, both daydreaming of their annual bellini picnic afternoon at the Love Supreme festival. Kreator, on the other hand, sound like the apocalypse.

This date seems to have been tacked on to the end of an extensive tour that Kreator and support act Municipal Waste have been doing with Lamb of God, a testing of the Brighton waters, perhaps, as Petrozza tells us this is their first ever concert here. We miss opening act Pest Control, from Leeds, but catch Virginian thrashers Municipal Waste whose tone is as light-hearted as their music is pounding, boasting a fluoro-lime green guitar and songs titles such as “Beer Pressure” and “The Thrashin’ of the Christ”.

Kreator’s intro music is “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden but their own sonic assault makes that band sound, as Charlie Sheen might once have said, “like droopy-eyed armless children”. They open uncompromisingly with the title track of their most recent album, last year’s Hate Über Alles, and then don’t let up.

Highlights would include “Satan is Real”, “Violent Revolution” and set-closer (and 1986 thrash classic) “Pleasure to Kill”, but this music is as much about catharsis as tunes. I don’t listen to Kreator much at home but to see them live is mind’n’body-stunning. Playing riffs at 10,000 miles-a-second clearly keeps Finnish guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö youthful, while drummer Ventor Reil’s relentlessness belies his 56 years on earth, but it’s frontman Petrozza who holds the attention most, emanating vehement focus, his lyrical concerns a bizarre expurgation of brutality and death.

Now that Slayer are no more, there are few bands of this vintage playing with such utter commitment, with no “Nothing Else Matters”-style interludes to temper the non-stop battering. Kreator are about pure amplified heft and tempo. They tried out various styles in the 1990s, but none suited them like sheer thrash onslaught and they have become an oiled machine at delivering a very particular kind of Teutonic excitement. There is a price, of course. This writer is of the same vintage as the band and 80 minutes being hurled about in the maelstrom of their mosh-pit leaves the body two days later feeling as if it had been in a minor car accident. But it was worth it.

Below: watch Kreator play "Hail to the Hordes"

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