Kreator – Hate Über Alles Review

More than any notable thrash band of the 80s, Kreator dabbled in different styles, tweaked and retweaked their formula, sometimes to their detriment. 1992s Renewal tried to fuse hardcore and industrial elements into their thrash sound with wildly mixed results, and Endorama went for something like a goth metal style that was weird to say the least. In recent years they’ve been more restrained in their experimentation, incorporating doses of anthemic traditional metal into their sound. This was most prevalent on 2017s Gods of Violence and it worked well, though at times it was hard to believe it was the same band that gave us Pleasure to Kill and Terrible Certainty. It’s been 5 years since Gods of Violence and the singles released for Hate Über Alles suggested Kreator had been bit by the experimentation bug once again. After spending some time with the album, it’s safe to say this is true. Is this a case of good experimentation or the other kind? That’s the tough part.

After a weird intro that sounds like it was swiped from a Sergio Leone spaghetti western, the title track rips out with a classic Kreator thrash attack. It’s fast, vicious and sounds like something off Extreme Aggression or Coma of Souls. This means I dig it muchly. It’s what I want from Kreator and it makes an olde thrashard happy. “Killer of Jesus” is similarly aggressive but packs in the traditional metal influences and rocks an anthemic chorus like the material on Gods of Violence. Single “Strongest of the Strong” is a catchy trad metal song with driving energy perfect for running or CrossFit tomfoolery. It’s not what I want from Kreator but it’s the most earwormy track here. From there, however, the album starts to slip and lose focus.

Cuts like “Crush the Tyrants” and “Become Immortal” just don’t do much for me, the former is a flat, uninspired mid-tempo chugger that might have fit on Renewal, and the latter is a weird blend of epic metal with a trademark Accept oh-oh-oh segment that feels cheesy and weird. Worse still is “Midnight Sun” where female vocals clang into the song in an awkward, intrusive way that feels forced. The song itself isn’t all that interesting to begin with and the female vocals make it even less unwieldy. The remainder of Hate is either barely average or below average Kreator output that won’t do much to enrage the cockles of fans of the band or thrash generally. Closing cut “Dying Planet” is especially uninspiring and at almost 7 minutes, it’s a bland slog. There’s just not a lot to really get jazzed about here as the energy level often dips and drags, and there are too many tracks that feel like B-side fluff. The merger of elements and influences outside of thrash was handled much better on Gods of Violence and the songs were uniformly stronger there too.

Musically the band sounds tight and precise. The guitar work by Mille and Sami Yli-Sirniö is impressive and wide-ranging. They can still deliver some biting thrash leads that sizzle the shizzle, and they’re adept at throwing trad metal and NWoBHM flavors into their leads and solos. There’s a drift into epic metal at times that is interesting but not fully developed, and they even rub up against Iced Earth-esque riffs here and there. Mille sounds the same as ever, though he’s often barking and rasping over way less frenetic, urgent music than he once did. His clean singing/talking on “Pride Comes Before the Fall” harkens back to Endorama and is a touch cheesy, but such is life.1 The songwriting here is just not that great considering they had 5 years to cobble it all together and some of it feels forced and quite awkward.

I was psyched to get a new Kreator opus in my greasy ape paws, but sadly Hate Über Alles is a bit of a buzzkill. It’s not awful but it’s not an album I expect to come back to after poaching the best cuts for a playlist, and the back half is especially weak and disappointing. It looks like Destruction will be taking the Big Three of Germanic Thrash Championship belt for 2022 barring an unexpected Sodom attack with a folding chair. Better luck next time.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 273 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: June 10th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. And anyone else notice Mille is looking more and more like Danzig as he gets older?
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