Ketzer – Cloud Collider (Metal Blade)

Thursday, 27th June 2019
Rating: 8/10

Because of their Satanic black/thrash beginnings, Germany’s Ketzer took it on the chin for 2016’s change-in-direction Starless. Many accused the Germans of jumping on the Tribulation post-metal bandwagon, something that yes, was apparent on more than a few occasions on Starless. That didn’t necessarily spoil the broth — Starless is certainly not devoid of its moments. But, point taken — Ketzer’s new direction didn’t sit well with those who strapped themselves in for the wild rides of Satan’s Boundaries Unchained and Endzeit Metropolis. That crowd may at least find some merit with Cloud Collider.

Not to be confused with In Flames’s “Cloud Connected” (it’s an alliteration thing), Cloud Collider has more teeth than its predecessor, as evidenced by the toppling chord sequences of “Keine Angst” as well as the melodic thrash fury of “Walls,” which may rank among the band’s finest songs to date, a would-be post-black anthem. Subsequent froth (courtesy of vocalist Infernal Destroyer; aka Gerrit Schwarz) and apocalyptic BM boils by way of the title track and “This Knife Won’t Stay Clean Today” provide the appropriate link to Ketzer’s halcyon days, although the band can still lock-and-load in the rock catchiness department, in particular on “The Wind Brings Them Horses,” which, if you think about it, would be something Dissection would have given a run at on Reinkaos.

What probably should have been the album to follow Endzeit Metropolis, Ketzer should be able to redeem themselves in the eye of the unforgiving metal underground, who scoffed at seeing yet another band abandon their roots for more accessible territory. The thing is, Ketzer remains awfully accessible, perhaps even moreso on Cloud Collider. Everyone wins.

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