Kreator – London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 6th February 2020
Capturing another headlining set in the UK to support their last studio album Gods of Violence, Kreator have only increased their razor-sharp thrash over the years by adding these melodic/traditional hooks at times to their latest batch of songs. They’ve always been comfortable from the stage – and this seventeen track performance allows the listeners to feel that intensity, the whirlwind pits, the audience lapping up every ferocious Mille-infused scream, the twin rhythms penetrating the aural landscape, and the rhythm section racing and punching through the mix.
What you will get for a setlist is a healthy serving of Kreator in the post 2001 to present era along with a few of the classics that put the band at the top of the Teutonic thrash heap during the 1980’s. The latest album gets five selections – the militant chant-a-long “Hail to the Hordes”, twin-guitar/ Slayer-esque “Satan Is Real” plus the musician-themed “Fallen Brother” where Mille calls out deceased comrades from Lemmy and the Abbott brothers Vinnie and Dimebag plus Fast Eddie Clarke going down very well. Mille as a frontman fills that cheerleader/excitable role valiantly, reminding listeners of the band’s documentation of said show, plus giving kudos to Bloodbath, Hatebreed and co-headliners Dimmu Borgir for this tour. You can always count on a fair number of title tracks also making the grade – “Pleasure to Kill”, “Phantom Antichrist”, and “Hordes of Chaos” sure to get the crowd whirling in a frenzy, beyond the can’t miss hits like “Flag of Hate” or “People of the Lie”. That drummer Ventor in his 50’s can still punish his kit with abandon at breakneck speeds and flex his time signature muscles for the transitions is a wonder to behold – anchoring the Kreator machine that is tight and precise, allowing guitarists Mille and Sami Yli-Sirniö to unfurl those vicious chords and shred-oriented leads to the masses.
We know at this point that live albums don’t have the same staying power as say Live After Death or Unleashed in the East did for previous generations. But when done well, they can capture a band at their peak – and for this scribe’s money, London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse illustrates that the old guard aren’t ready to hang up their thrash boots anytime soon.