Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Into the Void: Endless Pain

Kreator - Endless Pain (Oct, 1985)

Kreator is, of course, one of the great Teutonic thrash acts, and like Sodom and Destruction, their early work played a big part in what would become the sound of black metal. And when I say that, I mean that bands like Mayhem and Immortal would draw from this sort of thing—contemporary black metal artist Quorthon hated them, claiming that he couldn't listen to a Kreator album without laughing. And it is sloppy, certainly. The band members at the time were 18 and 19, and Endless Pain sounds like a trio of teenagers just slamming it as hard as they can. Yes, another trio. While Kreator would later go on to fame as a four-piece, adding the second guitar what I consider to be their best album of the 80s, Terrible Certainty, when they started out it was just Mille Petrozza on guitar, Rob Fioretti on bass, and Ventor (if your name was J├╝rgen, wouldn't you take a stage name?) on the drums.

Then there's that odd little detail of Mille and Ventor trading off on vocal duties. Ventor gets the odd-numbered tracks, and Mille gets the even-numbered ones. Guess which ones are the most black metal? Mille's signature rasp is nearly as aggressive as Quorthon's, and is certainly worlds apart from anything that Sodom or Destruction were doing. Mille's songs are, almost without exception, faster, sharper, and more out of control than Ventor's. Other than that, though, there there isn't that much variation in the sound. I laugh ever time "Son of Evil" transitions into "Flag of Hate," because it sounds like the same damn riff. For 1985, though, Kreator was extreme. Tremolo guitars, barking vocals, crazy tempos, almost blast beats? It's all here. Sure, Kreator would go on to achieve so much more (and they're still kicking major ass today), but I found myself digging Endless Pain a lot more than I expected to.

Final Verdict: 4/10 for Ventor's tracks, 6/10 for Mille's tracks. So you could call it a 5 overall.

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