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Hatross Overlord

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:50 pm    Post subject: KREATOR - PLEASURE TO KILL Reply with quote


(Noise Records, 1986)

Is Pleasure to Kill a thrash or death metal album? I have wrestled with this question for years. Granted, PTK was released in the hay-day of thrash, but it sounded so brutal, so in-your-face for its time that to wear a Kreator shirt or patch or painted denim logo meant that Christ, you were into some heavy, heavy shit. Indeed, the mid-late 80's had Slayer, Bathory, Sodom, Possessed and Dark Angel; the Big Boys League. And though all progressed and went on to record less noisy albums than their earlier work these acts were the creme-de-la-creme of extreme 80's metal, and none defined this more than Kreator's Pleasure to Kill.

Hot on the heels of their frenzied debut Endless Pain for Noise Records, which, though it has its moments is pretty generic and was, according to the band rushed by the label ("We didn't even have time to rehearse the material!"). In an interview with 'frash expert' Xavier Russell for Mega Metal Kerrang, main man Mille Petrozza states, "We were much happier with the production on Pleasure to Kill. We didn't make the mistakes that were so apparent on 'Endless Pain' and we also had a much better producer. We were offered Harris Johns and we took him on 'cos we liked what he'd done on Helloween's 'Walls of Jericho' album. Pleasure ... took 14-days to record, which we consider a luxury!"

If album artwork attracts, and those of us over a certain age have all bought vinyl albums based on album artwork alone (sometimes to our regret!) then can one imagine holding the Pleasure to Kill album sleeve for the first time? Shrouded in crimson reds a horned demon fights a band of Ray Harryhausen-esque skeletons wielding swords and axes with its bare hands ... for a 16-year old metalhead, what's not to like? Painted by artist Phil Lawvere it was, apparently, randomly picked as the second Kreator album sleeve (Lawvere had also painted their debut) but the painting went on to be their iconic image, and the t-shirt is still a best seller at their live shows today.
The back of the album features four band members, yet only the core group of Petrozza on main vocals & guitar, Jorgen 'Ventor' Reil on drums and Rob Fioretti on bass recorded this album. The other fellow Michael Wulf, who came from a brief stint with Sodom lasted 12-days, after Petrozza " ... showed him some new material that I had written for our soon-to-be-released 12 inch maxi single (Flag of Hate EP) and he just couldn't play it, so it was obvious to me that he wasn't right for Kreator."

And so you slip the vinyl from its sleeve, noting the b&w photographic collage prominent on so many bands album sleeve at that time and as mentioned before, 80's metal was big on acoustic intros. Choir of the Damned opens proceedings, a soft, melodic piece that even your mother would like before Ripping Corpse quite literally blasts from the speakers, and all hell has, respectively, broke loose. Speed, speed, speed, Kreator could and did play fast, rivalling Slayer�s Reign in Blood at one stage. "We've already proved we can play faster than Slayer," Petrozza explained in the same interview, "but there's never been a competition for speed on our part, we just play the music we like at the speed we like." Indeed, opener Ripping Corpse, Death is Your Saviour, Carrion and Command of the Blade are heads-down-see-you-at-the-finish neck breakers and were one of the reasons why Kreator deserved their extreme tag; they were heavy as fuck and twice as fast. The title track uproariously steals the show here, its drum roll intro leading into a pounding riff as this song rips, hacks and tears the listener: 'My only aim is to take many lives/The more the better I feel/My only pleasure is to hear many cries/From those tortured by my steel/The colour of your blood from your open body/Is all I wanted to see/Tasting the blood from your lips as you die/Means satisfaction to me/Pleasure to kill'. Awesome.
The Pestilence, the longest track on the album clocking in under 7-minutes thumps along, time-changes a plenty. Kreator show a maturity here that they would explore in future, longer tracks such as Awakening of the Gods. And album closer Under the Guillotine bashes away in a thunderous cacophony of guitar solos and drum rolls ... absolute bliss.

Vocals were shared between Petrozza and drummer Ventor, the latter singing (well, something akin to singing) on the classic Riot of Violence and the aforementioned Command of the Blade. The two vocal styles are similar, though Ventor's somewhat gruffer; it would have been interesting to have heard the whole album with Ventor's vocals. Nevertheless, Petrozza�s vocals are incredibly abrasive here and, with the passing of near 3-decades sounds like a different singer compared to his banshee-like screeching of late.

So, after all that, is Pleasure to Kill thrash or death metal? Petrozza argues that the album has both elements, and of course he's right. The band wanted to better Possessed's Seven Churches, which already boasted a song called Death Metal; indeed, journalist Xavier Russell had asked Petrozza 'Is that why you created Death/Hate Metal?' In 1987 when thrash exploded the scene was cluttered with Bay Area copycat bands, something that hasn't changed today - just look at the countless Exodus wannabe's clogging up the internet. After 1987 no thrash band sounded like PTK-era Kreator or Obsessed by Cruelty Sodom, it would take early Massacre and Death to acknowledge fully those extreme pioneers. Let us not forget, thrash metal in 1986 was a dirty word, unlike the respected (mainstream) Metallica, Megadeth & Testament of today. And though they were considered a thrash metal band history has shown that Pleasure to Kill, by its very (brutal) nature was something more, something nastier. While it was released in an era where thrash metal was at its zenith Kreator, alongside Possessed and, of course Hellhammer/Celtic Frost perhaps unwittingly forged a new genre of metal called Death metal in the same way that Venom and Bathory laid the roots for Black metal, though they were still tagged as thrash at the time.

Of course, Pleasure to Kill sounds nothing like today's Suffocation or Immolation, but in 1986 death metal it was, albeit briefly, and most definitely influential. It rightly remains a superb thrash/death album.


Choir of the Damned/Ripping Corpse:

Riot of Violence:

Last edited by Bacteria13 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

excellent review!
"I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder." -Werner Herzog
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