Kreator - _Hordes of Chaos_
by: Jeremy Ulrey (
Has it really been nearly four years since the last Kreator opus, _Enemy of God_? I suppose the deluxe edition re-release, the archival live DVD... all have conspired to further the illusion that the band have been much busier creatively than reality bears witness to, and this is exactly what such releases are designed to do, which any record label honcho will readily admit if you get them alone in a locked room with a syringe of carefully administered truth serum.Artistically, Kreator have long been on a career trajectory most akin to Entombed; the bands sound dissimilar, but otherwise sport the same maddening penchant for churning out paint-by-numbers albums year after year, followed by the occasional uncharacteristic silence, during which rumors abound of a behind-the-scenes band evaluation, hopefully culminating in a back to the roots campaign and a return to the sound that made them famous, only for the resultant album to finally drop... like a lead turd. It's as if the band realize that what their fans want and what they've been providing are mutually exclusive, but in their effort to meet them halfway they fail altogether.We often forget that bands are getting up in age at the same rate that we are, and that halcyon period of artistry we pine for was often a mere blip in a multi-decade career, one in which the band have been immersed in the stylistic "digression" we loathe for far more years than the seminal era we wish they'd return to. Very well. There's something to be said for not caving in to unrealistic expectations, but on the other hand, when virtually -no one- outside of friends and family get too excited about the new shit, isn't it maybe time for a rethink? Maybe, just maybe, you've fallen into a tour-record-tour rut and your interest in putting out quality material may be questionable at best? Maybe that's not fair, either. Maybe a band like Kreator deep down really does aspire to remain relevant, vital, but 25 years on just lacks anything new to say, and can't even conjure up an original aesthetic in which to regurgitate the old shit?I don't know. I just find it hard to believe the guys have as much vested passion in "Radical Resistance" as they did in "Flag of Hate" or "Some Pain Will Last". Masterfully produced in impeccable fashion, _Hordes of Chaos_ falls into that late period artistic trap of placing form before function, confusing flawless execution with a worthy musical effort. _Hordes_ doesn't do anything as egregious as lapse back into the half assed industrial schlock the band left behind with _Violent Revolution_, but it does fail to build on the stripped down basics of the last two records and, in falling a notch or two below the rejuvenated intensity of _Enemy of God_ while retaining its mediocre songwriting, the new album is an unqualified step backward in terms of maintaining long term interest. I would never be so bold as to assert that it's time for a band to hang up their shoes, but is an album ignored really that far removed from an album that doesn't even exist?
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