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Into The Crypts Of

Kreator - Pleasure To Kill (Noise) 1986
Hailing from the heavy industrial area of Essen in Germany, Kreator, alongside Destruction and Sodom, spearheaded the European thrash attack in the mid '80s that saw bands produce phenomenal records to rival their American counterparts. We shall get to the aforementioned Sodom and Destruction, as well as the legendary Celtic Frost in due time, but for now I want to tell you about this horrid little album. Recorded eight months after their noisy, tuneless debut, "Endless Pain", the band formally known as Tormentor entered the Musiclab Studio in Berlin with producer Harris Johns. Taking 14 days to record, everything about this album was a vast improvement on "Endless Pain", from the song writing, the musicianship, to the heavy production that still stands the test of time today.

Released in the same year as Slayer's "Reign in Blood", Kreator was perhaps unfairly dubbed the 'German Slayer', as "PTK" has that same aggression, that same violent vibe so apparent on "RIB". Lead by guitarist/vocalist Millie Petrozza, bassist Rob Fioretti and drums/vocals by the distinctive Ventor, Kreator proved that playing fast, heavy and tight thrash metal was not restricted to US bands like Dark Angel and Slayer. The album cover was stunning - again they used fantasy artist extraordinaire, Phil Lawvere, who painted a Ray Harryhausen-esque scene of a demon battling several armed skeletons. On paper it sounds tacky, but it was an incredible painting that made for a damn fine t-shirt.

But it's the overall feel to the album that makes "Pleasure to Kill" such a thrash landmark. 'Choir of the Damned' opens this Teutonic slab of death, the deceivingly soothing acoustic intro of the period literally a calm before the storm before 'Rippin' Corpse' explodes from your speakers, a glorious, terrible noise if ever there was one. It's hard to describe the first time you heard "PTK", but as the deafening racket of 'Rippin' ' blows the cobwebs from your brain, it's this track alone that had you either jumping up and down like an ecstatic lunatic or had you running from the room screaming.

'Death is your saviour' is up next, Ventor taking over on vocals, his growls a lot deeper than the scratchy vocal style of Millie, and this track just bombs along. When he screams "Death is your saviour!", you know he means it. The title track hammers in, and what can you say about the song 'Pleasure to Kill' except that this was death metal before there was death metal. What Kreator were doing between '83 and '86, Obituary, Deicide and Suffocation would do three years later. 'Riot of violence' ends side A, a firm fan favourite, and though not as fast as the rest of the album (granted it does have a kinda blast-beat mid-section), it's still heavy enough to plummet the best of any Thrasher.

Side B opened with 'The Pestilence', and at six minutes fifty-seven seconds it was, at the time, one of the longest thrash tracks recorded. The lead friendly 'Carrion' was next, with a huge instrumental break sadly not heard since the '80s. Ventor on vocals again for the fast 'Command of the blade', then the album closer, 'Under the guillotine', a moody, stomp-along track that you strangely listened to, catching your breath, rather than thrashed to. Metal historians have gone on record to say that it was either the follow-up to "PTK", "Terrible Certainty", or the polished "Extreme Aggression" that put Kreator on the world map. I maintain that, while this very well might be true, no album Kreator have recorded since has been more influential or lauded as "Pleasure to Kill".

A classic thrash metal album in every sense of the word.

Ken Blackmore

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