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Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
Review: This album aims for the grey area between speed and death metal which preserves the high tempo of speed metal and adds to it the gracefully tubular riffs of whipstrummed chords that are the hallmark of the phrasal style of death metal. While it surpasses the speed metal efforts in this area, it does not manage the enigmatic, NWOBHM-style choruses of Slayer so much as it creates a unison riot shout, and while it achieves greater intensity than speed metal, it is restrained by its tendency to go breakneck tempo until a conclusion is needed. At this point, the Kreator modus operandi becomes one of clamping down with a hard stop, possibly a muffled strum, trading momentum for an older, chugging style of heavy metal.
Interestingly, the cascade of progressively offbeat syllables of vocal lines are more complex than those of their American counterparts, but gain a jaunty, almost hip-hop influenced vibrancy. What this band excels in on this album are songs that set up leverage between patterns of alternating texture and then in the quintessential metal style reduce the music to a thematic statement that powerfully distills difference and similarity into a world-spanning conclusion. In this the elegance of heavy metal meets the raw aggression of speed and death, titrating an elan for life that is not restrained by the ugly or mortal, but overflows with a resurgent energy like the return of spring.
Despite this, Kreator's great weakness remains too much symmetry between some of the less essential riffs, creating a listening experience that sometimes resembles being rocked between alternate sides of a Jeep rambling over a rocky desert trail. For those who enjoy the hybrid, high-intensity style of Kreator, this album and "Extreme Aggression" remain the apex of this band's output.