TESTAMENT / Kreator

05oct6:50 pmTESTAMENT / Kreator6:50 pm

Event Details

The time has arrived for TESTAMENT to unleash new thunder to the masses and reveal their thirteenth studio album: Titans OF Creation . Just as the elements of this planet thrive within all living creatures, each musician in TESTAMENT represents a necessary component of this latest musical endeavour. Still filled with a massive and unstoppable energy since their last release, TESTAMENT has taken their style to the next level and present an album that is loyal to the roots of traditional thrash metal while still bringing alluring, brilliant, and progressive ingredients to the table. Bass is showcased, new vocals are introduced, and as expected, the guitarwork of Peterson and Skolnick is greatly complex and mesmerizing.

Eliran Kantor stepped up once again to create a new piece of artwork for the cover of this release. His classic, almost Renaissance style of painting melds beautifully with the ancient, psychological, and enlightened subject matter of the songs. Three monstrous titans stand in the place where the planets are formed. One pours molding liquid which the others hammer into human DNA, twisting and turning into the ring of a newborn planet. Each titan has the flame of a dying star burning in their chest; the origin of the atoms making up the bodies that are bubbling and boiling on the curves of the spiraling helix.

Titans OF Creation has many moods and material contained within; all of which somehow tie into a common philosophy of creation and its necessary counterpart: destruction. “ Children Of The Next Level ” smashes through the gates as the opening track with a flood of sound that prepares the listener for an abundance of violent thrash. Meanwhile, the lyrics rage about the outrageous philosophies of the Heaven’s Gate cult (founded in 1974).

Songs like “ Dream Deceiver ” carry more old school sound that will tickle the senses of any common TESTAMENT fan. The lyrics describe being trapped in a dream by an otherworldly female force who is slowly working to degrade the mind. Dreams are part of existence, but when we are asleep we are entirely vulnerable; one of the many mysteries of being human. “ Someone’s haunting you and won’t leave you alone; the only time they pick at you is at night when they can control the way you sleep, ” describes vocalist Chuck Billy .

“ Night of the Witch ” features frightening and captivating vocals from Eric Peterson . Carrying a vibe far more akin to Black Metal, Peterson swoops in with a power that melds perfectly with Billy’s ground shaking, guttural growls. Taking some influence from Robert Egger ’s 2015 horror masterpiece “ The VVitch: A New England Folktale ,” the song carries with it a magical quality that directly reflects the mood of the film. At the very end of the track, a theremin howls through the air much like witches rising towards the moon; setting the final tone. “ The album has a lot about it that’s fresh to the ear ,” explains Peterson.

Written by guitarist Alex Skolnick , “ Symptoms ” is filled with detailed with intricate guitar work that well represents the complicated and spellbinding journey that comes along with handling depression, mood swings, and a countless list of mental health frustrations. The lyrics in this song discuss a sad truth: that mental illness is more common than we all think, and than many of us are willing to acknowledge. On a lighter note, a vibrant track entitled “ The Healers ” swings back and forth between waves of death and thrash, heavy and melodic, light and dark. The words are spiritual, and extremely personal. They describe Billy’s own experience dealing with all natural medicine men; the elders of the earth, and how they managed to help him pinpoint and heal his past illness. “ City Of Angels ” comes bearing an entirely new sound for TESTAMENT . The creeping sludgieness and slow, stalking tempo, walk hand in hand with the almost unbelievably gruesome tale of the Nightstalker Richard Ramierz , all combining to form another stand-out track on the record.

In 2020 the days of writing an album all together in one room are far gone, but to be able to take advantage of technology allows for TESTAMENT to go about a very similar writing process to what they always have. Basic songs are molded, structures are added by everyone in the group, instrumentals are highlighted, and finally the lyrics and vocals are created to finalize the sonic story. Facetime and human on human contact still remain crucial elements to TESTAMENT’ s song writing process and at some point throughout, every member physically interacts and writes with one another. In between writing this album, the band toured relentlessly which allowed for less stress, more time in between, and greater inspiration for this album cycle. There was also plenty of anxiety-free and level-headed time for pre-production and the initial recording process with Juan Urteaga of Trident Studios. Andy Sneap was then able to tweak, mix, and master this album to his usual perfection.

TESTAMENT ’s process of creation has evolved and progressed yet they’ve remained steadfast over the course of literal decades. While always managing to present the genuine aspects of thrash metal that solidify their existence, they spread into unique horizons through developing crisp and fascinating sounds.

Decades into their game-changing career, German metal legends Kreator find themselves more successful and influential than ever. They’ve stuck to their guns, weathered the trends and outlasted their peers – never once wavering from the ferocious noise that excited them as teens. If anything, that thirst for sonic warfare is just as strong, if not stronger, today. Where others have suffered from creative malnourishment and artistic uncertainty, something which even metal’s biggest and best are prone to, Kreator have always charged full steam ahead – thanks to the red-eyed conviction and fearless determination of founding singer and guitarist Miland ‘Mille’ Petrozza. On 1985 debut Endless Pain, the Essen innovators created the template for extreme noise to come, fusing elements of thrash and black metal in ways that had never been heard before. Their sophomore album of the following year, Pleasure To Kill, became one of the landmark albums of 1986 – making metal history alongside key releases from Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. And onwards they marched, bringing hellish anthems to the masses in every album that followed, with a track record few could ever rival.

The last decade has been a particularly exciting time for the group, with 2012’s Phantom Antichrist proving how they could embrace modern production techniques and move with the times without forsaking the underground spirit and defiance which made them a household name in the first place. Its successor, 2017’s Gods Of Violence, saw them topping the German charts for the very first time in their career, a feat virtually unheard for a band of such thunderous intensity. Returning this year with fifteenth opus Hate Über Alles – which marks their first studio album with Frédéric Leclercq (ex-Dragonforce, Sinsaenum) on bass, joining Mille, guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö and drummer Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil – the metal titans are once again channelling an unholy heaviness strong enough to tilt the earth off-axis…

“We still like to challenge ourselves, I guess that’s what it comes down to,” says Mille, when quizzed on the secret to their longevity and flawless credentials. “Every time we make an album, it feels like the first one. We take our time, it’s important to have something to say rather than releasing things just for the sake of putting out something new. Quality always over quantity. Why put out meaningless, boring albums? I’d rather build on the essence of what I’m trying to say and what I want people to feel. That’s why we sound so angry and edgy.”

Angry and edgy are certainly words that epitomise what’s at the very core of Kreator’s musical DNA. But even with the legacy behind them, they’re not ones to rest on their laurels and bask in the light of past glories – even when concocting the follow-up to a chart-topping creative and commercial peak…

“We didn’t feel any pressure in regards to the success of the previous album,” continues Mille. “Of course we’d like to top the success and intensity, but it’s not really something we think or talk about. It’s more of an internal competition. My gut feeling when writing music is: if I like it, the fans will too. That’s the only measurement. So it’s not really pressure, more of a nice healthy competition with ourselves. If something doesn’t feel heavy or passionate enough, it won’t be good enough for us or our fans.”

As for the name Hate Über Alles, which translates as Hate Above All, it’s a phrase which came to Mille after a closer look at the world around him. With political and personal ideologies exacerbated by the age of the Internet, he notes how we are all now forced to exist in a society edging further and further into the extreme. “Hate Über Alles reflects the time we’re living in,” says Mille. “Everything is really loud and aggressive. The way we communicate has changed, thanks to social media. It causes a lot of imbalance. The world is in a state of disrepair. Life is not harmonic right now, it’s disharmonic… that’s where I was going with the title.”

Bassist Frédéric Leclercq makes his studio debut with the band on Hate Über Alles, following his first appearance on stage as a member of Kreator at the Santiago Gets Louder Festival in October 2019. For Mille, it was wonderful to see the French virtuoso bringing an abundance of energy and passion into the sessions at Hansa Studios – the Berlin facility where David Bowie famously recorded Low and Heroes – with producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Cavalera Conspiracy) lending his expertise behind the desk.

“Frédéric brought a lot to the table, especially in terms of arrangements,” reflects Mille. “We even co-wrote a song together called Dying Planet, which is the last song on the album and one of my favourite tra