Some metal bands age better than others. Come to think of it, some metal genres age better than others. As far as I can tell, the thrash metal bands from the 80's have aged surprisingly well, including the so-called Teutonic Thrash bands from Germany. Sodom, my personal favorite of the bunch, has certainly kept their legacy intact- but what of Germany's flagship thrash act, Kreator? After a short foray into industrial metal in the 1990's, Kreator returned to form with a continuous string of pure Thrash. Their offerings are a consistent and satisfying display of what the band does best (though I do remember my friend remarking that Mille sounded like an angry parrot on 2009's Warcurse, oh well…he's the best angry parrot out there!). In other words, Kreator is a band you can count on, and Phantom AntiChrist is a shining example of that fact. On this new album, the band actually takes a more melodic turn, a stylistic challenge that they meet with pleasure.
I'm not one for intro pieces, but the Mars Mantra lead-in is a fitting overture for the rest of the album. As is the case through most of Phantom AntiChrist, the title track feels like a shot of melodic death metal chased with a glass of dissonant thrash. Actually, through much of the album, it felt like Kreator decided to collaborate with Amon Amarth. This results in a heroic and catchy blend of sounds that I was not expecting, but was more than pleased to hear. From Flood to Fire is almost a perfect amalgamation, with a brilliantly constructed solo-bridge with a chugging rhythm section from hell. Civilization Collapse does one even better with a flurry of riffs and solos, ending with the sound of a mighty explosion.
Sure, some will say: "but this doesn't sound like classic Kreator! I'm mad, I want them to remake Pleasure to Kill over and over again, nothing else will make me happy! Whine, Whine, Whine!"
To which this reviewer will reply: who the hell cares? Truth be told, stylistic changes are only as good as their choice and execution. But in this case, Kreator has done well with both and done their legacy proud. Kreator has the musical and lyrical skill (okay, a few lines were a little awkward, but I can forgive that) to adapt to nearly any style of extreme metal, which is only fitting due to their wide influence throughout all modern metal. Besides, songs like United in Hate bear enough resemblance to their signature sound that both longtime fans and newcomers should be satisfied.
7.5 out of 10
Favorite songs: Phantom AntiChrist, From Flood to Fire, From Flood to Fire, and The Few, The Proud, The Broken