Friday, March 4, 2011

Kreator - Live Kreation (2003)

Sodom was not the only major German thrash act to release a double live disc in 2003, but in Kreator's case, this was something the fans had anticipated for a very long time. In the past, you could only experience their live audio from bootlegs or various cuts scattered about compilations, EPs and VHS tapes, but Live Kreator is the real deal, over 100 minutes of music that spans the band's complete career, from the barbarian roots to their divisive experimentation through the 90s. The first real live album. But similar to One Night in Bangkok, the quality of the selection varies greatly. There are a few cuts here that really just don't belong among their more exciting peers, and the overall effect of the performance definitely suffers some lulls. However, the tracks were recorded from various sets on their 2001-2002 tour, so the overall audio is simply better, and they were able to capture versions that they found the most consistent.

It doesn't really start off all that well, with "Violent Revolution" and then "Reconquering the Throne". I realize that this is an aggregate collection from multiple gigs, and the band were touring off this new album at the time, but let's be blunt: people attending a Kreator concert want the good stuff. People buying a live Kreator album, even one of this nature, to play out like an actual performance. Violent Revolution is a good album, a welcome return to what the band do best, but it would have been a better idea to open this with with "Riot of Violence", "When the Sun Burns Red", or some other timeless wonder. The newer material is executed well, but it would have been more effective if consigned to deeper in the playlist.

That said, the band do actually incorporate a lot of their earlier material: "Extreme Aggression", "People of the Lie", "Pleasure to Kill", "Terrible Certainty", "Riot of Violence", "Coma of Souls", "Terror Zone", "Betrayer", "Under the Guillotine", "Awakening the Gods", "Flag of Hate" and "Tormentor" all show up here, and almost without exception, they represent the more virile and energetic portion of the set, with the crowds getting wild in response. "Flag of Hate" and "Riot of Violence" are particularly awesome. But they also tour their later discography, beginning with "Renewal" from the album of the same title, which is fun enough here. "Lost" from Cause for Conflict also generates a positive response, and Outcast is given good representation through "Phobia", "Leave This World Behind", and the subdued "Black Sunrise", which offers the listener and the original audience some breathing room.

Only "Golden Age" has been included from Endorama, and that's probably for the best, with two more Violent Revolution tracks rounding out the affair: "Servant in Heaven - King in Hell" and "All of the Same Blood". The audio throughout is incredibly clear, with punchy guitars and Mille sounding like a pro regardless if he's barking or singing, and it serves to equalize the vast mix of dynamics in the material. There is certainly the feel of something 'missing' here, which is always to be expected when you're wishing certain tracks to be included, and I would have definitely appreciated more Terrible Certainty music and "When the Sun Burns Red", but as the closing of a chapter (far brighter things were to come with Enemy of God and Hordes of Chaos), it does its duty. I would also point out that the limited edition of this release is the better format, it includes the Revisioned Glory DVD, which I was foolish enough to miss out on. So if you can find that, and it's affordable, there would be more impetus to actually make the purchase. As it stands, Live Kreation is a truly solid live album, but nothing exceedingly special.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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