Sunday, January 23, 2022

Kreator - Bootleg Revolution (2022)

If you take a look back at the last few year of Kreator's output, there have been more than a couple live offerings, one might even say an 'oversaturation' of such releases. But the Germans tend to avoid the heat on this since most of them are magazine exclusives or other rarities and not exactly proper curated live records. Such is also the case for this new Bootleg Revolution, a collection of international bootleg recordings that come alongside the new 20th Anniversary of the Violent Revolution album. Was that album such a big deal that it needs a 20th Anniversary Edition? I'll leave that for you to decide, I think it's a fine album but not high on the importance or influence ladder of their discography. But hey, if you don't own the original, here's your chance to get a deluxe version with a lot more material on it, on physical or digital media.

But how about these bootlegs? I was curious because some of them are recorded in Korea, and you don't often hear a live metal recording from that area. The rest are in Brazil, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Germany, so it's not like they're including a tune per country. This also includes material from across their career, whereas I would have figured it would be largely drawn from the album celebrating its 20th Anniversary, and a number of the tracks are repeated in several sets. That being said, the sound quality is pretty good, with the guitars forming a brigade of pulverizing clarity, and Mille sounding aggressive on top. It's also consistent across several of the countries, namely Korea and Wacken and Waldrock fests, so the vast majority of the tunes sound excellent. The exception is Istanbul, where it actually sounds a lot rougher and more like a proper bootleg recording from...years ago, but it's at least not totally awful or I'd imagine the band wouldn't have included it.

The live setting here is a nice equalizer for various phases of their career, so for instance a track like "Phobia" with its hardcore-inflected style sounds pretty good alongside standards like "People of the Lie", "Flag of Hate", or "Extreme Aggression". This is especially true of old tunes like "Tormentor" which seem to get a lot of benefit out of the performance, almost an on-stage modernization that feels a lot less crude than the original recordings. The notes and riffs haven't changed, it's just a matter of leveling it all out and sticking it in the set with more complex tracks. I can't say that Bootleg Revolution offers you as consistent as experience as 2020's London Apocalypticon - Live at the Roundhouse, but if you're getting it alongside the new version of the studio album, or as a cheap download, it's decent if plagued with the redundancies. So, hey,'s been about five years since your last new album, about the same amount of time that passed between Phantom Antichrist and Gods of Violence. Now that you've gotten all these live releases and the kompilation out of your systems...can we has a new one?

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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