Album of the Week 38-2016: Kreator – Endorama


‘Endorama’ is Kreator’s most controversial album for a reason. It’s just not a very good reason. Sure, it’s not the Thrash Metal that the Germans are known for, but flirting with New Wave, Postpunk and early Gothrock influences has made the record unique, both in Kreator’s disography and in the European metal scene. People might think you may have to look for rifs between the atmospherics, but ‘Endorama’ is still very much a guitar driven album. A rather memorable one at that. Only the fact that their masterpiece ‘Coma Of Souls’ was released in 1990 keeps this from being Kreator’s best nineties record.

Maybe the presence of former Coroner guitarist Tommy Vetterli has left people with the wrong expectations. Instead of bringing the complexity of the Swiss geniuses with him, his Kreator debut ‘Outcast’ is the band’s simplest record to date. Here, his influence is most felt in the production. The shoddy industrial leanings of the previous three records are exorcized in favor of a more atmospheric, layered approach that feels a little like what Coroner did on ‘Grin’. The main difference is that ‘Endorama’ borrows from the Goth scene, bringing to mind The Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus and late eighties Killing Joke.

Admittedly, the low budget video of suited-up frontman Mille Petrozza in a nightclub was a little awkward, but ‘Chosen Few’ is actually a really good song. The rhythm may be borrowed from Killing Joke’s ‘Love Like Blood’, but it’s effective. In fact, never before or since has Jürgen ‘Ventor’ Reil’s drum work had so much swing. Petrozza’s surprisingly intimate vocal performance also works wonders. Another highlight is ‘Shadowland’, probably the most “Metal” song on the album. The main theme is excellent and memorable, while the riff work gives the song a vibe somewhat reminiscent of Nevermore.

Easily the most Gothic moment on the record is ‘Passage To Babylon’, with its strong focus on Christian Giesler’s bass line and the piano part. Petrozza’s voice has a somewhat tormented quality, which really adds to the dark atmosphere of the track. The subtle orchestral samples in ‘Everlasting Flame’ are also something that could only appear on this Kreator record. Closing track ‘Tyranny’ improves upon the ‘Outcast’ formula by better dynamics and a really strong melodic theme, while the remarkably upbeat, catchy opener ‘Golden Age’ could at the time have been a minor hit for any band without Kreator’s prominent Thrash Metal history.

While the album does wane a little bit towards the end – ‘Soul Eraser’ and the relatively riffy ‘Pandemonium’ aren’t quite as strong as the rest of the record – and more variation in the tempos may have made it even better, ‘Endorama’ is a record full of well-written songs, strong performances and an excellent production. Petrozza is rightfully still proud of the record. And that’s a good thing, because I hate it when musicians try to cover up their willful experiments. If you’re not a Thrash conservative, give the album a chance. Just forget that the band ever recorded ‘Pleasure To Kill’ and let these amazing songs work their magic. It’s well worthy of your attention.

Recommended tracks: ‘Shadowland’, ‘Chosen Few’, ‘Passage To Babylon’

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