Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
Noise Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (38:42)
Release year: 1986
Kreator, Noise Records
Reviewed by Bar

If a classic can be measured in influence, then there are few albums more worthy of that title than Pleasure to Kill. Let me set the scene for you – it was late November, 1986. To suggest it had been a landmark year for extreme metal would be something of an understatement. As a matter of fact, in the preceding eleven months Thrash Metal had developed into a new, more advanced sort of beast. The American scene had seen extensive development in the areas of technicality and brutality, thanks in large part to such bands as Metallica, Dark Angel and Slayer. The German Thrash scene, however, with its uniquely forceful approach, was by no means about to be rendered redundant. As it turned out, future legends Kreator had a hell of an ace in the hole that would prove to be an enormous influence on the various forms of extreme metal that were yet to come.

That influence is obvious the moment first track proper Ripping Corpse hits your ears, because retrospectively the Proto-Death Metal qualities of the track are plain to see. From the first note until the last, heavily down-tuned guitars tear rhythmically through borderline atonal riffs, over drums pounded furiously at a pace that never relents for a second and as far as inspiration for early Death Metal bands goes, Ripping Corpse is amongst the most vital tracks ever recorded. The furious pace set on this track isn't a one-off either, it barely lets up all the way through to the last song. So fast is the tempo across the album that almost every single riff must be tremolo picked by necessity, which might seem completely typical today but this sort of execution was hardly a standard in 1986. As a general rule, the band members seemed to focus on speed over precision and this resulted in a somewhat sloppy, incredibly raw sound. This kind of approach was not only adopted by Death Metal bands, but to some extent was also implemented by practitioners of the only just burgeoning Black Metal scene. Don’t get me wrong, Pleasure to Kill is still very much Thrash, particularly with regards to the way the riffs are constructed. It stays firmly in the realm of ‘proto’ as far as Death Metal is concerned, but the effect on future generations is undeniable.

Of course, none of these things would have had any impact if the song writing wasn’t up to par but by now we all know that wasn’t the case. Besides the afore-mentioned Ripping Corpse, the album presents a cavalcade of Thrash classics and mainstays. The title track is a barnstormer, with Mille’s vocals sounding like pure vitriol as they’re spewed over one of the most powerful Thrash riffs ever. Ventor’s drums, particularly in the pre-chorus, are as intense as metal drumming can get without the use of blast beats. The song also features a memorable mid-paced section that helps to add a little compositional flourish. Riot of Violence takes the intensity down a notch, but is a classic track none the less. The main riffs are catchy as hell, and more technical than anything else on the album, while Ventor provides the vocals and does a great job of making you want to sing along during that chorus. Under the Guillotine is one of the best album closers I can think of. There are more tempo changes here than in some of the other tracks, which helps to end the album on a memorable note, and for once the solos here finally seem to have a little precision to them which is a sign of great things to come later in Kreator’s discography.

In a German scene already well reputed for for balls-out, no nonsense Thrash Metal, Pleasure to Kill took sheer aggression to a whole new level. Although Kreator were by no means the first band to put the Teutonic scene on the map, they were far and away the most extreme at that time. It was an album with so much raw force and hostility, it was almost like a challenge for their European contemporaries to attempt to match. This, in turn, helped give way to new breeds of ever more violent and cathartic forms of metallic art. Kreator would go on to record better, more refined albums but the historic worth of this effort can never be fully measured.

Killing Songs :
Ripping Corpse, Pleasure to Kill, Riot of Violence, Command of the Blade, Under the Guillotine
Bar quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Kreator that we have reviewed:
Kreator - Coma of Souls reviewed by Bar and quoted 94 / 100
Kreator - Phantom Antichrist reviewed by Thomas and quoted 90 / 100
Kreator - Terrible Certainty reviewed by Kyle and quoted 95 / 100
Kreator - Hordes of Chaos reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Kreator - Extreme Aggression reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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