Kreator - Coma of Souls
Noise Records
Technical Thrash Metal
10 songs (44:45)
Release year: 1990
Kreator, Noise Records
Reviewed by Bar
Archive review

In some ways, Coma of Souls is really the zenith of Kreator’s creative development. Now, that might seem like an overly brazen statement in light of the developments their sound has undergone since, but I feel more than justified in saying it. While it’s true that the last two decades of the band’s history have been largely characterized by various developments, I would argue that in amongst the experimentation the intrinsic essence of Kreator was in some cases diluted, and in other cases lost completely. In the early years, however, they always remained firmly within the framework of their core trademark sound, while still managing to exhibit development from album to album. To me, Coma of Souls will always represent the sparkling pinnacle of that development.

Kreator’s first four albums became increasingly more refined, while sacrificing little to none of the manic aggression that made them their name. Coma of Souls was no different. With the meticulous precision and unrelenting fury of Extreme Aggression as a starting point, Kreator crafted by far their most ambitious work to date. Perhaps the most obvious development was with regards to song structure. The tracks featured here are without question the most structurally complex that the band had attempted up to that point. With the average track length creeping ever higher over the last few albums, these songs clearly pack in more riffs than ever before, and you’ll soon find that they are even more intricate than those found on Extreme Aggression. Between the more expansive material there are still a few punchy, old-school numbers that ensure no fan is alienated.

It’s something of a marvel that the band that recorded Endless Pain could have recorded this album a mere five years later. The three original members remain, but their instrumental aptitude has increased tenfold. The once sloppy and out-of-time Kreator of old that got by on little more than the weight of youthful energy is long gone. This is a tight group of musicians, clockwork precise, with a surprising newfound mastery of cadence and expression. The addition of new lead guitarist Frank Blackfire is a revelation. A far cry from the atonal excursions of yesteryear, he contributes elaborate, technical guitar solos that complement the new material and which also stand on their own, providing highlights throughout the record.

A quick glance at the lyric sheet will indicate that the progress was not limited to the sound of the album, either. The words are still pure vitriol, of course, but instead of just outward hatred there is now a shift towards more contemplative topics, both introspective and social. It’s a welcome, thoughtful last touch for an album which does indeed come across more thoughtful than any of their earlier work. And with very little of their characteristic aggression lost by the way side, the result is a true behemoth of an album. It may not be their most iconic, but it makes a strong case for being their most accomplished.

Killing Songs :
When the Sun Burns Red, Coma of Souls, World Beyond, Terror Zone, Agents of Brutality, Material World Paranoia, Twisted Urges
Bar quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Kreator that we have reviewed:
Kreator - Pleasure to Kill reviewed by Bar and quoted CLASSIC
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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