Kreator are one of the big four bands of German thrash metal who first formed in 1982. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mille Petroza is the only constant member of the band, however drummer Jurgen Reil is also an original member but was out of the band from 1994 to 1996. Completing the current line-up is lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio who has been with the band since 2001 and bassist Frederic Leclerq who joined in 2019.
As previously stated, Kreator make up part of what is considered the big four of Teutonic thrash metal along with Destruction, Sodom, and Tankard, essentially the German equivalent to the American big four of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. However, unlike the American bands who have enjoyed more mainstream success, Kreator and their counterparts have remained generally more underground, playing a style of thrash that borders on the more extreme styles such as death and black metal.
The band have released fourteen studio albums in addition to numerous other releases and compilations. Their second album Pleasure to Kill which was released in the year 1986, the same year as Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Slayer’s Reign in Blood is considered to be highly influential within the thrash genre. They have also had several other highly acclaimed albums and still to this day continue to be a popular and successful metal act. They are also one of the biggest selling European metal bands, having shifted over two million units over the course of their career.
# 10 – Violent Revolution
Kicking off the list is the title track from the band’s tenth album released in 2001. The album saw the band return to their thrash roots after going through an experimental phase throughout most of the nineties. It was Sami Yli-Sirnio’s debut with the band, and the return to their old-style sound was a very welcome one indeed. At the turn of the millennium, many of the thrash bands were either getting back together or returning to their roots, and Kreator were no exception.
# 9 – Endorama
Next is the title track from the band’s ninth album released in 1999. This is the album in the band’s catalogue where the gothic influences are most prominent, with this track featuring guest vocals from Tilo Wolf, frontman of German goth duo Lacrimosa. This album was the last to feature Tommy Verterlli on guitar before he was replaced by Yli-Sirnio. This track sounds almost like a heavier version of bands such as Sisters of Mercy.
# 8 – Nonconformist
This track is from the band’s eighth album released in 1997. This album saw Kreator at their most industrial and least thrash-sounding. It is then somewhat ironic that it is the record that saw the return of drummer Jurgen Reil, who had been in the band during their late eighties/ early nineties thrash heyday. It is also the album to mark the debut of Vertelli who is also known as being the guitarist for Coroner.
# 7 – Lost
Here is a song that was released as a single from the band’s seventh album Cause for Conflict in 1995. This is yet another of Kreator’s experimental albums which continues with the sound that was introduced on their previous album Renewal. However, it did bring back some of the thrash elements. This album is notable as being the only one in the group’s discography not to feature Reil on drums, with Joe Cangelosi taking his place instead.
# 6 – Karmic Wheel
Here is a track taken from 1992’s Renewal, the album that marked the start of the band’s experimental era in the sense that it was their first to include elements of industrial music and not to be a full-on thrash album. This was also the last album to feature original bassist Rob Fioretti. This track, which is clearly influenced by the then very-popular sounds of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, contains samples from the televised suicide of American politician R Budd Dwyer.
# 5 – People of the Lie
This track is from 1990’s Coma of Souls which was the last album of the band’s original thrash period before they started on their experimental era. It was also the debut of guitarist Frank Gosdzik who had formerly played in another of the crucial German thrash bands Sodom. The album was their last major label release on Epic Records and charted at number eighty-three on the German album charts.
# 4 – Betrayer
Here we have one of the band’s best-known songs taken from 1989’s Extreme Aggression. The promo video for this track received heavy rotation on MTV which managed to get the band’s name more known in the US. To this day, this album and song are regarded as classic Kreator as well as general classics within the thrash genre. It was very well received upon its release, with many critics saying that the band made the album live up to its name with the aggressive and heavy style.
# 3 – Terrible Certainty
This is the title track of the band’s third album released in 1987. This album is very much the overlooked entry of the band’s early thrash years, having not made as much of an impact on the thrash metal scene as the albums that became before and after it. However, the album is an underrated gem and this track is a prime example of how the band were producing top quality thrash that was pushing the boundaries of how heavy the genre could be.
# 2 – Riot of Violence
And here we have a track of the band’s classic second album relased in 1986. This year was very crucial for the thrash genre, with this album being one of the many classics released along with Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Slayer’s Reign in Blood and Megadeth’s Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? The album is considered to have been particularly influential on the death metal genre, with bands such as Cannibal Corpse citing it as an influence and Napalm Death covering this track on their 2004 covers album Leaders not Followers Part 2.
# 1 – Endless Pain
At the number one spot is the title track from the band’s 1985 debut of which it is the opening track. As well as thrash, this album also contains elements of black metal which made Kreator a contemporary of other bands who were around at the time such as Venom, Mercyful Fate and Bathory. Another notable thing about this album is that Petrozza shares vocals with Reil. This track was covered by Cannibal Corpse in 2003 for their 15 Year Killing Spree box set.