On face value, or at least ear value, there’s a lot to like about Kreator‘s latest rip-roaring bout of unreconstructed thrash, Hate Über Alles. But it doesn’t take much scratching at the shiny veneer they’ve erm, kreated, to satisfy oneself that there’s not actually a whole lot going on to get excited about anymore as far as Mille Petrozza and company are concerned.

In the late eighties, Kreator were truly important; when that importance waned they took their future into thir own hands and experimented, the result being an album I personally loved – Renewal – but which damn nearly killed them commercially and in the eyes of many of their longstanding fans.

In 2022 the band’s importance isn’t really hear or there – but the quality of the music they release is, however many people are listening, and, frankly, lightweight fluff like Strongest of the Strong isn’t really up to snuff when measured up against the band’s best work. The title track and the almost-spiteful Killer of Jesus pull the right shapes early, but you have to wait until track eight, the beguiling Midnight Sun, until the band present something that kommitted kreationists can really get their incisors into.

This track once again sees the band willing to chance their arms a little, employing female vocals for the first time; not only that – they employ them very well indeed, with Sofia Portanet‘s contribution to the track being the sole most attractive thing about HÜA overall.

But before that you’ve had to endure Become Immortal, which is essentially HammerFall with grumpy vocals, and whilst there isn’t anything essentially wrong with that concept, it’s probably a concept worth exploring outside of the purview of a name like Kreator and all that represents…

So where to now for Kreator? To create albums as comfortable as this, happy to sink into the morass of Euro melodeath, or to once again seek to exist on the cutting edge of the genre? I know which path I’d prefer them to take – but I’m not holding my breath after living with this album for a while…

Hate Über Alles releases on June 10th.