What used to be seen as major releases back in the ’70s and ’80s, live albums these days tend to be regarded more as a contractual obligation by many – interim releases largely of interest to those who either attended the actual show or saw the band on that particular tour.
Before subjects such as sound quality or studio overdubs even get to rear their heads, the success or failure of a live record can often be attributed simply to the calibre of the setlist. And this is where London Apocalypticon (Nuclear Blast Records), the new live document by German thrashers Kreator should definitely come out a winner. After the usual taped introduction of ‘Choir of the Damned’ subsides, a brutal selection of bloody violence smashes into your ears with maximum prejudice and, of course, extreme aggression.
With the drums pounding relentlessly upfront in the mix, frontman Mille Petrozza sounds like a man possessed on ‘Enemy of God’, not letting up for a second with the likes of ‘Hail to the Hordes’, and a furious version of ‘Awakening of the Gods’ complete with “eins, zwei, drei, vier” count-in, and a dedication to “all the old school metal people”.
‘People of the Lie’ is followed by newer classics such as ‘Gods of Violence’, ‘Satan is Real’, ‘Phantom Antichrist’, and ‘Fallen Brother’ (dedicated to memory of Lemmy, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, Dimebag Darrell, and Vinnie Paul), before returning to the old school by raising the ‘Flag of Hate’ in particularly venomous style. ‘Hordes of Chaos’ and a thumping ‘Violent Revolution’ are followed by crowd-pleasing set closer ‘Pleasure to Kill’ played with such energy and viciousness that you could be forgiven for thinking the band had only just taken the stage.
With the crowd mixed at a sensible level, London Apocalypticon (recorded at The Roundhouse, Camden Town in December 2018) sounds every bit like a proper live album should. The guitars sound sharp without being too clean, the vocals take centre stage along with the drums, and the bass thrums and pulses in the background. And the quality of music in general? Well, it’s Kreator. It’s hardly going to be shit now, is it?
8 / 10