Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kreator - Flag of Hate (1986)

Not long after releasing Pleasure To Kill, Kreator entered the studio again to record the tracks for an E.P. Released on Noise Records, in August 1986, Flag of Hate capitalized on the impact of the first two albums (which were only separated by six months, themselves) and further established Kreator as a force to be reckoned with.

The E.P. begins with a re-recorded version of "Flag of Hate", which originally appeared on Endless Pain. This is a bit heavier, faster and more lethal in its execution, with a major difference being that it is about a minute shorter than the original. This violent track opens this mini-album with violence and fury, a feeling that is present not just in the energy of the music but also in the lyrics.

"...All what we want is to crucify your 'god'..."

The other two songs are quite a bit longer than most Kreator songs, both clocking in around six or seven minutes. "Take Their Lives" begins with a lone thrash riff, slowly joined by the rest of the instruments. This is more mid-paced, with lyrics that seem to tell the tale of a man that has become fed up with his miserable existence, turning his frustration on his own children. Some brilliant melodies come in, after a couple minutes, possessing a real old school feeling. The drum beat matches this sentiment, underneath the solo that follows. This is followed by an epic riff, around 3:40, that shows the genius of this band. This sense of melody is nothing new for the band, just a bit more obvious here. Also worth noting is that Mille's vocals seem to be even more feral on this E.P. This is certainly an epic song, by Kreator's standards.

Flag of Hate concludes with the monstrous song, "Awakening of the Gods". The epic feeling continues during the opening moments of this song, before all Hell breaks loose. There are several riff changes, using a lot of pure thrash riffs for the slower sections. Near the end, the song returns to the opening theme. This is the most interesting riff of the song and it would have been nice to see it developed a little further. This song isn't quite as good as the previous one, as a few ideas could have been expanded while a couple riffs, maybe, could have been excluded. All in all, this is a very memorable song and a good way to close the E.P.

This E.P. represents the end of the first era of Kreator, as the following album has more of a streamlined, less brutal approach. The vocals would get a little less harsh, as well. It is kind of amazing to think that Endless Pain, Pleasure To Kill and Flag of Hate were all released in a period of ten months. Kreator seemed to be at their peak of energy and creativity, in those early days.