More than three decades into a career, it would be easy for a band to rest on its laurels, phone it in, and live on past glory and reputation. But that's not how Kreator are wired. The Teutonic thrash titans don't take anything for granted, striving to release new material that's worthy to stand alongside their impressive body of past work. And that's exactly what they have done with their latest album Gods of Violence.

It's amazing how many '80s thrash bands are still around today and releasing well-received albums. In 2016 alone there were excellent new releases from Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Death Angel, Sodom, Destruction and others. Kreator are continuing that momentum into 2017.

After a short cinematic intro track, Gods Of Violence's first proper song is “World War Now,” which begins with an uptempo dose of old school thrash with galloping riffs and thundering drums from Ventor. It eases back into a more moderate pace and a memorable chorus.

When it comes to pacing, Kreator realize you don't have to play at a thousand miles per hour all the time. They are fully capable of a bludgeoning thrash attack with screaming solos and no restraint, but also dial it back when needed into a moderate groove, which gives the album a lot of texture and variety.

That's exemplified on the title track, which has an acoustic intro with some Middle Eastern flavor before the thrash kicks in. There's a killer guitar solo as well, with Mille Petrozza and Sammi Yi-Sirnio bringing a high level of musicianship throughout the whole record.

Petrozza's vocals are edgy, whether he's delivering harsh thrash style barks or singing melodically. Some may find the repetitive melodic chorus of “Satan Is Real” to be ominous, but even if you find it cheesy, Petrozza's delivery is convincing.

“Lion With Eagles Wings” is the album's most dynamic composition, moving from a mellow intro to a blazing thrash section to a melodic groove and back again. The album closes with the impressive “Death Becomes My Light,” an epic seven-plus-minute track with both subtle and soaring moments and even a hint of prog.

It had been nearly five years since Kreator's last studio album, and even though there have been a couple live albums and a compilation released since then, fans have been hungry for new material. It was worth the wait, as Gods of Violence adds to their long and successful legacy, and Kreator remain a vital and relevant musical force.

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