German thrash titans Kreator released their first four records — long considered classics in Kreator’s extensive catalogue — through Noise Records, who also released albums from the likes of Hellhammer, Helloween, Bathory and Voivod.
Noise Records went defunct about a decade ago, and the four Kreator albums — Endless Pain, Pleasure to Kill, Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression — never saw a reissue, until now.
BMG has just reissued remastered and expanded versions of the albums, and Decibel teamed up with Kreator — who headlined this year’s Decibel Magazine Tour with Obituary — to give away test pressings of the albums.
One lucky person will win one test pressing of each record. To enter, just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Kreator” and answer this trivia question: What was the band’s name before it was Kreator?
To hear more about the reissues, plus memories from recording and Kreator’s early North American tours, keep reading for an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mille Petrozza.
If you don’t want to leave getting those reissues up to luck, you can order the albums here.
You’re having a really big year. You put out Gods of VIolence, you headlined the Decibel Magazine Tour, you did the Flexi Series entry and now you’re reissuing these classic four albums. How’s it feel to be a band that’s so far into your career and still doing all this?
I wanted to do the reissues for many years but there were problems with the record company that was supposed to put them out. First off, the records got sold to Universal, then all of a sudden they went back to another record company, and now finally with BMG, it’s finally worked. This has been in the making for almost seven or eight years.
Sometimes when I talk to fans, they tell me they cannot find the vinyl versions of our classic albums, of all the stuff that was put out on Noise Records, because they’re out of print, so that was something that I wanted to do for a long time.
How does it feel to be so busy? Yeah, it feels busy. [laughs] But it’s fun, it’s hard work, it’s something to do that I love. I really like coming up with all these concepts for the reissues and writing new music, going on tour. It’s part of the whole life as a musician, I guess.
We just try to come up with quality records. The fact that we have been playing music for so long… there are some bands that get tired over the years but we don’t. We try to write great songs. We love metal and that’s the whole thing. You can hear that in our music.
Today Kreator put out a music video for “Pleasure to Kill” to celebrate the reissues. Is it hard for you to come up with a concept for a music video for a song you put out so long ago?
That was a no brainer, really. BMG was talking about putting out a lyric video and I was like “It’s not enough. It doesn’t do the song justice. The lyrics are very basic — it’s about a guy who runs around with a chainsaw killing people coming from a cemetery, and that’s what we filmed. It was the whole storyline. It’s kind of mixed with old footage from back when we started, around the time when we were writing the album. Very young teenage days. The whole concept is to revisit the 80’s with this whole video: bad quality, corny, trashy storyline.
What’s it like to look back on these classic albums now? Are you still proud of the records and proud of what you put out?
That was the danger — if you do remasters, you mess with the sound a little bit and I was really worried when we touched these old recordings and remastered them that something gets lost. I think what the remaster did for all four albums — we worked with this great guy who also worked for Black Sabbath’s remastering, he knew exactly what he was doing — and I think when I listen to the remasters, it was like listening to something I had listened to many times before in my past when I wrote the album, when I recorded the album and of course here and there when I had to learn some of the old songs.
The remasters came out so good that I hear things that I haven’t heard in the music. That was a trip. There were so many things I totally forgot about.
Am I proud? I don’t know. I’m definitely happy that I’ve done the records and I’m happy that we made so many people happy with these records and I’m happy that we’re still here talking and I still have the energy to go out and play for the people, and the metal community has grown since the 80’s. The metal community has become a lot bigger... Usually, I don’t look back. I always try to plan the future, write new music and never look back too hard. Some people, they get stuck in the 80’s so to speak and I know some people who say the 80’s were the best days.
Yeah, they were good but now is also good. Now is even better, since we can look back on the history like that plus come up with new stuff. To me, these albums are a part of Kreator’s history and I’m happy that they turned out the way they did. I can honestly say that this goes way beyond my expectations.
How are these records different, other than the remastering? The packaging, or what’s included, and how much of that was Kreator’s input?
It’s a thin line between something that’s not cool and something that’s very authentic without destroying the old vibe. So my idea was to give the younger fans who weren’t around back then a feel for what it was like… how the scene looked when we started Kreator. There was a lot of tape trading, actual mail. We wrote letters to fans in Brazil, in the U.S., Belgium, Holland, Denmark, everywhere in the world. We suddenly figured out “There’s more people out there like us. There’s more people into metal. There’s more people doing the same thing as we do.”
It just wasn’t as connected as it is nowadays. It was an effort to write somebody a handwritten letter and bring it to the mail. We wanted to capture that and put it in the artwork. The second thing that was important to me was the person who writes liner notes has been around back in the day.
We took it kind of serious. We wanted this to be a celebration of the old days without being too nostalgic about it.
You said when you were doing the interviews about the liner notes, you were talking about some old anecdotes and some memories. Do you have anything from those albums that really sticks out in your memory?
Many things. Meeting people — pen pals — for the first time. I remember when we went overseas, we were going out with Voivod. They had invited us for a six-week tour in the U.S. and Canada. The first two nights we were staying in Montreal and we played two headlining shows without Voivod, and for that we met some friends, the old Canadians Slaughter and they took care of us. They showed us around, they gave us magic mushrooms, the whole deal. So for us, being teenagers from Essen, Germany who had never left Germany… We never went overseas. That was a trip.
The first time we figured out there was an audience there that wants to see us live. The first time we realized that our music means something to people. Those are the memories that you never forget, that are always with you.
I don’t take this for granted. I know where we come from, I will never forget that. We come from the underground scene and we still are a part of the underground scene and I think it’s great to be here still.