Latest release: Gods of Violence (Nuclear Blast) Website: www.kreator-terrorzone.de
“I love metal!” Mille Petrozza says with a laugh, when asked about his motivation. “It’s really that simple.”
The easy-going musician has led his band Kreator now for almost thirty three years. From the youthful excitement of the 80s where they helped to establish the European extreme metal scene, through the lean years of the 90s when the decline of thrash led to unpopular experimental dalliances and the departure (then subsequent return) of original drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil, back to a revival of fortunes that came with the injection of Finnish string-slinger Sami Yli-Sirniö into the line-up and the release of 2001’s Violent Revolution, Petrozza has seen it all – and just keeps grinding away.
“People say, ‘Once a metalhead, always a metalhead’,” he says. “It’s not the sort of music that became the flavour of the week for a while, and then went away, it’s always been there and always will be.”
While that sentiment is different to argue with, Kreator’s latest album Gods of Violence certainly did become flavour of the week when it was released in January, scoring the highest chart positions in the band’s history, including a staggering #30 placing in Australia and a #1 debut in their homeland. This interview was conducted before the album’s release, but this type of result is a positive reflection on the current state of thrash, with a remarkable hot streak of recent releases from bands in the latter part of their career.
“Some of the old bands have come up with some really cool albums!” Petrozza says with enthusiasm. “This music is still very alive and very vital.”
Gods of Violence is Kreator’s fourteenth studio album, and a very timely one with regard to its overarching theme. The initial idea for the release was an examination of a connection between the ancient gods of mythology and humanity in general but in the conception seems to have taken on something more topical: “The gods of violence could be anyone,” Petrozza warns. “They could be anyone, and if you look around in the world, you will see them.”
Petrozza goes on to explain that, like much extreme metal, Gods of Violence is an exploration of the darker side of human nature through which one can have a better understanding of the world as it is. In that way then, it follows in that proud thrash metal tradition of which Kreator helped lay the foundations.
“I believe in good, and not in the dark world,” he says. “It’s like that yin and yang thing: In order to see the good things, and to see the light, you have to see the bad as well. You have to become aware that there was never a time on Earth when there was world peace. There’s always been wars, always been conflict, at every time on the planet. So saying that these times that we’re living in are the worst, is very pessimistic, and we’re not about that.”
In spite of their dark image and violent themes, Mille Petrozza insists that Kreator is positivity and hope. After living in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, growing up in a country literally divided in two by ideology, Petrozza got to one day see that divide crumble away. In some ways, Kreator is an analogy for those times.
“The main focus (for Kreator) has always been to overcome these things, even though at this point in time there is so much of it, and it’s coming from all over the world, all this weird and dark news and we have so much information these days and all the bad stuff we see everyday should not lead us away from what is important. Enjoy music, enjoy the world, enjoy life for as long as you can. That’s the main message of Gods of Violence, to overcome these things.”