Latest release: Gods of Violence (Nuclear Blast)Website: www.kreator-terrorzone.de

German thrashers Kreator are making their return to Australian shores in September on the back of their latest album Gods of Violence. We caught up with frontman Mille Petrozza to talk about all things Kreator:

Hi Mille. We’re chatting today because of your upcoming Australian tour. It’s going to be great to have you back.
Oh we’re looking forward to it man. It’s gonna be great. It will be our first tour there in a couple of years. I think the last time we were there was in 12 or 13… it’s been a while.

The latest album has been out for quite a while now and it got some pretty solid responses. What do you think of it yourself, now you’ve had time to look back on it?
When you’re in a band you always say that the last album is your best one, but we have a couple of really great songs on that one. They really worked well, and the way I feel about the album is that it’s hard work coming up with something that excites us and excites our fans as well, but we managed to do it and we really enjoy the fact that all of the songs already in the set list work just as well as all the songs. That tells me that people really enjoy the album, rather than just tolerate it.

When they work into the set alongside stuff that people have known for 20 or 30 years, you know you’ve really hit pay dirt.
Absolutely and I’m so happy with that. It’s the best you can achieve as a musician, being around for so long and people still enjoy your new stuff. It’s great and we don’t take it for granted. And I think that live the songs are even heavier than they are on the record, and people really enjoy it. When we play ‘Satan is Real’, for example, the crowd just goes wild.

You create music for yourself, obviously, but to see so many other people enjoying it as well night after night must be such a great feeling.
Yeah it is, man. When I started the band when I was like 13, 14 years old, I never thought that we would still be around now in 2017. It’s exciting. Everything worked out fine. I am living my dream!

I spoke to Max Cavalera recently and he said that one of the things that he enjoys is that he is constanting learning new things. Do you feel the same way?
He’s absolutely right. It’s not a science – well, it kind of is. You’re trying out new things, and every time you think you’ve tried everything that’s possible as a band, every riff that’s in you, you figure out that once you sit down with your guitar and try to write a new song, you come up with something else. It’s a new interpretation of what you’ve done before. It’s different and with a different vibe. That’s what you learn. Max is absolutely right. Every time you write a new song or play for people, we learn something, and it’s always different. Whether it’s a hall or a festival, seeing people’s faces and making them happy; you’re not only learning about life itself but you learn a lot about yourself, and reflecting on life and enjoying being alive, living in the moment and living with all your senses. It’s the ultimate experience.

Music genres can go in and out of fashion regularly. Thrash came and then seemed to go away and now it’s back again. How do you manage to stick it out?
You can’t think about those things. And I think that me and Max have something in common: we are in it for the music, and there’s so many other musicians that feel the same way. If you’re in it for the music, you can’t go wrong. It’s such a beautiful thing, having that gift to be able to write music. Having that gift to be able to make people happy with what you come up with, and make yourself happy as well. All of us in this band are metalheads, we just love going out there and playing music for other people who are also metal fans. Sharing the music, sharing the experience, sharing the time that we have – life couldn’t be better.

The last time we spoke, we talked about Gods of Violence and you were explaining that even though most of your material seems to be dark and bleak, you actually see it as positive and optimistic.
Oh it’s all positive. It’s all optimistic. I write a song like ‘World War Now’ and all these horrible things, but I write about these negative things in order to deal with it and turn it into some kind of positive energy. That’s how I see the world. You need to create a shell around you to deal with all these things, and I do that through the music, to reflect on my life and get rid of all my negative thoughts. Rather than complaining about how much life sucks, I write a song. It’s that simple.

Thrash has been around for over 30 years now, but just recently it seems to have really come back with a vengeance. What are your thoughts about that?
Oh thrash has always been around, but like anything it comes in waves. Sometimes there’s some great albums coming out, and other times there’s some mediocre ones. I think it’s the energy. Some of the younger bands come out with great riffs, great songs, great albums, and that gives us older bands a kick in the butt to come up with better stuff, heavier stuff. We influence each other, the old generation influencing the younger generation and vice versa. We are feeding off each other. Who would have thought that when we started this, us and all those great metal bands in the 80s, that thrash metal would still be around and stronger than ever? All the old bands are writing great stuff – Exodus, Overkill, Testament, and still keeping the spirit and the spark alive.

It seems to have taken a very long time, but it’s feels that thrash has finally become a more accepted part of music as a whole now.
As much as people didn’t take it seriously in the beginning, it only made the people who were into this kind of music stronger. This is kind of like Fuck Off! music. If you don’t like it, well, whatever. We play this kind of music because it’s in you, not because we have to. And I speak for the whole metal world, not just thrash. Sometimes the only difference between a thrash metal band and another kind of metal band is the energy and the riffing. I think the only difference between Kreator and a band like Iron Maiden is that we use different beats.