Back in 1985, a trio of thrashing teenage maniacs from Essen, Germany would leave an indelible mark on the thrash metal genre with their debut “Endless Pain.” Their goal for this album was to create something savage, brutal, and intense. I find it even more charming that according to the liner notes, Mille and the gang weren't 18 years-old yet or even had drivers licenses yet, and needed to convince their teachers that recording an album was more important than tests.
Even though they'd outdo themselves in their sophomore effort “Pleasure to Kill,” their debut is by no means a tepid heavy metal album. This album, aside from being a landmark in German thrash metal, would also start Kreator's run of great albums that lasted until 1990.
The musicianship in this album is perfect for the type of nefarious thrash Mille Petrozza and his buddies seek to crank out. Each musicians' skills with their instruments needs a little refinement, but you can hear and feel the heavy metal spirit oozing out of their efforts, and boy does it sound awesome. There's certainly traces of influence from Mercyful Fate's most vicious songs on here, but as a whole, sound faster with rough proto-death metal growls.
Mille Petrozza does all the guitar and vocal work on this album. Some of his best guitar riffs are in the songs “Storm of the Beast,” “Endless Pain,” “Song of Evil,” and “Tormentor” among others. His solos aren't very neat or technical, but they perfectly match the unhinged, violent nature of the music in display. His vocals are equally vicious. I think some of Petrozza's most vicious vocals are on “Total Death” and “Flag of Hate.”
Rob's basslines again, aren't as prominent like what you'd hear in an Iron Maiden or Watchtower album, but you can certainly notice them in most of the songs. They do a great job in cementing the nefarious guitar riffs and adding the absolutely critical heaviness.
Ventor does all the drum work and vocal work, too. I assume Ventor does the main vocals on the odd-numbered tracks while Mille does the main vocals with the even-numbered tracks. Ventor's drum work needs a little refinement, but like Petrozza's guitar riffs, he can dish out some awesome thrash beats that add a “fast” sensation to the guitars and bass. I think among the songs on this album, Ventor's drums in the songs “Tormentor” and “Bonebreaker” are some of the most notable and most awesome.
All of the songs are at least good, while most others are great. I think some of the best songs on this album are “Tormentor,” “Endless Pain,” “Storm of the Beast,” “Son of Evil,” “Flag of Hate,” “Bonebreaker,” and “Dying Victims.” “Dying Victims” is a pretty unique song on this album because while many of the others on this album are fast and furious, this one has a really strong feeling of “evil” and “darkness” oozing out of this one, though it's still a monstrous thrashing beast. “Storm of the Beast” is probably the most dynamic song on this album, as it seems to have the most musical ideas in this one, and it also features some of Ventor's best vocals on this album (not to mention that it's a vicious thrasher). I think it's safe to say that “Flag of Hate” should be a thrash battle anthem, since that song evokes perfect images of a nefarious waring nation waving their flags while invading enemy territory. “Son of Evil” is loaded with intense, galloping thrash riffs and loaded with creepy atmosphere, and is perfect headbanging material. “Bonebreaker” probably has the most steadily violent riffage in the whole album, and if the other tracks for some odd reason don't make you bang your head as if up from the dead, this one surely will. I can keep going, but I think I've made my point.
Most (if not all) of the North American re-issues of this album from 2000 onward include the “End of the World” demo from when Kreator was known as Tormentor. This includes a song the band never re-recorded called “Armies of Hell,” which is a really solid song, which makes me puzzled why the band never gave it any attention in the future. This also includes rough, early versions of “Cry War,” “Tormentor,” and “Bonebreaker.” These songs, aside from sounding sloppier and more crude due to the grimy sound quality, also feature Mille doing higher-pitched shrieks similar to King Diamond of Mercyful Fate fame. This demo is a neat bonus, and if you're a person like me, who likes to listen to a band evolve from demos to albums, this is a treat (and a great musical complement to the album material).
The production of this album is perfect for a debut thrash album by a bunch of angry teenagers. All the instruments and vocals come in pretty clearly, but at the same time, there's a air of grittiness to the sound quality that really enhances the vicious atmosphere oozing throughout this album.
If you love vicious, unhinged Teutonic thrash metal, then Kreator's debut is a must have. If you enjoyed this album, here's some other thrash/proto-death/black metal albums that have that “nefarious” edge to them that this album has.
Morbid Saint: Spectrum of Death Sodom: Persecution Mania Sadus: Chemical Exposure Bathory: S/T Sepultura: Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation
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David Kozak (RabidChihuahua)
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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Includes 3 bonus tracks from FLAG OF HATE. Kreator includes: Mille (vocals, guitar); Ventor (vocals, drums); Rob (bass). Recorded at CEAT Studios, Berlin, Germany in March 1985. Includes liner notes by Mille Petrozza. All tracks have been digitally remastered. ENDLESS PAIN, released in 1985, planted the seed for Kreator's twenty-year career. This remastered edition of their debut album hints at how the band's intense thrash sound would develop, and features "Armies of Hell," "Tormentor," "Cry War," and "Bonebreaker" as bonus demo tracks. Import from the Netherlands. Four bonus tracks. Song List: Disc 1 1. Endless Pain 2. Total Death 3. Storm of the Beast 4. Tormentor 5. Son of Evil 6. Flag of Hate 7. Cry War 8. Bonebreaker 9. Living in Fear 10. Dying Victims 11. Armies of Hell (Demo) 12. Tormentor (Demo) 13. Cry War (Demo) 14. Bonebreaker (Demo)