2017 promises to be a VERY busy year for KREATOR. First, their brand new and long-awaited album Gods of Violence comes out on January 27 via Nuclear Blast Records. Oh, and THEN they’re taking their vicious brand of Teutonic Thrash Metal all over the world including a spring run here in the U.S. headlining the Decibel Magazine Tour alongside OBITUARY, MIDNIGHT, and HORRENDOUS. When all of this was announced my head exploded, redecorating the walls of my office at A&GS HQ in a lovely shade of brain matter grey. I spent some time with vocalist/guitarist/bandleader Mille Petrozza recently and we chatted about everything brewing in the world of KREATOR. Check it:
Amps: Now, let’s talk about Gods of Violence. Great record, sir! “Army of Storms” is now my ringtone. The pre-chorus on that song is so very melodic yet it doesn’t lose an ounce of heaviness.
Mille: Well, we took some time off to come up with new music and we just didn’t set any boundaries or say, “We can’t do this, we can’t do that.” And we added anything that would make a song stronger musically. Of course some of those songs have a lot of those double and triple guitar harmonies and I think it adds a different dimension to our sound.
Amps: That’s really noticeable in “World War Now” as well.
Mille: What can I say about that song? It’s pretty fast, it has crushing double bass, and it has a very strong chorus. It’s one of my favorites on the record for sure.
Amps: This is album number two with Jens Bogren. You and he seem to really work well together, like you get the best out of each other.
Mille: We click on a personal level. When we met him at first he wasn’t a KREATOR fan. Not that he didn’t like the band, he just wasn’t that aware of us, so he was very critical towards our music. But he’s like that with every band he works with, even the ones he likes. His studio is called Fascination Street because he comes from the goth scene and he’s a big goth rock fan. The first time we worked with him was different because we didn’t really know each other. And then, on this one, the humor was different, the vibe was different, and we had definitely gained more respect for each other. On the first one we were, not stiff, but I’ll say more careful.
Amps: Much like your peers in OVERKILL, TESTAMENT, ACCEPT, EXODUS it seems like you are doing some of your BEST writing at this later stage of your career. Why is that?
Mille: (Pauses for a moment) when you do this for so long sometimes you evolve and your personality changes and you grow as a person. You become aware that you’ve been doing this all your life, not just half your life. When you start out you don’t know how long this is gonna last. In the 90’s there was a time when everyone was trying different things and a lot of bands split up because metal was being ignored by a lot of people, so the scene kind of disappeared for awhile.
Once you become aware of, “OK, this is what I’m doing, nothing else” you want to do it right. I was always taking my music and my art very seriously. But the older you get the better you become as a musician. The songwriting skills change, and it’s always a new challenge to top your previous album, or at least try to make it as exciting. And that was probably always our thing.
Amps: I’ve actually been driving people at my day job nuts singing the chorus of “Satan is Real” since before Christmas with no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Mille: (Laughs) Good, good. Don’t stop, then.
Amps: How excited are you to be headlining this year’s Decibel Magazine Tour here in the U.S.? You’re here in Philly on April 15, Tax Day…I imagine a lot of metalheads will be out blowing off steam after getting screwed by Uncle Sam!
Mille: (Laughing) Oh, tell me about it! But yeah, we’ve never done a proper tour with OBITUARY. We’ve done some festival shows with them and they have always been friends of ours. We’ve seen the birth of OBITUARY in Tampa, FL. We’ve known the guys from way back, so this is gonna be a great tour and so much fun. And also MIDNIGHT and HORRENDOUS are really, really good bands, too.
Amps: Are there plans to film any shows for a possible DVD release in 2018?
Mille: Maybe we’ll do our homecoming show in Essen, Germany at Grugahalle in March. We might film that one, but we haven’t decided on anything yet. It’s an historical place, somewhere THE BEATLES played. One of those places where rock music first happened was in Grugahalle. It’s a magic place, so we might do something there.
Amps: And what about after this Decibel Tour? I imagine all the summer festivals in Europe?
Mille: Yeah, we wanna do some European festivals, then we’ll go to Australia. We might come back to the U.S., you never know?
Amps: What or who are you listening to right now?
Mille: I like a lot of the newer bands. TRIBULATION is one band that I really got into lately. The new METALLICA album (Hardwired… To Self-Destruct) is really good. So is the new TESTAMENT (Brotherhood of the Snake). That’s a really, really good album.
Amps: When you’re not writing and playing head-crushing songs in KREATOR what do you like to do away from music?
Mille: My free time probably doesn’t look much different than anyone’s. I go to the gym, I do yoga, I watch movies. I just saw one that really impressed me, Nocturnal Animals. You should definitely check it out. I read books, you know, typical free time stuff. I go to Barcelona because my girlfriend lives there, so I spend time there on the beach just hanging.
Amps: Back to the guitars on this record. There’s more harmony, but the parts are even more clear and mesh more so than usual, if that makes sense. Was that by design or did it just happen?
Mille: I think that was by accident. We always try to be as clear as possible in our guitar recordings. Maybe it’s the fact that the mastering was done by Jens himself this time. I think he got a lot out of it because he’s very anal. Plus, we wanted them to be as tight as possible.
Amps: The recurring themes of violence and religious fanaticism on Gods of Violence…pretty powerful stuff.
Mille: I would much rather not sing about religion in the year 2017 because I couldn’t care less, really. But it’s a source of inspiration seeing how crazy people become over something that is a fragment of the human imagination. Finding new themes for albums is always tricky because you don’t want to repeat yourself. You want to sing about similar things sure, but from a different point of view some years later. What can you say that makes sense? What can you add? That’s the hardest part to be honest with you, writing the lyrics.
Amps: Why does Germany have the best metal in the world?!?
Mille: (Laughing) I take that as a compliment! I think German Metal has a very unique style. American rock and metal is steeped in the Blues, and German metal is colder. It’s a matter of taste which you prefer. I like all of it, American and German, but German is definitely unique.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the KREATOR fans out there?
Mille: We will come and blow your minds. We are coming to the U.S. for the Decibel Tour and hopefully we see you all there.
For those of you who haven’t heard Gods of Violence yet…get ready, because it is pure Thrash Metal at its finest. And anyone who doesn’t buy a ticket to see KREATOR live, hang your heads, because you will surely be missing out on one of THE most Earth-shaking tours of 2017, mark my words.