KREATOR — Coma of Souls (review)

KREATOR — Coma of Souls album cover Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Coma of Souls" is the 5th full-length studio album by German thrash metal act Kreator. The album was released through Noise Records in November 1990. Kreator were at the peak of their popularity at this point, having released the very successful "Extreme Aggression" in 1989 and the equally successful concert video "Live in East Berlin" in early 1990. Since the preceding studio album Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik has replaced Jörg Trzebiatowski on guitars. "Blackfire" came from a stint with Sodom, and is also featured on the "Live in East Berlin" video. No less than 5 promotional videos were released for tracks featured on "Coma of Souls". Kreator obviously must have been satisfied with the sound production on "Extreme Aggression (1989)", because they opted to record "Coma of Souls" in Los Angeles with producer Randy Burns, which was also the case with the predecessor.

And there are quite a few similarities between the two albums. The way the tracks are constructed and especially the sound productions feature many similarities (although more polished on "Coma of Souls"). "Coma of Souls" is the more sophisticated release and "Extreme Aggression (1989)" is the more raw and aggressive album of the two, but it´s not completely wrong to call them sibling albums.

The music style is aggressive yet melodic thrash metal. The flair for melody had already surfaced on "Extreme Aggression (1989)" albeit in smaller doses than the case is here. The material are generally catchy, relatively easy to understand without being simple, and well written. Tracks like "When the Sun Burns Red", the title track, "People of the Lie" and especially "Terrorzone" stand out as highlights, but "Coma of Souls" is overall a very solid effort by Kreator. The band´s vicious aggressive nature may have been tamed a bit in favor of more melody and sophistication in the arrangements, but "Coma of Souls" is still a relatively aggressive album.

The musicianship are generally on a high level, with some strong solos and riffs being played and some convincing aggressive rabid dog snarling delivered by Miland "Mille" Petrozza. Drummer Jürgen "Ventor" Reil is like an elephant in a glasshouse though. His playing style is so predictable, "stiff" and clumsy, that it´s at times bordering comical. It´s tolerable because the rest of the music is so well played, but he doesn´t add anything positive to the sound.

Despite that little issue "Coma of Souls" is overall a high quality release by Kreator, and while I personally prefer the more savage aggression of "Extreme Aggression (1989)" to the more sophisticated and polished sound of "Coma of Souls", the latter still deserves a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating.
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