Josh Hart of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Mille Petrozza of German thrash metal veterans KREATOR. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GuitarWorld.com: On [2009's] "Hordes Of Chaos", you took a very old-school approach to recording. Did you approach the new album ["Phantom Antichrist"] similarly?
Mille: We did a lot of analog stuff on the new record and a lot of vintage equipment. Jens Bogren, our producer, has a lot of goodies in his studio and we definitely used a lot of ancient, very cool-sounding equipment. And also, it was very important that we recorded the album in one room as a band, just like on "Hordes Of Chaos". It was the same kind of recording procedure, but instead of using all of the basic tracks — including guitars — we only ended up using the bass and the drums tracks, and then went on to do overdubs for the lead and rhythm guitars, which he hadn't done on "Hordes Of Chaos". On that album you hear all the rhythm guitars record live and this time we recorded the bass and drums live, all in one room recording. It definitely had the same vibe to it.
GuitarWorld.com: All of the signature KREATOR lyrical themes are present on this album, but one has to ask: What is a "phantom antichrist"?
Mille: The title came from a radio program I was listening to in Germany where they were talking about how Osama Bin Laden got killed and then thrown into the ocean — for religious religions. And there is no such thing as a sea burial in the Muslim religion, as far as I know. And that's where I got the inspiration for the title from. But the song itself isn't really a political thing. It's more about a force that comes to earth, destroys all life and a new beginning starts with a new consciousness. The thing could be really anything. It's a metaphor for a very, very brutal force that could be destructive but creative too. Basically, what it's about — and what this album is about — is mass media manipulation. There's a lot of lyrical variety on the album. You, of course, get the KREATOR treatment where I talk about politics — sometimes — but not in the sense of preaching politics, because I'm not a fan of that. I write songs that are more inspired by political issues rather than talking about my opinion, because politics are boring in my opinion. But there's a lot of injustice and a lot of oppression, which is being supported by certain politicians and governments. That's something KREATOR has been writing about forever and it's always going to be a part of our lyrical themes. You can find anything from fiction to personal stuff to more social issues ... like I said, the full KREATOR treatment.
GuitarWorld.com: I know "progressive" can sometimes be a dirty word, but I can't help but notice that the new album pushes into some new territory for KREATOR. Would you agree there are some progressive elements present?
Mille: Not in the sense of DREAM THEATER progressive. [laughs] Progressive in the sense of longer songs, yes. Progressive for the sake of being progressive, no. Because that's what I don't like about a lot of bands. I'm a big RUSH fan, but I think RUSH songs — especially the early albums — definitely has a soul to it. It's progressive music, but it's a good song. If anything we've been influenced by band like RUSH more than bands like DREAM THEATER, with only the technical stuff. The album definitely has some progressive moments, but not in any technically, showing-off way. More of adding to the song.
GuitarWorld.com: For the B-side to the single version of "Phantom Antichrist" you included a cover of IRON MAIDEN's "The Number of the Beast". How did you go about putting your own stamp on such a classic song?
Mille: We got asked to do a cover version for a magazine. They were doing a tribute to "The Number Of The Beast" and asked if we would like to do the title track. I don't know what happened to that, it kind of fell apart, I think. At least we never heard back from them. We were very concerned, because there are some songs that you should not cover, that you shouldn't try to put your own stamp on. Let me put it this way: It's really not necessary to cover a song sometimes. In my opinion, the IRON MAIDEN version of "The Number Of The Beast" Is perfect how it is, and it's very hard to make a perfect song more perfect. Like you said, the trick is to put your own stamp on it and make it ... not your own song, but make it sound like KREATOR playing it. I think we managed to do that. I can you definitely hear that it's KREATOR playing IRON MAIDEN instead of KREATOR trying to be IRON MAIDEN, if you know what I mean.
Read the entire interview from GuitarWorld.com.
"Phantom Antichrist" (song) video:
"Phantom Antichrist" album artwork:
Photo by Stefan Heilemann of Heilemania