Reviewed: November 1999
Released: 1999, GUN
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Yet another Kreator best-of. What really is the purpose of this? Metal bands should not release best-of albums. Think about it. Best-of compilations are for popular types of music. They are for “artists” that produce hit singles. They are for people who are too blind to realize what good music is and only buy what they hear on the radio (you know, those one or two songs they love oh so much). They are for people that buy CD singles. They are for people who are confused. If a metal brother or sister hears one song he/she really likes, he/she usually buys the CD it’s found on. It’s as simple as that. Even if a quality band like Rush or Van Halen releases a best-of album, chances are fans of the band already have their albums. And those that don’t probably plan on buying them anyway. And now with the internet, you can sample songs from albums, which renders the whole idea of a best-of even more pointless. And besides, each fan has their own idea of what a band’s best songs are. In short, best-of albums are good only if they offer something else, like unreleased songs, extra photos, cool artwork, history of the band…at least something besides previously released album tracks.
Kreator is a band who has gone through different phases. People that like Kreator know which albums to get and which not to. Newcomers to Kreator’s territory need to do research on the band before buying…not just simply picking up a best-of album. Don’t just use the internet for entertainment, use it as a tool! It is the most powerful mechanism to bring unfamiliar music into the homes of everyone across the planet!
So what about this CD? First of all, the title: “A 90s Retrospective”. Obviously there are no early songs present. I guess that’s what the first best-of album (“Scenarios of Violence”) was all about. But if you hold this title literally you would expect “Coma of Souls” tracks to be on here…but they’re not! No, this CD contains one track from 1992’s “Renewal”, four from 1995’s “Cause for Conflict”, five from 1997’s “Outcast”, and three from 1999’s “Endorama”. It is not important which songs were included. What is important, however, are the four rare tracks. Ah! Now we’re getting somewhere! First off is the Andrew Eldritch cover “Lucretia (My Reflection)”. I have no idea who Mr. Eldritch is, but this song sounds like Mille joined Nightingale and cut this song. It has that goth flavor to it, but it still is heavy in parts. This track was apparently released somewhere in 1998 because it’s not listed as a “bonus track”, but I’ve never heard of it. Also included is a Raw Power cover “State Oppression”. This could also be found as a bonus track on “Cause for Conflict”. This song is basically punk and was supposedly unavailable in Europe. The other two unreleased tracks are “Inferno” and “As We Watch the West”, both 1999 recordings. Both tracks are in line with the material on “Outcast” and “Endorama”. “Inferno” is only two and a half minutes long though, and it is rather simple. “As We Watch the West” starts off with piano and Mille’s whisper-like vocals. But later shifts to slow and dark heaviness. The samples used in the song take away form the song rather than adding to it. They shouldn’t have been used. Not the greatest Kreator song, but what the hell. What is interesting though is that there is supposedly a bonus track on the Japanese version of “Outcast” called “As the West Declines”. Although this best-of lists “As We Watch the West” as a 1999 recording, I think it is the same song as “As the West Declines”, not only because I read about this somewhere, but also because Mille sings “as we watch the West decline” and the end of the song.
The only thing that makes this CD worth getting are the bonus tracks, and only of you’re a diehard Kreator fan. There is no killer artwork and basically nothing inside the booklet. It would have been nice to see old and new photos and maybe a summary of what the band went through after “Coma of Souls”. And it would have been cool to see the inclusion of two other Kreator tracks: the Judas Priest cover “Grinder” and the Venom cover “Witching Hour”. Even though the compilation was compiled by Mille, I get the feeling this was something that GUN Records could cash in on. Or maybe Mille wants to fulfill his contract with the label so he can take the band elsewhere. Or maybe it was just a way to get the unreleased songs out there. I’m all for releasing rare material, so I’ll always give two thumbs up to anyone that does.
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