"Phantom Antichrist", the new album from German thrash metal veterans KREATOR, sold 3,900 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 130 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at No. 1 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
In Canada, "Phantom Antichrist" came in at No. 128 on the Top 200 Albums chart and at #15 on the Top Hard Music Albums chart. In the band's native Germany, the CD debuted on the German Media Control chart at No. 5.
KREATOR's previous album, "Hordes Of Chaos", sold around 2,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 165 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at No. 7 on the Heatseekers chart.
Released on June 1 in Europe and June 5 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records, "Phantom Antichrist" was recorded at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden with renowned producer Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA, SOILWORK, DEVIN TOWNSEND, AMON AMARTH).
The cover artwork for the standard edition of "Phantom Antichrist" was created by Wes Benscoter (SLAYER, DIO, BLACK SABBATH) and can be seen below.
The limited edition of "Phantom Antichrist" was made available as two-disc digipack, including a bonus DVD.
"Phantom Antichrist" formats:
- Jewel case CD *
- 2LP yellow vinyl *
- 2LP bi-colored vinyl (red/black): limited to 500 copies, hand-numbered *+
- 2LP picture vinyl **
- CD/DVD digi limited edition: 2 digipacks in a slipcase. **
- Limited mailorder edition: metallic box including CD/DVD digi limited edition, T-shirt, exclusive CD "Live In Wacken", poster, signing card, limited to 500 copies, hand-numbered **+
* = Featuring artwork by Wes Benscoter (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER)
** = Featuring artwork by Jan Meininghaus
+ = only available at www.nuclearblast.de/shop
"Phantom Antichrist" track listing:
01. Mars Mantra
02. Phantom Antichrist
03. Death To The World
04. From Flood Into Fire
05. Civilisation Collapse
06. United In Hate
07. The Few, The Proud, The Broken
08. Your Heaven In My Hell
09. Victory Will Come
10. Until Our Paths Cross Again
11. Iron Destiny (Japan exclusive)
Limited-edition bonus DVD:
* Conquerers Of The Ice – The Making Of Phanom Antichrist
* Harvesting The Grapes Of Horror
* Live at Wacken Open Air in 2011 and 2008 (mixed by Klaus Scheuermann, edited by Marcel Schleif and Stephan Lier)
Wacken Open Air 2011:
01. Choir Of The Damned
02. Hordes Of Chaos
03. War Curse
04. Coma Of Souls / Endless Pain
05. Pleasure To Kill
06. Destroy What Destroys You
08. Terrible Certainity / Reconquering The Throne
09. Flag Of Hate / Tormentor
Wacken Open Air 2008:
10. The Patriarch
11. Violent Revolution
12. People Of The Lie
13. Europe After The Pain
The "Phantom Antichrist" video can be seen below. The clip was helmed by Poland's Grupa 13, which has previously worked with BEHEMOTH, ELUVEITIE, SONATA ARCTICA and DECAPITATED, among others.
In a recent interview with Suicide Scriptures, Petrozza stated about "Phantom Antichrist", "We made sure that it contains all the trademarks that we're known for — crushing brutality, riffs that are very hard to play, lyrics that talk about things that I get angry about. You know, the full treatment, basically. We didn't try to do anything different. The only goal that we set for the band was we wanted to top everything that we'd done before and make this record an exciting record. That's always the main goal."
He added, "First off, we don't plan ahead too much. I take a long time to prepare the songs at home, in my little home studio, and then when I feel that have something lyrically and musically that I feel is good and exciting and powerful, then I play it to the other guys and then we discuss it. And we might come up with new ideas or we might arrange the songs differently, or we tear them apart and put them back together. It's a long process. We started this in the beginning of 2011, and we kept writing and rehearsing the songs until January 2012."
Regarding the lyrical themes covered on "Phantom Antichrist", Mille said, "Many things: injustice; the crisis in Greece; me thinking that religion is obsolete now in this day and age; personal things. I think the lyrics for 'From Flood Into Fire', they're very different, but it's very hard for me to explain what it's about. I want people to listen to it and leave room for their own imagination. I go to the movies all the time and I'm a big movie nerd, and I hate watching a 'making-of' [documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage] before I go into a movie. So if I would explain the lyrics right now, [it would lose the magic]."
On the topic of the "Phantom Antichrist" artwork, Mille said, "I got in touch with [artist] Wes Benscoter in the middle of June last year and I gave him a couple of songtitles. And I told him that the album might be called 'Phantom Antichrist'. I already had the idea and I told him what the lyrics were about — it's all about the apocalypse, evil in the world… typical KREATOR topics that I always write about. I think he had 'Pleasure To Kill', and he knew about the band. I liked this AUTOPSY cover that he did, and then I found that he did a lot of great stuff for BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER and many, many bands. . . I talked to one of my colleagues that plays in a German band and he told me that he would draw, with a pencil, artworks and then he would give it to a professional artist. I don't have that much influence on the artwork. I think it's best to give an idea and maybe a title or something, maybe some music even… I think that's more of letting the artist be the artist. He needs to create the visual as we do with the music."
Miland "Mille" Petrozza – Vocals, Guitrar
Sami Yli-Sirniö - Guitar
Christian "Speesy" Giesler - Bass
Jürgen "Ventor" Reil - Drums
"Phantom Antichrist" (song) video:
Photo by Stefan Heilemann of Heilemania