"Dying Alive"

(Nuclear Blast)

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RATING: 9.5/10

Calling anything new an instant classic comes with responsibility, yet in this modern age of uber-hype, the phrase gets used far too often when it comes to entertainment media and even sports. However, Mille Petrozza and KREATOR picked the absolute best time to issue a new live package, "Dying Alive", because this video and audio document from their recent "Phantom Antichrist" tour recorded December 22, 2012 (dubbed "Post Apocalypse Day") in Oberhausen, Germany, in is, well, an instant classic.

Having already released enough live albums in recent years with "Live Kreation/Revisioned Glory" and (in this case, a re-release) "At the Pulse of Kapitulation: Live in East Berlin, 1990", the difference maker with "Dying Alive" comes down to three simple but powerful elements: an immense, sinewy stage set, a rabid throng of German thrash acolytes and a blazing, brutal set executed to near-perfection.

Compiled of the first six cuts from KREATOR's explosive "Phantom Antichrist" album plus blocks of songs gathered from recent years (i.e. "Hordes of Chaos", "Enemy of God" and "Violent Revolution") and the band's earlier days ("Flag of Hate", "Betrayer", "Endless Pain", "Pleasure to Kill" and "Extreme Aggressions"), "Dying Alive" is spread across a DVD and two CDs. The second audio disc features a handful of bonus live tracks, grabbed mostly from "Hordes of Chaos" including "Warcurse", "Demon Prince" and "Amok Run", plus "When the Sun Burns Red" from "Coma of Souls".

"Dying Alive" is filmed with 24 cameras, including a fret cam stationed upon the snapcase strumming of Mille Petrozza and even a pit cam that takes the viewer smack into a constant mosh. The colliding bodies during "Voices of the Dead" and especially the vintage circle pit conjured by Mille from the Oberhausen faithful for "Endless Pain" are amazing to behold. While implemented by a mostly younger generation (many hilariously wearing Santa hats), those from the old guard will feel vicariously catapulted back in time to the mid-to-late Eighties. For a kick, there's even a roadie cam whisking viewers to the urinal for a backstage piss; consider that as you will.

Bringing to life one of the biggest stage sets ever in KREATOR's history, the engulfing miasma and hellspawn torching the world around the band is a huge aesthetic. Mille has not one but two mike stands on this massive stage, one at the fore and another with a bisected and eyes-peeled dummy head dangling from it stationed upon the risers near Ventor's drums. Other beheaded props are found in the apocalyptic stage design, along with chewy raptor heads and fog cannons that escalate the constant pounding of the band.

Sami Yli Sirnio has proven be a major force in KREATOR since hooking up with them on the "Violent Revolution" album. The delicate acoustic touches he laced through "Phantom Antichrist" helped make it one of KREATOR's strongest albums in their catalog. Watching him lavish the intro to "United in Hate" from that album lends a textural grace to a set that keeps its foot firmly stamped upon the accelerator. The homogeneity between Sirnio and Mille is exhibited twofold by witnessing them trade solos in fluid and gentlemanly fashion onstage. Mille has all but met his match with Sirnio, and along with bassist Christian Giesler and recurring-term drummer Ventor, this lineup of KREATOR is one of its finest and now its most proficient.

While it seems a hair dubious nothing appears in this set from "Terrible Certainty" (one of KREATOR's Eighties breakout albums alongside "Pleasure to Kill" and "Extreme Aggression"), there's more than enough speedfreak juice for fans to amp up with. You have to figure Mille's had enough of "Toxic Trace" for a while. Still, it's nothing short of remarkable the guy can whip an old-school thrash frenzy along with the band on "Pleasure to Kill" and "Flag of Hate". Set upon their tasks, KREATOR proves they're still one of the fastest bands in the land.

Added to the bonus features of this package are the venomous promotional videos for "Phantom Antichrist" and "Civilization Collapse" plus behind-the-scenes footage of the concert and the "Phantom Antichrist" clip.

As far as live albums and videos go, most are worth digging into, particularly if you've never had the experience of the subject in question. KREATOR went the extra mile with "Dying Alive", both in their scorching performance and in the expansive video capture. Not since MOTÖRHEAD's "Stage Fright" DVD has the viewer been this invested along with the band itself. Mandatory.


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