At the Pulse of Kapitulation
11/20/2008 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
Man, if Metallica's music has been used as a means of torturing captured terrorists, then U.S. intelligence personnel have a ferocious new weapon at their disposal, should they choose to pick up this DVD and CD package. Because really, this German-created instrument of brutality features fifteen live selections (if you count the drum solo!) sure to be banned under the Geneva Conventions.
And man, after sitting through this DVD reissue of a 1990 Kreator show in East Berlin, plus the "director's cut" of their 1991 horror movie "Hallucinative Comas," I am feeling as though I have just narrowly escaped some sort of war zone. With over two hours of relentlessly brutal thrash metal history on display, At the Pulse of Kapitulation is an audio and visual assault on the senses that will be hard to swallow if it is your first real exposure to Kreator, as it was for me. Hearing a handful of studio versions of their songs, as I did, is not sufficient preparation for the continuous display of sonic brutality found here.
The live show presented on the DVD and accompanying CD shows an established, but still remarkably young Kreator, appearing stoic and unsmiling as they unleash one lethal salvo of "Extreme Aggression" after another, the whole thing eventually becoming one long, brutal blur. Frontman/ guitarist Mille Petrozza's harsh, raspy, unmelodic vocals and seemingly endless supply of jarring riffs lead the charge into hardcore headbanger's heaven, backed by the tireless--and for some, tiring--attack of his bandmates. I honestly can't understand most of what Petrozza says between songs, as it is in German, but the accompanying documentary "The Past and Now" sheds some light on the significance of this gig. Apparently staged shortly after the toppling of the Berlin Wall, the East Berlin set (part of a multi-band extreme metal package) was no small event for East German metal fans, who had apparently never had the opportunity to see such a show on their soil until then, and had considerable difficulty even acquiring metal albums and t-shirts, resulting in a large black market for even single pages of magazines. Kreator's gig there, it seems, was an early taste of freedom for the local metal scene, and some of those who were there share fond memories of it in the documentary. (Note is made of the show's organizers recruiting fans as security and attempting to keep members of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany's Free German Youth movement out.)
The final component here is "Hallucinative Comas," a mysterious and fairly disturbing short horror movie of sorts depicting a doctor's increasingly creepy study of violence, which ultimately leads him to a grisly, messed up end. This doubles as music video content for some cuts from the band's 1990 release Coma of Souls. And while these tracks are still quite aggressive, they show noticeable growth from the violent earlier cuts found in the live show, such as "Flag of Hate" and "Under the Guillotine." Personally, I like my thrash a little more varied and refined than what Kreator dish out here, but those who can do without "Ride the Lightning"-style niceties such as delicate acoustic guitar and fluid, neoclassical guitar melodies will no doubt love this. I've heard some griping about the lack of umpteen camera angles on the live stuff, but really, one has to remember that this is a 1990 performance in a locale where political conditions had not been very favorable to thrash metal until then. So consider this a treat for the diehards and a somewhat noteworthy historic curio--of a truly brutal nature.
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