Kreator originally formed as Tyrant in 1982 in Essen, Germany, composing music similar to German thrash metal compatriots Destruction, Sodom and Tankard. A name change to Tormentor in 1984 yielded two demos, but as there were other bands using that name, the band became Kreator in 1985. By this time, the band performed a speed metal style with Venom influences. As heavy metal fell in popularity in the 1990s, Kreator ventured into death metal, industrial metal and gothic metal from 1992 to 1999 before returning to thrash. Kreator's 13th and most recent studio album, Phantom Antichrist, was released in 2012. Kreator presently consists of original members Miland "Mille" Petrozza on vocals and guitar and Jürgen "Ventor" Reil on drums, with Christian "Speesy" Giesler on bass and Sami Yli-Sirniö on guitar.
Opening for Arch Enemy at the Best Buy Theater tonight, Kreator's set consisted mostly of songs from its two brightest periods, the thrash metal decades of the 1980s and the 2000s, along with three songs from the 2012 album. The set included the title tracks of the Endless Pain, Pleasure to Kill and Extreme Aggression albums early in the band's career, as well as songs from the later Violent Revolution, Enemy of God and Phantom Antichrist albums. The slicker 1990s MTV songs "Toxic Trace", "Betrayer", "When the Sun Burns Red" and "People of the Lie" were not heard. Kreator delivered a nonstop brutal concert with fast and furious heavy music. The problem was that although the band performed well and generated moshing and crowd surfing, much of what Kreator is by definition is cliché. The thrash was genuine and strong, but the violent and anti-Christian song titles and lyrics seemed to stagnate the band in its past. Perhaps due to its reversal of direction after the lack of success of its mid-period experimentation, the 32-year-old band seemed to be a prisoner of its own macabre identity. Meanwhile, the recurring fog, the blinding strobe lights into the audience and the dim red and blue lights backlit onto the musicians made it difficult to see more than silhouettes onstage, possibly decreasing audience connection.