PICK OF THE WEEK: Krater smash through the Earth’s crust with crushing assault on ‘Venenare’

It’s not out of the question the earth will be pummeled by an object from outer space one day, leaving damage that could alter humanity forever, if not end it completely. Thinking about it is pretty unsettling, even though we’d likely know about it in advance and could possibly do something about it. But the destruction it could cause might be unthinkable.

That might sound like an easy way to introduce a band called Krater, and I guess it is. But that digs deeper under the surface than just a convenient name, as their brand of black metal is such that feels like something that could push the planet off its axis. The German band is delivering “Venenare,” their fourth record and one that keeps pushing the band into explosive terrain. But although the music is monstrously heavy, they also add assorted textures into their sound to provide sonic variety and also to simply scramble your brain. The band—vocalist/bassist Abortio, guitarists Ibbur, 3E.3, and ZK, and drummer Shardik—pour a ton of intensity and pure heaviness into this record, and they smother the hell out of you over these nine tracks and 50 minutes.

“Eruption” begins the album with fires crackling and guitars starting, as a dialog slithers underneath, building toward “Prayer for Demise” that blisters right away with wild howls and a pace that drives a truck through your goddamn life. Guitars burn and rain down ash, while the vicious vocals and a smothering assault lead this thing into hell. “Zwischen den Worten” changes things up by taking on a dizzying pace, going more atmospheric with chant-like vocals getting into your head. The song then swims into a proggy adventure before things speed up quickly, and gnarly growls chew away. The leads explode while group shouts strike, with everything  winding up in darkness. “Stellar Sparks” ruptures and bleeds as bellowing singing digs deep, and the track trudges faster and faster. Group shouts and chants infect while the playing goes all over the map, purposely tangling your brain wiring. The track them stomps as goth-style singing swells, with the track ending in a monstrous blaze.

“When Thousand Hearts” spills melody through the front door as detached singing confounds before the song hits the gas pedal. A relentless assault is forged and driven with commitment while soloing ignites, and Abortio wails the title over and over again. “Atmet Asche” unleashes raw growls and manic riffs as the verses smash your bones, and the leads accompany terrifying wails. The guitars stampede, but there also is a place for your mind to melt over, as gnarly growls smear, and the track forces its way across the land, creating a … um … crater in the earth. “No Place for You” enters with intensity as the song storms with a vengeance as the growls are unleashed, melodies destroy, and a brief respite turns into pandemonium as wild yelps of, “No place for you!” as major heat builds before an abrupt end. “Darvaza Breeds” is the longest track, clocking in at 10:58 and starting as a wordless call before dialog push in, the vocals blast, and the keys open up a storm cloud that spreads itself overhead. Guitars trickle as a fog thickens, and then punches land, as the hypnosis is shredded. The playing boils flesh again, the growls corrode, and gruff speak-singing splits time. Closer “Wasted Carbon” is a quick closing chapter with acoustic haunting, strange voices crawling, and everything dissolving into the ground.

Krater’s utter ferocity and strange machinations on “Venenare” leave waves of devastation behind, the kind that leaves people picking up the pieces and wondering how to rebuild. Their savage black metal is evened out by their dexterity and willingness to experiment and apply new sounds, which makes this such a fascinating experience. Everything about this hurts you all over, and all that is left afterward are the physical scars from this attack.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/abstrusekrater/

To buy the album North America), go here: https://store.eisenton.com/

Or here (International): https://store.eisenton.de/en/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.eisenton.de/