For my money, thrash is the genre that most people associate with heavy metal. I have no scientific proof of this, and the genre’s overall popularity is certainly in some part due to Metallica’s commercial success since the 90s. But it was the thrash bands of the 80s who pulled the bands that influenced them into the classification of “heavy metal”.
American thrash is certainly the most talked about with “The Big 4” and their contemporaries like Exodus and Testament still pumping out grandiose albums to new young legions of fans. But outside of America the thrash scene with the most dominance is in Germany. Along with Sodom and Destruction, Kreator is regarded as one of the founding fathers of German thrash metal, a rougher and grittier version of its American cousin.
Kreator’s 1986 sophomore effort “Pleasure To Kill”, is regarded as essential listening for thrash fans. Much like other classic thrash acts Kreator is doing well in the age of modern metal with their last two albums being the highest charting of their career. I had a chance to sit down with band frontman Mille Petrozza during a recent tour stop in Toronto to talk about the German thrash sound and the relative meaning of success in heavy metal.