Kreator is a German thrash metal band from Essen, formed in 1982. Their current lineup has been the same since 2001: lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mille Petrozza, bassist Christian Giesler, drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil, and lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö. Of the current lineup, Petrozza is the only constant member and the only one to appear on all of Kreator’s studio albums.
Kreator’s musical style is similar to that of their compatriots Destruction, Sodom and Tankard, which is usually more complex and, since Violent Revolution (2001), more melodic. Along with those three bands, Kreator has been referred to as one of the “Big 4” of Teutonic thrash metal, and they are often credited with helping pioneer death metal and black metal by containing several elements of what was to become those genres. The band’s style has changed several times over the years, from a Venom-inspired speed metal sound, later moving into thrash metal, and including a period of transitioning from thrash to industrial metal and gothic metal throughout the 1990s. In the early 2000s, Kreator returned to their classic thrash sound, which has continued to the present.
To date, Kreator has released fourteen studio albums, two EPs, two live albums and three compilation albums. They gained a large underground fanbase in the international thrash metal community, with their second studio album Pleasure to Kill (1986) regarded as an influential album of the genre. Kreator was also one of the first European thrash metal bands to sign to a major label (Epic Records in 1988); however, they would not have success until later albums, including their thirteenth studio album Phantom Antichrist (2012) and its follow-up Gods of Violence (2017), both of which peaked at higher chart positions in many countries, with the latter reaching number one on the German charts. The band has achieved worldwide sales of over two million units for combined sales of all their albums, making them one of the best-selling German thrash metal bands of all time.