Kreator (pronounced “creator”) is a German thrash metal band from Essen, formed in 1982. Their current lineup consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Miland “Mille” Petrozza, drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil, lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö, and bassist Frédéric Leclercq. The band’s lineup has changed multiple times over its 38-year career, most noticeably with their bassists and lead guitarists. Petrozza and Reil are the only two original members left in Kreator, though the latter had been out of the band from 1994 to 1996. Yli-Sirniö has been the lead guitarist of Kreator since 2001, while Leclercq joined in 2019 as the replacement of Christian “Speesy” Giesler, who had been a member of the band since 1994.
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 Four” 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. Many of their subsequent albums – including Terrible Certainty (1987), Extreme Aggression (1989) and Coma of Souls (1990) – were also highly acclaimed. Despite being an influential band, as well as one of the first European thrash metal acts to sign to a major label (signing to Epic Records in 1988), Kreator would not achieve mainstream popularity 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. They are currently working on a new album, which is tentatively due for release in the summer of 2021. 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.