PAYING HOMAGE to the forefathers is very important in the world of metal. Fortunately for the legions of headbangers out there, a majority of the progenitors of the genre are still alive and shredding. While some have resorted to pandering on reality television, writing pompous double-disc conceptual albums, or just all-around misogynistic behavior unbecoming of their advanced years, a select few are still just plain kicking ass.

For Mille Petrozza, lead singer and guitar player for Kreator—the godfathers of German thrash—groveling on your knees exclaiming your unworthiness to him is unnecessary. Despite his star status, Petrozza is refreshingly humble: "I play in a band, big deal. I've seen people, great bands, go down because of egos. I've never tried to have an ego. I think even the guy that's playing in the local metal band's music is just as important as KK Downing's."

While Kreator has been around for a quarter century and are responsible for releasing classic, genre-defining recordings, Petrozza feels he has no reason to gloat. "I was a teenager when I wrote Pleasure to Kill and Endless Pain. Afterwards I was not really aware of what was happening. It's important to take your music serious, but don't take yourself too serious."

In the early '90s, thrash metal was falling by the wayside and bands were branching out, experimenting with different styles and feels on their records. From the stretch of 1991 to 2000, Kreator's discography featured a more industrial and gothic sound. In January 2009, Kreator released their 12th studio album, Hordes of Chaos—along with their previous two albums Violent Revolution and Enemy of God—bringing the band back to their raw, flailing thrash style.

"[Being] only allowed to play thrash metal got on our nerves. That's why we tried to research music and see how far we [could] go with our ability," Petrozza explains. "Now is the time to go back to traditional Kreator and make it perfect, and add these new influences to the songs. We have a nice mix between very traditional metal, melodic goth, and pure full-on-energy thrash."

Lyrically, Hordes remains true to the visions of violence and terror that fans of Kreator have come to embrace. Although Petrozza says it's not all just a fantasy anymore. "There's definitely lyrics on Hordes of Chaos that could either be about a modern-day situation or a fictional story. We really leave that room for the listener. If I explain everything it would take away a lot of the magic."

Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Kreator is out on a US tour that is followed by a slew of European festival dates that they are headlining. However, don't take this as the band's last waltz. Petrozza claims Kreator has nearly a half dozen albums left in them.

"To me, right now, this is the strongest era of Kreator. I have so many ideas, so much energy, and I see the relevance of the band and the importance of the songs." He adds, "When you play metal, you gotta feel like [you're] 17 all your life. It's not a good thing to all of a sudden feel like an old man."