The cover of Kreator's Live Kreation
depicts a solemn ghoul playing the intestines of a bound, disemboweled victim with a bow. Album artwork doesn't get much more aesthetically appropriate. Dating back more than two decades, this German quartet started out heavier than the burden on Atlas' shoulders, and last year's Enemy of God
proves that time has only hardened its cement-cracking sound. During the late '90s, Kreator experimented with gothic melodies, industrial effects, and slower speeds, and a handful of those tracks still make the set list, offering brief respite from the bludgeoning. For fans willing to sift through the sonic rubble, singer Mille Petrozza excels at musings both intellectual ("Progressive Proletariat") and philosophical ("Celestial Deliverance").
Arguably more popular than the headlining act, Napalm Death couldn't care less where its name lands on the marquee. The English grindcore legend smuggles fiercely political lyrics into the sonic bombs it detonates in blinding flashes. Once known for its impossibly fast 20-second outbursts, Napalm Death now extends that intensity through full-length compositions. Enemy of the Music Business (2001) summarizes the outsider ethos of a group that has never made even the slightest concession to industry standards.