CD Reviews

Annihilator - 'Annihilator' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 12, 2010    
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Thrash/speed metal with a subtle commercial twist.

This, by all accounts, is Annihilator’’s 13th release and the sticker on the front of the cd proudly claims 66 solos!! My introduction to the band was the classic ‘Alice In Hell’ and Never Neverland’, in my opinion two of the best thrash albums ever released. Clearly founding member Jeff Waters’ guitar work impressed so many that it led to an offer from Dave Mustaine of Megadeath to join his ranks. Unfortunately, like so many other great Canadian bands, it just never happened for them. That’s not to say Annihilator gave up but just kind of disappeared under the radar. 
So how does this new release stand up for the band now? One thing is for sure, the band has lost none of its unforgiving guitar heroics as the beginning of ‘The Trend’ lets loose with full intensity. The song clocks in at 7.48 and it’s two and a half minutes before we even get a sniff of a vocal. Dave Padden offers a demanding vocal, in the style of Tom Araya of Slayer, to incredible effect before Jeff Waters tears into a solo which sounds like a hybrid of Eddie Van Halen and his own style before bringing the song to a climactic end.
Old School thrash is the name of the game for ‘Coward’ as Dave Padden vents his hate in the lyrics. The song takes no prisoners and the riffs are as subtle as a boot to the groin! One of the things that hits you is there is so much going on in the songs that at times its too much and you have to reach for pause button so you can take a breath! Not letting up the pace, ‘Ambush’ comes charging out the speakers at breakneck speed and it’s like walking into the middle of a riot. The song pounds along before coming to a smashing halt. Luckily we get a chance to catch our breath as ‘Betrayed’ drives along like a juggernaut up a hill and is not dissimilar to something Megadeath might have released.
Some subtle bass work introduces us to ’25 Seconds’ before a screeching banshee vocal tears the skin off your ears, then its all rumbling drums and we are off at 100mph heading towards oblivion. I would certainly rate this as some of Jeff Waters best guitar work and he puts the likes of Kirk Hammett to shame. ‘Nowhere To Go’ is the jewel in their thrash crown for me as the foreboding intro fools us into thinking we know where we are going musically, before throwing us a curve ball with a hook laden chorus. On a personal note, as much as I love this song it does almost sound like two songs pro-tooled together, that aside it’s a stand out track for me. ‘Death in Your Eyes’ has a glorious middle section taken straight from the Iron Maiden school of guitar work, but has enough of its own identity so as not sound like a direct steal.
Clearly Jeff Waters must have been listening to some of his Van Halen records as the influence in his guitar work is evident throughout this album.
Just to prove my point the band take on a cover of Van Halen’s ‘Romeo Delight’ and it’s a clear winner for me. The song is handled with just the right amount of homage to the original whilst still maintaining their own stamp on things. Special mention must go to Dave Padden’s impressive vocal, this guy clearly has a very adaptable set of pipes!
Lets be honest, this release takes no prisoners and if you yearn for the glory days of thrash/speed metal with a subtle commercial twist then this is for you my friend.

Ray Paul

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