UDR Music (Release date – out now)
Following Annihilator releasing their new album ‘Feast’ recently, the band’s new label, UDR Music has re-released three of their previous albums to allow potential new fans to catch up on a bit of history. These three were first released back in the early Noughties and feature two different frontmen.
First up we have ‘Double Live Annihilation’ which features Joe Comeau on vocals. Released 10 years ago this album finds the band in full flight. The guy’s brand of technical thrash can be an acquired taste, but you cannot fault the skilful playing on show with the guitar work of Jeff Waters and Curran Murphy being a particular highlight. This 19-track double disc set gives real value for money and features many Annihilator favourites. Possibly a good starting point for those who want to sample the band’s back catalogue without shelling out too much for the privilege.
Next up is 2004’s ‘All For You’ which was the first to feature new vocalist Dave Padden. Of the three this album is the one that caught my attention most. One criticism I would level at Annihilator is their music tends to be fairly monotone in delivery, partly due to a stream of fairly nondescript vocalists with a limited vocal range. This album though is a bit of a concept album and a few of the tracks are sung in character which adds an element missing on other albums. Songs like ‘Dr Pyscho’ and ‘Demon Dance’ are entertaining thrash metal tracks and the quality of the songwriting and delivery on this album appears to be a cut above others I have heard from the band.
Things though return to type for 2005’s ‘Schizo Deluxe’. Dave Padden had obviously been fully immersed in the Annihilator way by this point and had adopted the same monotone singing style of his predecessors. Again the album contains top class thrash tracks played with skill and precision but it is as flat as a pancake run over by a steam roller. All tracks sound very similar with few dynamic differences. You admire the technical brilliance on show but are left craving a decent tune.
New album ‘Feast’ is a good record which does address some of the shortcomings of these albums. If I was to choose one of the above to accompany ‘Feast’ on an MP3 player then ‘All For You’ would be the one I would plump for.
Double Live Annihilation – ***
All For You – ***1/2
Schizo Deluxe – **1/2
Review by David Wilson
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