[Release date 03.11.17]
Annihilator’s brief rise to fame in the late 80’s early 90’s was one that helped propel heavier music into the mainstream along with bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, and many others.
With a hyper aggressive aproach to the classic metal style, not quite true thrash, but pretty damn close. With tracks like “Alison Hell” receiving pretty good rotation on The Headbangers Ball, and even garnering plays during the non-metal time slots, as well as periodic plays on the radio for specialized shows dedicated to the genre (at least in my neck of the woods,) the band built up a great cult following, with their rise in stature seeping over to the follow-up to Alice In Hell, Never, Neverland.
After that, in the U.S. at least, the bands popularity started to wane. However, the intensity of the band and the output continued to be churned out and most of it was pretty good (with the exception of the industrial metal influenced album Remains.) Of course, during the time from around 94-98 the band was more or less relegated to only main man Jeff Waters (multi-instrumentalist, production whiz, and engineer extraordinaire,) but he has always been the focal point of the band.
No longer a solo unit (though, honestly, Waters is the only person in the band these days from the beginning,) Annhilator are unleashing their incredible 16th studio release with For the Demented.
Frankly, I don’t spin Annihilator near as much these days as I once did, but I’ve overall enjoyed their output (Remains being the lone one not so much,) but this new one is thefirst one in a while that has truly stood out to me like the first few albums id.
Jeff has continued to have his finger on the pulse of metal through the years, though essentially remained true to the sound, however this one is definitely rooted in their early style. No, it’s not a throwback album, but it’s as if the playing and writing have a raw hunger and desire like they had in the early days.
Tracks like “Pieces of Your,” “One To Kill,” and “Not All There” demonstrate just how good this album is. Something that seems to detract some folks from Annihilator is their propensity for cheesy songs/lyrics (kind of the Anvil curse we’ll say.) With For the Demented, though the lyrics still tend to be rather stereotypical of the genre, there aren’t any songs outwardly eye-rolling bad.
Though they had an early run in popularity, their name never carried over the years as much as others did, and that doesn’t feel justified. Annihilator have had some great songs within their lengthy catalog, with only a few minor trip-up’s along the way.
Though not a huge success in the states, the band has managed to keep a tight following overseas. For the Demented is a great album from a great band with a rich history in the metal world. With razor sharp guitar licks, fast and amazing leads, and some classic thrash tunes, Annihilator have returned to form in a huge way. ****
Review by Chris Martin
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