Jeff Waters has been furrowing away in the thrash underground for 30+ years with his band Annihilator and on this, their 16th album, there is more great thrashing metal madness.
Opening suitably with one of the album’s hardest hitting tracks, ‘Twisted Lobotomy’, Waters and band get straight to the point with little fluff. The first standout is as a vocalist Mr. Waters has grown from the Hetfield/Mustaine vocal cliché of previous album Suicide Society and back to a gruffer style, backing his own abilities more. This great start continues through the first half, although ‘One To Kill’ sees a little of the Mustaine vocalisms sneaking back in before ‘For the Demented’ and the balladesque ‘Pieces of You’ remind you of the great vocalist Jeff Waters can be.
For the first time in a long time Waters has had help behind the desk and with song writing courtesy of new bassist Rich Hinks who has brought back some of the early Annihilator familiarity to this album. Waters has mentioned in recent interviews his intention to go back to earlier songwriting styles and with Rich they have achieved just that.
The second half begins with the Alice Cooper-sounding ‘The Demon You Know’ before really taking on the early era of thrash that they come from with tracks like ‘Altering the Altar’ and groove driven album closer ‘Not All There’, while also carrying the album’s oddest tracks in the very late intermission of ‘Dark’ and ‘The Way’, a song driven by rockabilly but with some of the most uninspired, flat lyrics that have been assembled by Annihilator in some time.
I am not sure this album will find the band new fans, but it sure isn’t going to lose any either. It is everything great that Jeff Waters/Annihilator has in the thrash bag, and shows that even after all this time they are still willing to push themselves as musicians.
1. Twisted Lobotomy
2. One To Kill
3. For The Demented
4. Pieces Of You
5. The Demon You Know
6. Phantom Asylum
7. Altering The Altar
8. The Way
10. Not All There