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Annihilator – Metal

Label: SPV USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Simply titled “Metal”, mainman Jeff Waters (guitar), the Dave Mustane of Annihilator, starts their 12th studio album off with that mentality in mind in old school Annihilator fashion for the “Clown Parade” which features Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) on lead guitar. One that delivers by Annihilator standards. What follows becomes a bit misguided.

 

For example, “Couple Suicide” sees Danko Jones at the mic, and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) also on vocals who adds in the growls but the music doesn’t have the energy or thrash delivery of the opener and is just a bump in the road. With Danko’s bland emo vocal the song loses steam and instead borrows ideas from these younger bands who have a flat sounding voice and un inspired guitar riffs which is more rhythmic in arrangement. Definitely can lose this one.

“Army of One” which features Steve “Lips” from Anvil on guitars would have been a much better choice to keep the momentum and level going. It has a much more classic arrangement and tastetful guitar playing, unfortunately still not quite hitting its mark.

And while I’m pointing out the negatives, lead singer Dave Padden has got to be the blandest voice for Annihilator. His tone has a similar ring to Jeff Waters (who sang on “King of the Kill” and “Refresh the Demon” and did a fine job) but really lacks personality. He goes for harsher growls on a track like “Downright Dominate” which is a good thrasher and features recognizeable lead work from Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), but the voice is as interesting as white bread. I miss Joe Cameau.

“Smothered” features Anders Bjorler (The Haunted) and is another that misses its mark. As much as Jeff wanted to maybe write a varied platter of songs, several as you can see try to offer something different in the music but don’t deliver. “Operation Annihilation” with Michael Amott from Arch Enemy on guitar is better with its changes between the mid paced groove rhythm and thrash with twin guitar works on all levels. “Haunted” is one of the faster songs and gives Jesper Stromblad from In Flames the floor for its more inspired leads and melody lines as with “Kicked” which also gets a nice kick in the ass from Corey Beaulieu of Trivium. “Chasing the Night” is also a scorcher and Dave’s voice has a much bigger and better bark which I bet was influenced by shred man Willie Adler from one of the newer monsters of death/thrash metal Lamb of God. This one has some excellent twin guitar lead trade offs which are classic “Alice in Hell” Annihilator. The dynamic change with its clean guitar works very well. Good work here Jeff.

Wow if the opening riff from “Detonation” is not “Children of the Grave” from Black Sabbath then I don’t know what is.

Overall….not one of my favorites. I’d say I really like half and half is forgettable. Yes it has its strong points, and the production is much better and clearer than the past few “Schizo Deluxe” and more so “All for You”, but as far the variety in the song structures, which Jeff has always done, its not as consistent as “Refresh the Demon”, “Carnival Diablos”, or “Never Never Land”.

 
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