Canadian speed /thrash band fronted by guitarist Jeff Waters.

Alice in Hell Annihilator - Alice in Hell (Roadrunner) 1989

1. "Crystal Ann" [instrumental] (1:42)
2. "Alison Hell" (5:01)
3. "W.T.Y.D." (3:56)
4. "Wicked Mystic" (3:38) 
5. "Burns Like a Buzzsaw Blade" (3:34) 
6. "Word Salad" (5:50) 
7. "Schizos (Are Never Alone)" (4:32)
8. "Ligeia"  (4:48)
9. "Human Insecticide" (4:50)

Canada's Annihilator's came screaming onto the scene with their brand of technical speed metal. Most people would even argue that this is their best release. I'm not sure I would agree as there is some great stuff to come from Jeff Waters and Co. in the future, but I will say that it ranks at the top of their catalogue. Vocalist Randy Rampage has a great voice, but unfortunately this will be his last disc until the 2000 reunion disc "Criteria for a Black Widow, after which Randy would get the boot for a second time. He has one of those high-pitched, whiney, snake-like thrash voices that bands like Overkill, Exodus, and Ultimatum have. Anyhow, this disc really should be ranked up at the very top of the 80's thrash classics. The guitar sound on this disc, while supposedly being recorded as a demo, is gritty and biting and the guitar work is stellar. Jeff Waters is a thrash metal maniac, no doubt about it. Just about every song on this disc is excellent, with standout cuts being "Alison Hell", "Human Insecticide" and "W.T.Y.D.". "Human Insecticide" is one of the fasted guitar riffs ever written. I'd like to see some of those wimpy black metal bands pull of some of the speed, accuracy, and finesse of this song. This is true speed. On top of this, the music has held up well over time, still sounding as good 10+ years later as it did the day it came out.

 Never, Neverland Annihilator-Never, Neverland (Roadrunner) 1990

1. "Fun Palace" (5:50)  
2. "Road to Ruin" (3:40)  
3. "Sixes and Sevens" (5:19)  
4. "Stonewall" (4:50)  
5. "Never, Neverland" (5:30)  
6. "Imperiled Eyes" (5:27)  
7. "Kraf Dinner" (2:40)  
8. "Phantasmagoria" (3:57)  
9. "Reduced to Ash" (3:08)  
10. "I Am in Command" (3:38)

Excellent speed metal disc that parallels Megadeth's early 90's sound. The technical thrash riffing of Jeff Waters is outstanding as are the pipes of new vocalist Coburn Pharr, who replaced Randy Rampage. I would probably say this disc is one of Annihilator's best, if not their very best. Some funny lyrics on this disc, including the ode to macaroni and cheese:

"Kraf Dinner" "Macaroni maniac, a cheddar cheese heart attack. I love, I love, I love, I love Kraf dinner. Boiling water, I can't wait. It's getting hotter, it feels so great. Macaroni maniac, a cheddar cheese heart attack."

Cool packaging as well. Not only are the lyrics included but a small footnote by Jeff Waters on each of the songs. "Never, Neverland" sold well overseas, much better than in North America. It did so well for them that they hooked up with Judas Priest for their European tour. I read somewhere that shortly after this tour, Jeff Waters was offered the second guitar slot in Megadeth, which he turned down. Whether this is true or not, only Jeff and Dave Mustaine know, however, I can only imagine what kind of cool stuff those two guys would have come up with.

Never, Neverland PROMO single Annihilator - Never, Neverland (Roadrunner) 1991

1. "Never, Neverland" (5:30)
2. "W.T.Y.D" (Welcome to Your Death) [live] (4:55)
3. "Word Salad" [live] (6:34)

This is a promotional cd single that I purchased on eBay for $4. It was the WORST eBay experience I have ever had. The person selling the disc said that the disc and the art were in "MINT" condition, but when the disc arrived it was FAR from MINT. First I couldn't even open the stinking jewel case because someone had spilled Coke all over it and it was stuck shut. Upon opening it, the disc and the cover were stained with sticky soda, plus part of the cover was cut off. If you look at my scan you can see that the "A" in Annihilator is half missing. Argh!!! In any case, I managed to get all the sticky crap off the disc and I replaced the jewel case. The seller finally agreed to refund me $2 if I agreed not to put up any negative feedback. The cover, well, for $2, I guess I will live with it.

Anyhow, this promo disc was released to promote their tour with Judas Priest. The music is excellent, especially the two live cuts, both of which are from "Alice in Hell." Worth the $2.

Set the World on Fire Annihilator - Set the World on Fire (Epic) 1993

1. "Set the World on Fire" (4:30)
2. "Knight Jumps Queen" (3:46)
3. "Hell Bent for Leather" (2:55)

A pre-release single for "Set the World on Fire" featuring two of the albums best and heaviest tracks, as well as an unreleased cover of Judas Priest's "Hell Bent for Leather". This song was also released on the Japanese version of "Set the World on Fire" and on the 1999 digi-pack re-release.

Set the World on Fire Annihilator - Set the World on Fire (Epic) 1993

1. "Set the World on Fire" (4:30)
2. "No Zone" (3:48)
3. "Bats in the Belfry" (3:37)
4. "Snake in the Grass" (4:55)
5. "Phoenix Rising" (3:48)
6. "Knight Jumps Queen" (3:46)
7. "Sounds Good to Me" (4:18)
8. "The Edge" (2:56)
9. "Don't Bother Me" (3:24)
10. "Brain Dance" (4:52)

Jeff Waters
Jeff Waters

"Set the World on Fire" was the first Annihilator disc I had ever heard and because of that it was a long time before I ever gave a listen to another of their discs. I was told that Annihilator were one of the best speed metal bands to come out of Canada, but I didn't see that here. "Set the World on Fire" was probably Annihilator's attempt at commercialism since it was their first major label release after a very successful European tour with Judas Priest. (What is it about big labels that tend to ruin a good band?) Even the raw, tight, crunchy guitar sounds have been smoothed over. "Phoenix Rising" and "Sounds Good To Me" are both ballads and just don't feel natural on an Annihilator disc, although I must admit, I kind of like "Phoenix Rising". Anyhow, it didn't work and most fans were turned off by this disc. The title track, "Knight Jumps Queen" and "No Zone" are cool songs, but it's mostly downhill from there. "Don't Bother Me", a mid-paced rocker, isn't bad either but for some reason it reminds me of Van Halen, especially the guitar playing. Hmmm, I think I much prefer Jeff Waters' fast downpicking style better. The disc finishes off with a bang; a speedy number called "Brain Dance" that incorporates speed, but also a bit of groove. Eventually I discovered that this wasn't the best disc to represent Annihilator and I picked up"Never Neverland." I became a huge fan and have been ever since. Probably for that reason, I have grown to appreciate this disc a bit more over the years. Despite that fact, however, "Set The World On Fire" is still the least played disc in my Annihilator collection.

Bag of Tricks Annihilator - Bag of Tricks (Roadrunner) 1994

1. "Alison Hell" [Remastered] (5:02)
2. "Phantasmagoria [Demo] (3:57)
3. "Back To The Crypt" (4:08)
4. "Gallery" (4:08)
5. "Human Insecticide" [Live] (5:43)
6. "The Fun Palace" [Extended version] (6:22)
7. "W.T.Y.D." [Live] (4:57)
8. "World Salad" [Live] (6:35)
9. "Live Wire" [Live] (5:16)
10. "Knight Jumps Queen" [Demo] (3:45)
11. "Fantastic Things" (4:26)
12. "Bats In The Belfry" [Demo] (3:45)
13. "Evil Appetite" (3:40)
14. "Gallery '86" (3:59)
15. "Alison Hell '86" (5:09)
16. "Phantasmagoria '86" (3:55)

At long last, the missing disc in my Annihilator collection. (thanks Kurt) "Bag of Tricks" is a well assembled odds and sods album featuring unreleased tracks, remixes, live cuts, demo versions, etc. This disc covers the period of the band from around 1986, through their first release, "Alice in Hell" (1989) and up through "Setting the World on Fire" (1993). For a casual fan, these types of albums probably aren't to interesting, but to the long-time fans it gives us a deeper look into the machine. On top of having some choice song selections, what also makes this disc nice is the lengthy and detailed liner notes complete with a track by track breakdown written by Monte Conner of Roadrunner Records. The booklet also features plenty of vintage photos of the band, a discography, and a complete list of all musicians that performed with Annihilator. Most of these tracks remain unreleased in this format on any other release, although "W.T.Y.D.", "World Salad" and the AC/DC cover "Live Wire" also appear on the band's "In Command Live" disc. These three tracks were recorded in 1990 in San Antonio, Texas. Personally it's all the demo and unreleased material that I am most interested in.

King of the Kill Annihilator - King of the Kill (Music For Nations) 1994

1. "The Box" (5:31)
2. "King of the Kill" (3:12)
3. "Hell is A War" (5:20)
4. "Bliss" [instrumental] (:51)
5. "Second to None" (5:16)
6. "Annihilator" (4:28)
7. "21" (4:25)
8. "In the Blood" (4:20)
9. "Fiasco (The Slate)" (:09)
10. "Fiasco" (3:56)
11. "Catch the Wind" (3:50)
12. "Speed" (4:36)
13. "Bad Child" (3:40)

"King of the Kill" is not really a band album but more of a Jeff Waters' solo project as he wrote all the material, sang, and played all the guitar and bass parts. A drummer is listed but it sounds as if a drum machine was used to me, or perhaps the drum kit was triggered. "King of the Kill" is a good speed metal album, none-the-less, with loads of speed, aggression, good hooks, a bit of groove and even some clean guitar parts where needed. This disc is kind of tough to get, I had to ask a friend in Germany to find it for me. I sure ask a lot of my friends, huh? (Of course within a year of writing this, the disc was reissued in the US on CMC International.)

In Command Annihilator - In Command (LIVE 1989-1990) (Roadrunner) 1996

1. "W.T.Y.D. "  (5:06)
2. "Wicked Mystic"  (3:43)
3. "Ligeia"  (5:35)
4. "Alison Hell"  (5:15)
5. "Word Salad"  (6:03)
6. "W.T.Y.D."  (4:50)
7. "The Fun Palace"  (5:12)
8. "Never Neverland"  (5:19)
9. "I Am In Command"  (3:40)
10. "Stonewall"  (4:23)
11. "Road To Ruin"  (4:35)
12. "Sixes And Sevens"  (6:02)
13. "Alison Hell"  (4:56)
14. "Live Wire" (5:28)

"In Command (LIVE 1989-1990)" sports a superb recording and mix. The disc is broken up into two shows: Tracks 1 - 5 were recorded live on November 11, 1989 at The Ritz in New York, NY with original vocalist Randy Rampage. Tracks 6-14 were recorded live on November 2, 1990 at The Showroom in San Antonio, TX with vocalist Coburn Pharr. "Live Wire" is an AC/DC cover.

Refresh the Demon Annihilator - Refresh the Demon (Music for Nations) 1996

1. "Refresh the Demon" (5:26)
2. "Syn. Kill 1" (4:26)
3. "Awaken" (:53)
4. "The Pastor of Disaster" (5:00)
5. "A Man Called Nothing" (5:52)
6. "Ultraparanoia" (4:29)
7. "City of Ice" (4:18)
8. "Anything for Money" (3:35)
9. "Hunger" (4:53)
10. "Voices and Victims" (4:18)
11. "Innocent Eyes" (5:03)

During the darkest of days for heavy metal, and especially speed metal, Jeff Waters continues to stick to his guns cranking out speedy riffs, laid on top of quick double bass. The cover art reminds me of Uriah Heep's "Abominog." Despite the fact that Jeff continues to use the cliche 80's imagery for his cover art, his music continues to impress. "Refresh the Demon" sounds musically as tight, or possibly even tighter, than "Alice in Hell" and "Never Neverland." This is perfect driving music, but you better watch your speed. My copy is a German import digi-pack. The U.S. version, which didn't get released until four years after it was released everywhere else, has a slightly different cover and track listing.

Remains Annihilator - Remains (Music for Nations) 1997

1. "Murder" (4:27)
2. "Sexecution" (4:32)
3. "No Love" (4:45)
4. "Never" (5:13)
5. "Human Remains" (2:18)
6. "Dead Wrong" (5:10)
7. "Wind" (4:18)
8. "Tricks and Traps" (4:58)
9. "I Want" (4:26)
10. "Reaction" (3:26)
11. "Bastiage" [instrumental] (4:40)

"Remains" has an industrial edge to it, mostly because the drums are programmed. This disc, like most of Annihilator's mid to late 90's cds, is another Jeff Waters solo project as he writes all the music and lyrics, sings, and plays all the instruments. Up until 1999, this disc was only available as an import, but Century Media re-released several of Annihilator's discs with bonus tracks.

Criteria for a Blac kWidow Annihilator - Criteria For a Black Widow (CMC International) 1999

1. "Bloodbath" (5:21)
2. "Back to the Palace" (5:34)
3. "Punctured" (5:48)
4. "Criteria for a Black Widow" (5:57)
5. "Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III" [instrumental] (5:52)
6. "Nothing Left" (4:51)
7. "Loving Sinner" (4:38)
8. "Double Dare" (5:26)
9. "Sonic Homicide" (4:28)
10. "Mending" (2:46)
11. "Loving Sinner" [Jeff Waters Vocal Version] (4:34)
12. "Jeff Waters Speaks" (11:57)

After almost three years off, Jeff Waters' reunites most of the original Annihilator to release their 9th official album, and manage to keep the speed-metal torch burning bright. According to the spoken part at the end of the cd, Jeff was going through a whole lot of personal problems including a messy divorce, which is why his band was inactive. After going to see Slayer in concert he was again inspired to get back in the studio. However, it seems Slayer inspired more than just his motivation as a few of these new songs sound very Slayer-like, especially the opening, which Jeff says is a tribute to Slayer. Overall, however, Annihilator 1999 sounds like a rejuvenated Annihilator from 1989. Few bands in the late 90's have this much aggression, speed and fury. Annihilator simly refuse to go down the road of trends and continue to put out high caliber speed metal and thrash. The other cool thing about "Criteria" is that this is probably the most consistent release since "Alice in Hell." The only song I don't particularly care for is the title track. Original vocalist Randy Rampage and drummer Ray Hartmann return for this "reunion" record and contribute a lot to the aggressive sound. This is also the first release in years that is readily available in the U.S. Past releases were only available as pricey imports but many have recently be reissued by CMC.

Annihilator - Carnival Diabolos (Metal-Is) 2001

1. "Denied" (5:24)
2. "The Perfect Virus" (4:44)
3. "Battered" (5:22)
4. "Carnival Diablos" (5:08)
5. "Shallow Grave" (4:22)
6. "Time Bomb" (4:49)
7. "The Rush" (4:50)
8. "Insomniac" (6:15)
9. "Liquid Oval" [instrumental] (3:51)
10. "Epic of War" (5:47)
11. "Hunter Killer" (6:00)
12. "Chicken & Corn" [hidden track] (2:34)

Jeff Waters and company inherit a legend from the underground metal scene. Former Liege Lord vocalist and Overkill guitarist is the next to fill in the ever changing vocalist spot for Annihilator, and what a fine job he does. At times I would have swore it was Rob Halford singing. I mean, I really searched through the liner notes after hearing some of the high pitched wails in "Time Bomb." Even some of the lower vocal stuff on songs like "The Rush" and "Epic of War" sound a bit like Painkiller-era Rob Halford. This is not to say that the entire album sounds like a Judas Priest rip-off. The disc starts of with a traditional Annihilator speed metal number then sways off into different directions, pulling in metal influences from many different types of metal. The tight musicianship and quality songwriting add to the appeal. The only real negative is some of the dark stereotypical lyrics of death and destruction. For example "Time Bomb" is a song of chemical warfare and total destruction, "Epic of War" is self explanatory, and "Hunter Killer" is a about a stalker murderer. Jeff has always come up with some unusual lyrical themes, and there are a few on this disc as well. "Insomniac" is a insane tale of sleeplessness. This song is humorously written and much more interesting than hearing another tale of death. "Chicken & Corn" is a joke song hidden at the end of track 11.

Waking the Fury Annihilator - Waking the Fury (SPV) 2002

1. "Ultramotion" (5:07)
2. "Torn" (5:02)
3. "My Precious Lunatic Asylum" (5:47)
4. "Striker" (5:00)
5. "Ritual" (5:16)
6. "Prime Time Killing" (4:32)
7. "The Blackest Day" (5:10)
8. "Nothing to Me" (4:24)
9. "Firepower" (4:53)
10. "Coldblooded" (3:53)
11. "Shallow Grave" [live] (5:08)
12. "Nothing To Me" [edit] (3:39)

Randy Black 2002

Disc number two with consummate vocalist Joe Comeau. Of course in the never ending line-up changes of Annihilator, this disc is no different. "Waking the Fury" is appropriately titled as this disc simply shreds from beginning to end. Randy Black takes over the drummer's seat for Ray Hartmann, and guitarist Dave Scott Davis is replaced by guitarist Curran Murphy. Of course Randy Black is not really new to the band as he was the drummer on "King of the Kill" and "Refresh the Demon". But line-up changes aside, "Waking the Fury" is an appropriately titled disc, as this is probably one of the most aggressive discs Jeff Waters has unleashed yet, if not the most aggressive. From beginning to end the thrash metal never lets up. As with the band's recent discs there are several hints of Judas Priest and Slayer, but then again, that is exactly how I would describe Annihilator to begin with. Priest meets Slayer. Album opener "Ultra-Motion" open things up with a fury of insane speed. "Torn" and "Striker" have the vintage Annihilator groove with Comeau sounding a bit like Rob Halford. "Nothing to Me" is another vicious assault soundling a bit like AC/DC. "Fire Power" tears things up like aa jet liner coming in for a crash landing. Throughout this disc both guitarist unleash a fury of guitar solos as well. I only have two real complaints about this disc. The first is that Jeff Water's tight guitar crunch of the past has been changed to a fuzzier/buzzier tone, giving the disc a slightly thinner sound than I am use to hearing from Annihilator. The second complaint is that this disc was a pain in the butt to obtain. Apparently either the band's American label is no more or they are doing a horrid job of distribution since I had to go to a friend outside the U.S. to get this disc. Despite these things, Annihilator have released yet another thrash metal monster. There are only a handful of bands still doing this style of thrash metal, and few that do it this good, making Annihilator the kings of the scene.

Double Live Annihilation Annihilator - Double Live Annihilation (AFM) 2003

1. "Murder" (4:32)
2. "Ultra-Motion" (5:17)
3. "The Box" (4:55)
4. "Denied" (5:39)
5. "The Blackest Day" (5:36)
6. "King Of The Kill" (3:58)
7. "Torn" (5:34)
8. "My Precious Lunatic Asylum" (6:23)
9. "The Blackest Day" [video] (6:04)

1. "Set The World On Fire" (4:54)
2. "I Am In Command" (4:12)
3. "Refresh The Demon" (5:35)
4. "Syn. Kill 1" (4:53)
5. "Never, Neverland" (5:44)
6. "Striker" (5:19)
7. "Bliss" (1:10)
8. "Phantasmagoria" (4:44)
9. "Crystal Ann" (2:06)
10. "Alison Hell" (5:49)
11. "Shallow Grave" (6:07)

Annihilator '03

Double Live Annihilation! Perfect title for a rock solid live disc from Annihilator. Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with many live albums, Double Live Annihilation will be the end of an era for Annhilator as this will be the last album for vocalist Joe Comeau. Too bad as he was certainly a competent and extremely well fit vocalist for the band. Everything is in place for this live disc. Great packaging - mine happens to be a limited edition digi-book version, excellent song selection spanning the bands entire existence, and an excellent recording to boot. Personally, I like the guitar sounds on this live disc a bit better than their last studio CD. I prefer the tight crunch sound over the fuzzier tones on "Waking the Fury." Drummer Randy Black is truly an impressive drummer. I was wondering how well he would pull of some of that fast double bass stuff in a live setting. He doesn't miss a beat. Of course Jeff Waters tears it up. I swear he has got to be one of the fastest and most accurate rhythm players in metal history. Just take a listen to some of the insane downpicking he pulls off on this disc. The digi-book version also includes a couple of multimedia video clips, including a full length video for "The Blackest Day".

Annihilator - The One (AFM) 2004

1. "All For You" [single edit] (3:58)
2. "Weapon X" [non-album bonus] (3:33)
3. "The One" [single edit] (3:45)
4. "All For You" [album version] (4:32)
Live video footage from the Earthshaker festival 2003
5. "Never, Neverland" [video]
6. "Refresh the Demon" [video]
7. "Alison Hell" [video]

"The One" is the EP in support of the new album "All For You" and to introduce fans to new singer Dave Padden. This CD-EP is chock full of goodies, including a non-album bonus track, live video footage from the Earthshaker Festival, and multimedia goodies for your computer. The two new heavy tracks are quite good, although "All For You" is took a few listens to get into. "Weapon X" is a outstanding, full throttle speed metal track. "The One" is a ballad that at the time of writing this review, I still couldn't get into. The three live tracks were a nice bonus as well.

All For You Annihilator - All For You (AFM) 2004

1. "All For You" (4:29)
2. "Dr. Psycho" (4:08)
3. "Demon Dance" (6:20)
4. "The One" (5:06)
5. "Bled" (4:08)
6. "Both Of Me" (4:43)
7. "Rage Absolute" (8:07)
8. "Holding One" (5:40)
9. "The Nightmare Factory" (5:12)
10. "The Sound Of Horror" (5:08)

This album is taking a beating from reviewers, and while I can see some of their points, it's really much better than people are making it out. OK, I will be the first to admit that I am disappointed with the new vocalist. Certainly Joe Comeau could have done a better job here. Unfortunately Dave Padden makes Annihilator sound a bit like a modern, mall-metal band at times. This is especially true when singing the chorus of the title track or the semi-cheesy ballad "The One." However, I really don't think the vocals make or break this album. There is plenty of meaty, crunchy thrash metal to digest on this album. There are several tracks that are bombstic thrash assaults, reminding me of Slayer at times, especially on "Rage Absolute." Another complaint I have read is that people think the riffs sound recycled from past Annihilator albums. To this I say, SO WHAT! I find it amusing that these same reviewers are praising the new Motörhead (an album I also like), yet it sounds like vintage Motörhead. Annihilator sound like Annihilator. However, I also think that Jeff Waters stepped out a bit on this one and experimented a bit with some newer sounds and styles. Personally, I like some of these elements. As a matter of fact, I think All For You is a nice blend of Setting the World on Fire and more recent Annihilator outputs. So while the reviewers are sitting around and complaining, I will be cranking All For One to eleven and banging my head.

Annihilator - Schizo Deluxe (Locomotive) 2005

1. "Maximum Satan" (4:36)
2. "Drive" (4:58)
3. "Warbird" (4:42)
4. "Plasma Zombies" (4:45)
5. "Invite It" (4:57)
6. "Like Father, Like Gun" (4:20)
7. "Pride" (4:56)
8. "Too Far Gone" (4:23)
9. "Clare" (6:46)
10. "Something Witchy" (5:22)
11. "Weapon X" (3:33)
12. "I A In Command" (3:53)
13. "Annihilator" (4:04)

I have read a number of reviews stating that Annhilator have returned to their thrash roots. To me "Schizo Deluxe" sounds "Alice in Hell," "Never, Neverland," and "All For You" thrown into a blender. In other words it still retains the modern feel of the past few albums and combines it with their classic sound for something truly amazing. The CD starts out with "Maximum Satan," a midpaced song with a rather nice chorus. However, I am not sure I would have picked this as the album's opening track as it doesn't represent the fury that will begin to unfold with "Drive", a song I think would have been a better album opener. "Warbird" is another mid-paced song that picks up the pace at points thoughout the song. This song reminds me of more modern Overkill. The scream at the end of this song is annoying! However, the song is very cool. After this, for the most part the mid-paced groove is left behind in favor of pure thrash metal. "Plasma Zombies" and "Invite It" respectively are both some of the finest songs to come from this metal machine. Fast riffs and insane solos as only Jeff Waters knows how to deliver. "Like Father, Like Gun" is a slower song with and takes issue with religious groups who raise their children to hate and kill. (ie. extreme muslums) "Pride" in another raging speed metal number with a scream at the end by Exciter's Dan Beehler. The last three songs are no less amazing. On the band's last album, I read a lot of negative reviews on new vocalist Dave Padden. However, other than some annoying metalcore/screamo type singing here and there, he has a very versitile voice. For most of the album Dave uses a very cool thrash vocal style, mixing in some clean parts here and there, as well as the occassional metalcore scream. As usual, Waters guitarwork is outstanding, from his fast, clean downpicking to the insane guitar solos. The CD finishes off with some bizzare noises that sounds like umpa lumpas or something. The Locomotive version also contains three bonus tracks. "Weapon X" was an exclusive track from "The One" EP from '04. "I Am In Command" and "Annihilator" sound like rough demo tracks. No information is given inside the liner notes about these tracks.

Metal Annihilator - Metal (SPV) 2007

1. "Clown Parade" (5:14)
2. "Couple Suicide" (3:54)
3. "Army Of One" (6:01)
4. "Downright Dominate" (5:13)
5. "Smothered" (5:09)
6. "Operation Annihilation" (5:16)
7. "Haunted" (8:05)
8. "Kicked" (5:56)
9. "Detonation" (3:54)
10. "Chasing The High" (6:16)

Jeff Waters 2007
Jeff Waters

Annihilator return in 2007 with their 12th full length studio album. Jeff Waters is still Annihilator's main man. He is to Annihilator what Lemmy is to Motorhead, or Dave Mustain to Megadeth. For some odd reason Jeff felt it necessary to bring in a host of guest musicians, many of which are from modern rock and metal bands. I think this may have been a bit detrimental to the band as many long-time fans wondered if Annihilator would move even more into a modern direction than they did on "Schizo Deluxe". All over the internet cries of "sellout" and "bandwagon jumping" were popping up. However, on his new CD, simply and aptly titled, "Metal", Waters' continues in the same direction that the band has been doing since 1999's "Criteria for a Black Widow". Personally, I think Waters just wanted to use some of the big names in metal to help gain him a bit of exposure, and why not? This is some good stuff. Perhaps not as fast or furious at times as some of the band's past thrashers, but still 100% heavy metal. That is not to say that "Metal" is full of modern rock riffs. Far from it. "Clown Parade" is a straight up thrasher with some amazing soloing by Nevermore's Jeff Loomis. "Army of One" celebrates the old school of heavy metal, with Anvil main man, Steve "Lips" Kudlow lending some lead work to the song. Can you get any more metal than Anvil? OK, the name checking of classic metal bands in the lyrics is probably a bit cheesy. I say, "so what!" Who doesn't like a little cheese every now and then. Shoot, was "Kraf Dinner" any less cheesy? It's all just part of the fun. "Downright Dominate" contains some incredible guitar riffing as well. Had this song been on "Alice in Hell", thrash fans would have been touting it as one of the band's best songs. "Operation Annihilation" is a mid-paced metal song complete with some precise, stacatto, guitar riffs and a sweet lead break by Arch Enemy's "Michael Amott". "Haunted" is another thrasher and features In Flames' Jesper Stromblad ripping through some guitar leads.

On the downside, there are some less than stellar moments. "Couple Suicide" sounds like Jeff was shooting for a modern, almost metalcore sound. It doesn't really work as well as the tracks where Jeff just sticks to what he does best. Also, I still don't think that Dave Padden is the best vocalist for Annihilator. I'd welcome the return of Joe Comeau. Yes, the list of guest is a bit daunting. Trendy flavor-of-the-month bands like Lamb of God and Trivium aren't what most fans of classic thrash and metal are after. However, those are only names who lent a hand with a solo or two and don't really have much to do with the overall sound of "Metal". Thus, "Metal" may not be Annihilator's best album, but it is a good album and far better than most are making it out to be. For a complete listing of guests, see the list below.

1. Clown Parade - feat. Jeff Loomis (Nevermore)
2. Couple Suicide - feat. Danko Jones (Danko Jones) & Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy)
3. Army Of One - feat. Steve 'Lips` Kudlow (Anvil)
4. Downright Dominate - feat. Alexi Laiho (Children Of Bodom)
5. Smothered - feat. Anders Bjørler (The Haunted)
6. Operation Annihilation - feat. Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)
7. Haunted - feat. Jesper Strømblad (In Flames)
8. Kicked - feat. Corey Beaulieu (Trivium)
9. Detonation - feat. Jacob Lynam (Lynam)
10. Chasing The High - feat. William Adler (Lamb Of God)
Guest backing vocals by Dan Beehler (ex-Exciter)

Annihilator - Live At Masters of Rock (SPV) 2009

1. Intro [instrumental] (1:49)
2. King of the Kill (4:43)
3. Blackest Day (5:24)
4. Operation Annihilation (6:02)
5. Clown Parade (4:47)
6. Set the World on Fire (5:17)
7. I Am in Command (4:41)
8. Never, Neverland (5:38)
9. Fun Palace (5:39)
10. Phantasmagoria (5:07)
11. W.T.Y.D. (5:09)
12. Wicked Mystic (4:33)
13. Alison Hell (6:53)
14. Shallow Grave (7:05)

Recorded for a live DVD at the Master of Rock Festival in 2009. Not much needs to really be said about this recording. The set list is balanced including contemporary tracks as well as classics from the band's early years.Longtime fans will enjoy well executed classics like "Fun Palace", "King of the Kill", "Set the World on Fire" and the fast paced "Welcome to Your Death". The newer tracks sit well beside the classics including the spirited "Operation Annihilation", the ultra-hooky "Clown Parade" and album closer "Shallow Grave". The band's performance is tight and the production is authentic and solid. It doesn't sound like the band went back and re-recorded much, if anything in the studio. Live At Masters of Rock is just a solid live CD release from Canada's finest.

Annihilator Annihilator (Earache) 2010

1.   The Trend (7:04)
2.   Coward (4:22)
3.   Ambush (3:22)
4.   Betrayed (4:34)
5.   25 Seconds (4:49)
6.   Nowhere To Go (5:08)
7.   The Other Side (4:20)
8.   Death In Your Eyes (5:58)
9.   Payback (4:48)
10. "Romeo Delight" (4:26)

Everyone's favorite psychopath, Alice, graces the front cover of Annihilator's thirteenth release. She looks a bit more demented than usual, even demon possessed. Perhaps this is a tell-tale sign of what to expect in the music? Is it a vicious thrash metal assault or an attempt at "staying current"?

To be quite honest, I didn't rush out to buy this one right away like I had other Annihilator releases because frankly, despite liking albums like "All for You", "Schizo Deluxe" and "Metal", they didn't absolutely grab me by the jugular like "Alice in Hell" and "Never, Neverland". Even reunion records like "Carnival Diablos" and "Waking the Fury" became regular players and would get my blood pumped up for some work at the gym. With this record, the hype was a return to the classic thrash metal sound. This time around, I think the hype is mostly true. Jeff Waters & company deliver a solid slab of intense speed and thrash metal. Dave Padden is back behind the mic again, and is probably Annihilator's longest running vocalist. As with past albums, his voice does add a slightly more modern vibe to the music, but I don't find him distracting whatsoever.

The album opens melodically, sounding like a more traditional heavy metal approach, before bursting into a machine gun riff. The follow-up tracks bring up the intensity and speed even more. Both "Coward" and "Ambush" offer more machine gun-like riffing and quick tempos. However, as usual for Annihilator, they don't stick to straight forward thrash metal. There are some more melodic moments and even some slightly more modern influences. "25 Seconds", for example, borrows from current trends in heavy music with harsher vocals and a hardcore vibe. "Nowhere to Go", on the other hand, borrows heavily from the classic, melodic, classic heavy metal bands. Despite me using the word "borrow", Annihilator are not really ripping off anyone. They have their own distinct sound. The album ends with Annihilator giving a thrash metal treatment to Van Halen's "Romeo Delight". A very cool choice for a cover song. This self-titled thirteenth album is definitely more gripping than the the band's past few efforts, and more akin to their classic sound. It may never to "Alice in Hell" but I'm enjoying it at least as much as "Carnival Diablos" and "Waking the Fury".

Feast Annihilator - Feast (UDR) 2013

1. Deadlock (4:22)
2. No Way Out (5:19)
3. Smear Campaign (4:!5)
4. No Surrender (5:36)
5. Wrapped (3:46)
6. Perfect Angel Eyes (4:26)
7. Demon Code (6:22)
8. Fight The World (6:53)
9. One Falls, Two Rise (8:33)

I really thought the band's 2011 self-titled album was fantastic. Even after putting it down for some time then picking it back up, I found it just as enjoyable as when I first started playing it. "Feast" is the follow-up their excellent self-titled album and is another big, heaping helping of speed and thrash metal. The album is stacked with killer shredding solos, superb drumming and Dave Padden's now signature vocals. From "Metal" to "Annihilator" and now "Feast", Padden just continues to get better with each album. 

The self-titled album had some outright scorchers, like "Betrayed" and "The Trend," and Feast does not waver from the speed-fest. "Deadlock" is an out and out scorcher, while "No Way Out" starts out with those moody dissonant chords before also challenging the speed of sound. Waters has always had a way with catchy riffs in spite of the speed.

As with any Annihilator album there are also the diversions from the usual chug and speed. "No Surrender" presents one of the album's curveballs, the song opening with some funk bass guitar and contains some Living Colour style riffing mixed in with the usual thrash metal fare. Jeff brings back guest vocalist Danko Jones (who also provided guest vocals on 2007's "Metal") for "Wrapped." The experimentation on both these songs work very well. The only song that really doesn't work is the ballad "Perfect Angel Eyes", which comes off a sappy and just breaks up the momentum the album builds to that point. 

It's actually pretty impressive that Annihilator are fourteen albums into their career and still cranking out albums as good as "Feast". They still have the speed and aggression that they had back in the 1980's, only with more modern production values. 

Annihilator - Suicide Society (UDR) 2015

1. Suicide Society (3:50)
2. My Revenge (5:07)
3. Snap (4:55)
4. Creepin' Again (4:17)
5. Narcotic Avenue (5:30)
6. The One You Serve (5:45)
7. Break, Enter (5:48)
8. Death Scent (5:12)
9. Every Minute (5:00)

The Ravenstreet Sessions
1.  Deadlock (5:25)
2.  Set The World On Fire (4:51)
3.  Knight Jumps Queen (4:35)
4.  Ambush (3:40)
5.  Never, Neverland (6:01)
6.  Time Bomb (5:19)
7.  Smear Campaign (4:55)
8.  Carnival Diablos (5:18)
9.  Reduced To Ash (3:17)
10.  I Am In Command (4:26)
Jeff Talks
11.  Jeff Talks "Suicide Society" (1:19)
12.  Jeff Talks "Creepin' Again" (1:15)
13. Jeff Talks "Snap" (:39)
14. Jeff Talks "Narcotic Avenue" (:38)
15. Jeff Talks "My Revenge" (1:08)
16. Jeff Talks "The One You Serve" (:58)
17. Jeff Talks "Break, Enter" (2:02)
18. Jeff Talks "Death Scent" (:32)
19. Jeff Talks "Every Minute" (1:36)

Canadian thrash metal band ANNIHILATOR has returned with their fifteenth studio album Suicide Society. If past albums weren't the Jeff Waters show, this one most certainly is. With vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dave Padden exiting the band, Waters has taken over vocal duties in addition to recording all the guitar and bass parts on this record. In addition he wrote, produced, mixed and mastered Suicide Society. The only thing Jeff didn’t do on this album was play drums; they were again played by Mike Harshaw, who also played on Feast (2013). It's not the first album where Jeff was the all-in-all. Back in 1994 the "King of the Kill" album was also recorded the same with with the help of a drummer.

The album starts off wit the title track, which I personally feel is one of the weaker tracks on the album. The song has a bit of a modern groove metal vibe, though there is a bit of a modern Megadeth vibe as well. The next track is a killer and should have been the opener. This song is a thrasher that reminds me of Metallica's "Damage Inc.". "Snap" the return to the more groove oriented sound. This mix of thrashers and groove metal becomes the vibe of the album. Songs like "Creepin' Again" and "Break, Enter" having that thrash metal vibe while "Narcotic Avenue" and  "The One You Serve" being more melodic and groove-laden. Overall, this album is not too far removed from "Feast" and is more or less a continuation of that sound.

Disc two in this special edition features some live-in-the-studio recordings titled "The Ravenstreet Sessions". These are suppose to be the final recordings with former vocalist Dave Padden. The band rips through a set of songs from all over the band's catalog. The sound on these tracks is fantastic. The band is tight and if they made any mistakes, they weren't immediately noticeable. From the liner notes, this recording session was a surprise to the band, save for Waters. The last nine tracks are some dialog from Jeff Waters about the lyrics on the album. He explains his inspiration and gives some insight into the lyric. In a nutshell, he continues to exercise his demons and sings about ideas that are close to him; society/the environment ("Suicide Society"), relationships ("Snap"), drug abuse ("Narcotic Avenue") and being the victim of criminal breaking and entering ("Break, Enter").

The special digi-book is oversized and features one of those 3-D style covers.

Annihilator - Triple Threat (UDR) 2017

Recorded live at Bang Your Head!!! festival in 2016
01. King of the Kill (5:57)
02. No Way Out (5:56)
03. Creepin' Again (5:45)
04. Set the World on Fire (4:57)
05. Welcome to Your Death (4:59)
06. Never, Neverland (6:45)
07. Bliss (1:28)
08. Second to None (5:54)
09. Refresh the Demon (5:57)
10. Alison Hell (6:53)
11. Phantasmagoria (5:27)
12. Crystal Ann
13. Phoenix Rising

Acoustic versions recorded live at Watersound Studios in 2016.
01. Sounds Good to Me (4:55)
02. Bad Child (4:03)
03. Innocent Eyes (4:20)
04. Snake in the Grass (4:54)
05. Fantastic Things (5:01)
06. Holding On (4:10)
07. Stonewall (5:48)
08. In the Blood (4:27)
09. Crystal Ann (2:07)
10. Phoenix Rising (3:55)

I bought Triple Threat immediately upon it's release not even checking out what it was. All I knew was that it was Annihilator and that was enough for me. Of course "Triple Threat" is actually collection of live tracks and acoustic tracks. Disc one of this collection is recorded live at Bang Your Head Festival! The band consists of Jeff Waters along with second guitarist Aaron Homma, bassist Rich Hinks (both joining the band in '15), and Italian drummer Fabio Alessandrini. It's this group of musicians who back a mohawked Waters shredding and unleashing a barrage of machine gun riffs at the 2016 Bang Your Head Festival. The track listing is fairly spread across the band's catalog including a couple of newer tunes, "No Way Out" and "Creepin' Again". Both song sound at home with classics such as "Never, Neverland", "W.T.Y.D. (Welcome to Your Death) ", ""Phantasmagoria", "Refresh the Demon", "King of the Kill", "Second to None", "Alison Hell" and the vastly underrated "Set the World on Fire". The band is tight, the crowd energetic, the recording is crystal clear. Thus this disc is a great listen from beginning to end.

With Disc Two I feared the worst. In fact I avoided the disc for well over a year. I mean, Annihilator are a speed metal/thrash band. I'm just not sure I want to hear these songs stripped down and done acoustic. It's no secret that Jeff Waters is as much a sucker for a mellow track as he is for an upbeat thrasher. There certainly is nothing wrong with that and he's written some stellar tracks over the decades. Upon finally getting into the mood where I might enjoy such a trek,I gave live at Watersound Studios as spin. It's obvious the band was having fun tearing down these songs to their bare minimum and I am sure that I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the studio for that experience. However, I find that I am just not a big fan of acoustic albums and I don't see myself revisiting this one very often. However, disc one is worth the price of admission alone. Consider disc two as a bonus disc for the curious.

For the Demented Annihilator - For the Demented (UDR) 2017

1. Twisted Lobotomy (4:44)
2. One to Kill (4:43)
3. For the Demented (5:22)
4. Pieces of You (6:10)
5. The Demon You Know (4:43)
6. Phantom Asylum (6:14)
7. Altering the Alter (5:05)
8. The Way (3:18)
9. Dark [instrumental] (2:09)
10. Not All There (5:42)

Another year, another Annihilator album and yet another change in line-up. So are we given more of the same. Sort of. I mean, Jeff Waters and Annihilator have strayed from their roots but for the most part, you know what you are going to get with an Annihilator album, and that seems to be the case here too. However, were-as I enjoyed recent releases such as "Feast" and "Suicide Society", after the initial buzz wore off, I didn't really revisit them much. Fortunately that is not been the case with "For the Demented". In fact, upon writing this the album has been out for a year and I cannot even count the number of times I have spun this thrash metal gem while speeding down the highway in my car.

Jeff Waters once again takes on vocal duties and does a fine job. However, it's not necessarily his vocals that make this album compelling. Rather it Waters' technical, speed metal sound built around his signature riffing and digital buzz-saw guitar tone. As well, the album is peppered with memorable hooks, whether those hooks be musical or vocal. For the most part the songs are fast and heavy. Tracks like "Twisted Lobotomy" and "The Demon You Know" are easily some of the finest thrash metal songs Waters has written. However, the speed is broken up by two tracks, "Pieces" which is a dark and melodic number with some very bizarre and disturbing lyrics about becoming one with someone by eating them piece by piece. There is also the short instrumental "Dark" which acts as a musical intro for the albums final track "Not All There". This also happens to be another stellar cut from the album. The song sounds like classic Annihilator though it does have an uncharacteristic jazzy break in the middle of the song.  Overall, this is a solid album and one that I have and will revisit over and over again.

Back to Index