What else do you get in the great white North of the Americas apart from extremely kind people? Of course, heavy frigging metal, and especially the one and only ANNIHILATOR. This Canadian engine is over three decades old and is still going strong with all guns blazing, Jeff Waters and co. are back with yet another album, amassing their catalog to a whopping 16 records in total with the release of “For The Demented“; out this November 3rd via Silver Lining Records. Two years in the making and a quick successor to 2015’s “Suicide Society“, the all new “For The Demented” features the work of new drummer and bassist Fabio Alessandrini and Rich Hinks, respectively, adding to the ever persistent changes in the history of the band’s line-up.
So, does ANNIHILATOR‘s sweet 16th really sound sweet? Let’s find out!
Jeff Waters has really no time for some intro or mellow shit to kick start the album. The moment the checkered flag goes off on the album, it’s straight forward from of the vault, 80s rabid paced thrash metal. Opening track “Twisted Lobotomy” throws you off the cliff in a cesspool of frenetic frenzy with lightning speed riffs and relentless drum hitting. High squealing guitars and obviously Jeff’s trademark vocals along with absolutely insane riffs spawning like electric charges from a Tesla coil at tremendous speed, and some killer grooves sprinkled in the mid-section of the song shows that even after three decades Jeff has every answer to hit back on critics’ faces. Great start to the album!
The speed resonates in the second song, “One To Kill” but with a much more organized and groovy rhythm and pace. The rhythm riff is one of the best to be honest, its not something extraordinarily new but just pure and good old thrash riffage. Moving ahead to the title track, it begins with a rather hard rock-esque clean tune, then all of a sudden Jeff decides to change the tempo, beat everything which segues into a repetitive riff. It has a catchy tune and isn’t too bad for a title track. As the winds of change begin to blow as we advance ahead deep into the album, next we stumble upon the melodic, and clean guitar driven number, “Pieces Of You“. This is what many thrash bands have been doing off late, throwing in a mellow track amidst the chaos in their albums, maybe a breather for the fans? Or are they trying to achieve what the glam bands did back in the 80s, of including a cheesy rock ballad? Well, who cares, until the song is good, right? And that’s exactly what this track achieves, it manages to capture the soul of the listener and I’d go further on and say, this is one of the best tracks on the album. They don’t say Jeff’s a legend for nothing!
The next song that really captured my attention was “The Way“, surprisingly enough this track kinda came in as a shocker. I say this because the song barely has any modern or 80s thrash vibe to it, it is more punk rock driven. Its like Green Day and The Ramones fell in love and had a kid? Its mainly rhythm driven with just a few solos scattered here and there. The vocals are also kinda punk rock-ish. I don’t know how to feel about it, but well maybe many of you might dig it. The penultimate track “Dark” aptly named is some kind of an interlude, ambient and thought provoking one. Final track “Not All There“, closes the album and did not raise my eyebrows with awe as the album opener did. It is a bit ambient, funky with a wah wah thrown in there but not at all a bad track.
So, ANNIHILATOR‘s sweet 16th did wreck some shit up, but also did fall hard on some “okay-ish” tracks like the final track, and “The Demon You Know“. There were also major thrash highlights that compensate for the fall down, tracks like “Twisted Lobotomy“, “One To Kill” really cranked up the speed levels to insane levels with riffs going faster than a cancer cell spreading, and drumming that could induce epilepsy in any bloke. To add variety and break the monotony Jeff also did some splendid work on adding melody to the album in the form of “Pieces Of You“. Surprise track “The Way” went back to thrash metal’s roots in punk rock. Overall, we do have a pretty kickass record taking into consideration all of the above facts and diversity of the music. Certainly not ANNIHILATOR‘s best or near to it, but definitely “For The Demented” is one of those records I wouldn’t mind going back listening to. Well done Jeff and co.!
Buy “For The Demented” HERE!