You have to admire the tenacity of Jeff Waters,lead guitarist and founder of Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator. He formed Annihilator in 1984 and although he will never reach the upper echelons of the so called Big 4 he has earned a lot of respect from fans and bands that they have inspired. On a UK tour a few years ago,headlining band Trivium personally brought Annihilator over as support with lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu joining them onstage to jam. Even though Annihilator have never attained mass appeal they are still the highest selling Canadian heavy metal band with over 2 million Worldwide album sales!
It is fair to say that Annihilator are mostly well known for their 1st 2 releases. Alice In Hell (1989) and Never Neverland (1990) but their latest release and 14th studio album Feast is up there with them in quality . Feast shows that Annihilator are still top of their game and Jeff’s guitar work on it shows why he is still a major influence as he riffs it up a storm throughout the album with his trademark fills cropping up everywhere. Feast has a European release date of August 26th 2013 and a North American date on the following day on the UDR label. There will be a CD jewel case format,gatefold vinyl and a digital download but of most interest to Annihilator fans is a limited edition eco-book format with a 3D cover including a free bonus disc entitled “Re-Kill” containing 15 re-recorded Annihilator tracks in 2012 from their back catalogue
So onto Feast and any doubts about how good it will be are dispelled within seconds as the facemelting thrash riffs of Deadlock surge out of the speakers. They give way to clubbing staccato rhythms with teasing underlying melodies. Of course no Annihilator song would be without one of Jeff’s over the top guitar solos and he does not disappoint here with some fast and furious footwork from drummer Mike Harshaw backing him. Other highlights include 2nd track No Way Out which begins with a serrated multi tracked guitar intro followed by hard and heavy riffing as the song careers to an end in a fast paced speed metal workout. Smear Campaign highlights Mike Harshaw’s ability once again as his drum patterns dominate over a rolling main guitar riff with a warp speed midsection.
Wrapped is a showcase for Jeff’s virtuosity as this mid paced number is full of riffs and fills to have Joe Satriani looking over his shoulder;a string and mind bending song! Fight The World,running in at almost 7 minutes oozes in on a piano intro joined by piercing melodic guitar lines as it shifts into pounding heavy metal with a jaw dropping midsection full of some of the fastest passages i have heard from Annihilator.Album closing track One Falls,Two Rise is another lengthy opus (8 minutes),full of light and shade. A lilting guitar intro backed by a lone pleading vocal gives way to a steady shift of pace before heading off at mach speed at about the 2 minute mark. A mid paced chugging thrash midsection is swept away by a searing guitar solo as the song ends in a melodic outro but my highlight of the album is surprisingly the quietest track on Feast.
Perfect Angel Eyes is a real curve ball on Feast. In the midst of all the metal this heartfelt acoustic ballad begins with a gentle guitar intro over a single vocal which builds and builds as the vocal tracks increase. It is so far removed from the rest of the album but easily the best track.
The free bonus album with the eco-book format of Feast is a curio to say the least and each play brings something new to the fore each time. It is strange to hear some of the early songs that had Randy Rampage and Coburn Pharr on vocals now sung by current vocalist Dave Padden. His vocal on Alison Hell is not as piercing as that of Randy Rampage but he adds some real grit to King Of The Kill,a nice melodic vocal to Never Neverland and roars new life into WTYD and Word Salad. As befitting a remaster,the music is a step up from the original recordings with Jeff’s riffs and solos coming to the fore and WTYD seems faster than the original with another drum assault from Mike Harshaw. For new fans it is a good introduction to Annihilator and an awesome reminder to old fans that Jeff has not turned his back on the older material. August the 26th/27th will be the time to feast on Feast!
Annihilator band line up :-
Jeff Waters – Lead guitar.
Dave Padden – Lead vocals/guitar.
Mike Harshaw – Drums.
Alberto Campuzano – Bass guitar.
No Way Out.
Perfect Angel Eyes.
Fight The World.
One Falls,Two Rises.
Re-Kill track listing :-
King Of The Kill.
Set The World On Fire.
WTYD (Welcome To Your Death).
Refresh The Demon.