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With all due respect for the good that they have accomplished, Annihilator is one of those bands that always ends up coming off as desperate. Ever since they got something resembling a line-up back together for 1999's "Criteria For A Black Widow," every other album released in the 2000's has been hyped as being the band's true return to form. When considering everything that this album has going for and against it, it goes without saying that this is one of the most desperate albums ever made...
Oddly enough, this may actually be the most focused Annihilator album to come out since "Waking The Fury." The production is nicely polished, the instruments all manage to stand out, and there aren't too many things that seem to be out of place in comparison to the past few efforts. While vocalist Dave Padden will still be an acquired taste for many and has a number of awkward moments on here, he seems to have gotten a little more comfortable with his place in the band and doesn't sound as rough as before. In addition, Waters' guitar playing is as strong as ever and drummer Mike Mangini puts on another great performance for his third time around.
Much has been made of the guest musicians that appear on this album, most of them having been pulled from the metalcore and melodic death metal scenes. While the appearances are incredibly gimmicky and wouldn't have been recognized by ignorant folks such as myself if unannounced, the solos themselves are fairly decent. The cameos that are truly weird are those made on "Couple Suicide" by Danko Jones and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow. They both sound incredibly out of place with the latter even weakening the track with her death grunts. It probably would've been better to give them separate tracks or not use them at all...
Over half of the songs are fast paced speed metal fodder but there is a decent amount of variety to be found here. In addition to the unclassifiable "Couple Suicide" (alternative deathrash rock?), "Operation Annihilation" and "Detonation" are solid mid-tempo marches while "Haunted" and "Kicked" feature more melodic moments between the faster bits. "Clown Parade" is definitely the strongest track and is easily the best track recorded during the Padden era so far. I also like "Operation Annihilation" in spite of it ripping the chorus riff straight out of "Set The World On Fire" and "Detonation" is rather catchy though it does have a few adolescent moments...
Speaking of adolescence, the lyrics on here don't exactly help make things that much better. Not exactly offering much in the topical department, the lyrics tend to contradict themselves a lot and go between themes of determination and doubt with bits about the metal business here and there. While I understand what they were trying to do, a lot of songs end up sounding condescending with the spoken bit on "Smothered" in particular rubbing the listener the wrong way.
All in all, this is an incredibly flawed album that seems to deserve the negative reception that it has garnered. However, there are some good moments that I have found while listening to it and still find it to be a rather consistent listen when compared to "All For You" and "Schizo Deluxe." If anything, you could call it a guilty pleasure...
My Current Favorites:
"Clowns On Parade," "Downright Dominate," "Operation Annihilation," "Haunted," and "Detonation"
Everyone who gave a positive review for this album would be deemed a poser and banished from the Archives forever! I guess that's why I am not in power :'(
Annihilator are an unintelligent preachy band that has been masquerading as "thrash metal" for years. Yes, most people will agree that Alice in Hell was their best album, but to me that is far from thrash. Speed metal albums with an occasional sign of heaviness do not equal thrash. However, for what it was it was a good album and that is not the album I am reviewing here.
It goes like this:
This is the worst album ever made.
Now, we all know that Annihilator are the king of posers. Alright, scratch that not all of us do. However, for the SANE people out there who haven't had the displeasure of hearing this:
Here we have an album where the attempt is to be full-out bad ass thrash metal. Hell, they even named the album "Metal" and have a bunch of guests from people in the "metal scene."
Now this fails on so many levels, but let me begin with the issue with what I just mentioned. Now alright, I can't take off points for the album name but, it throws up an immediate red flag in my mind. Also, why do they need random guests on every song when they have a prominent lead guitarist who can play any of the solos done by the guests to begin with (though Loomis is much better than him). The guests consist of members from In Flames, Arch Enemy, Trivium, Lamb of God, the Haunted...and others. Now if you're thinking "Wow! That is a superstar lineup of bands!" then you might as well just buy this fucking album. However, if (like me) that screams "Attempted Cash grab here!" then this will only provide comedy value. The guests add literally nothing good to the songs, and Angela Gossow actually manages to be much, much worse than she is in Arch Enemy.
As for the music. Basically, we have some of the most bland riffs ever. I don't know why anyone would be expected to go into details because this adequately describes the music on the entire album: Groove, with Emo vocals.
That is all.
However, for the sake of the review I will continue.
Basically, Jeff Waters has talent, but couldn't write a thrash riff to save his life. The riffs are heavily distorted and repetitive blandness. How can I specifically describe something so bland? Well, basically the level of thrash here is very (and I mean very) comparable to Trivium. If you think Trivium is true thrash metal, then again...this album might just be for you. They basically are poppy nu-metal riffs, and trivium styled breakdown/hook choruses, with groove thrown in off and on.
Vocal wise, my largest comparison would probably be, as I think was mentioned, to Avenged Sevenfold. If you like their vocals...well you know the rest. Honestly though, Dave Padden is one of the worst vocalists, in any band on this entire site. He has NO edge whatsoever, and isn't a talented clean vocalist either. He appears to be tone-deaf. Yes, his notes are often off-key and awkwardly-pitch, but it isn't even just that. He seriously sounds like a wannabee pop-star, and a bad one at that! I think he is tone def. He doesn't even sound like he is TRYING to be metal, until the pathetic attempted shouts which wouldn't intimidate a short, frail, ninety-five year old woman. Whiney as fuck. Also, if you want to (for some reason) hear one of the worst duets of all time, listen to the chorus of "Couple Suicide." Angela Gossow and Danko Jones (who the fuck?) manage to possibly outsuck the other vocals in the album...
So there we should have it, but unfortunately I have one last thing that I can not (in good conscience) neglect to mention. The lyrics. Alright, so this album is clearly about as "poser-ish" as it gets with the guests thrown in and the title, but the icing on the cake has to be the lyrics. If you want to hear the WORST lyrics EVER written, listen to the track "Army of One." They are essentially about standing the test of time along with all the other great metal bands! Give me a fucking break. Oh and, in case we aren't aware of the metal bands that we "should be" grouping Annihilator with, they were kind even to name them off for us in the middle of the song! "Anthrax and Motorhead....Exodus, Slayer, bang your head!!" Brilliant, just brilliant.
Scoring Summary: Fuck this...yes there are guitar solos on this album, and actually a few decent ones...but, ANY points I would award this album for that technical proficiency, would be immediately subtracted, for using said occasional amounts of technical proficiency to lure people into thinking that this is real fucking metal! A good riff or two thrown in to this blasphemy is nothing more than an insult!
Nothing is as offensive to the real Metal genre, as disingenuous, as much of a sell out (and there are many) and as flat out stupid as this album! ZERO, and damn do I wish I could rate it lower. I can't even award anything for the comedy value, as Annihilator take themselves so seriously that it is just insulting. Hell, I will award at least a point to every other album I review, just for NOT being THIS album. Godawful.
Metal? I don't think so.
As the title suggests, this is album is just another Annihilator album after 1990's Never, Neverland. Basically, after the band's outstanding sophomore effort, which followed their thrash masterpiece debut, Alice In Hell, Jeff Waters ran out of original and creative ideas. Now that doesn't mean that this album, or any of their other albums, are bad. Metal does indeed have it's moments but all the same, it isn't great.
One unique thing about Metal is each track has guest performances, mainly guitar players such as modern metal shredders Alexi Laiho, Michael Amott, Jeff Loomis, and Will Adler, although the only thing they add is guitar solos. The guest performance idea wasn't a bad one, but really doesn't add much to the album.
As the band's mastermind since the beginning, Jeff Waters once again wrote every track for the album; music and lyrics. That said, my comments about those two aspects are directed at him. To start off, I will list the positive things. As always, Waters is able to come up with some very good riffs, such as the riffs to Downright Dominate, Couple Suicide, and Army of One. All the same, though, some of the riffs get boring and are very repeatative such as the main riffs to Clown Parade and Operation Annihilation and even with the good riffs, none of them are metal classics nor will match their masterpiece Alison Hell. The leads on this album are probably the strongest aspect. Waters has always been an exceptional soloist and this album doesn't fail to show that. While most of the soloing is technical shredding, he also adds a lot o harmony and melody to his soloing, something he's been doing since Alice In Hell. The addition of tradeoff solos and the unique styles of the guest performances (Laiho, Loomis, Amott, etc.) add on to the soloing power.
The rhythem section is powerful, as with most Annihilator's albums. When I say powerful, I mean they keep in time and work well together. Still, the drumming isn't even close to anything by Dave Lombardo or Tom Hunting, or even Annihilator's original drummer, Ray Hartmann (very underrated drummer, in my opinion). The bass is done by Waters, like most Annihilator albums. One thing that really hooks me is how much the bass sound is heard. On Metal, the bass isn't hidden behind the guitars and that's a plus for me. While the bass is mainly following the guitars, there are still some good fills.
The vocals are done by Dave Padden, who's been with the band since 2003, which is a VERY long time for Annihilator. I've always like his voice, he has some nice melodic touches and some powerful, aggressive vocals too. But he doesn't have much variety and stays within the same range throughout the whole album. Thankfully, Dave isn't blamed for the lame and stupid lyrics he sings. Again, that will be directed at Waters. The final factor of the album is it's weatest part; the lyrics. Wow. Even Rob Halford can come up with better lyrics than this. I mean, the only way to describe the lyrics here are dumb and lame. Just listen to Downright Dominate or Operation Annihilation. The titles suggest it all. While for the most part, the lyrics aren't suppose be a big factor in heavy metal, this album crosses the line.
Going back to the title of my review, this is basically what every post-Never, Neverland album sounds like, some for the better, and some for the worse. This is really quite a shame, since the band's first two albums were amazing, interesting, creative, and originial. Every album after that, for the most part, lacks these qualities. The only thing that can be said for this album is an average, generic thrash album. I'll listen to it, I can do that just fine, but I can't call it a recommendation for any Annihilator fan, save for diehard fans. Most old school Annihilator/thrash fans will call this album extreme crap. While I wouldn't call it that bad, I will say that they have good reason to do so.
Overall, this album is just a filler album that only the die hard, open minded metalheads can possibly enjoy. Personally, I think it's decent, but no where near a must have. For Annihilator, go with Alice In Hell and/or Never, Neverland, and maybe Set the World On Fire or Carnival Diablos. If you want to give this album a try, go ahead. Who knows, maybe you'll enjoy it. But be warned. You will be taking a big risk.
Annhilator’s debut full length, Alice In Hell, is often considered an excellent piece of music in the thrash metal repertoire. Times have changed and Annihilator main man, Jeff Waters, has felt the need to change the sound of the band for no obvious reason. Now, Annihilator play more modern groove orientated music.
Metal is not an apt title for this album, although it appears to be a selling point yet not as major a selling point as the number of guest appearances on this album, enough to make any rap artist blush. People from the likes of Arch Enemy, Nevermore, Children Of Bodom, Trivium, Lamb Of God and The Haunted make appearances on this album, mostly dropping a solo in a song (Jeff Loomis’ being arguably the best). In Angela Gossow and Danko Jones’ case, an almost confusing vocal combination is featured on ‘Couple Suicide’.
The use of guitar on ‘Haunted’ creates a nice spooky atmosphere, which is corroborated by the sound of wind at the end. ‘Kicked’ utilizes some excellent drumming and the bass is suitably muscular. The biggest let down on this album appear to be the vocals. The use of rap takes place on ‘Army Of One’ where the lyrics appear to be relating to the thrash metal of old and staying true to yourself, which will irk plenty of listeners. The vocals come off as whiney and the growls featured throughout are completely unnecessary. They really do strangle the album.
All in all, this album is certainly not the best way to get into Annihilator. While it has it’s moments (which are genuinely few and far between), it appears to be more for the younger Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Lamb of God crowd rather than those who have been listening to thrash metal for years.
Originally written for www.rockbeast.co.uk
I’m a sucker for comeback stories, there’s just no getting around it. I gave up on Annihilator quite a while ago as ever being relevant to the thrash metal scene again, but every time there’s a self-perpetuated rumor thrown out by the band that they’re back in business, I always end up tracking the album down in hopes of hearing a miracle, despite it just about never happening. In the case of this latest incarnation of the band and their new opus plainly titled “Metal”, what lays in store for the old time fans of classics like “Alice In Hell” and “Never, Neverland” is a disappointment, but a bit slighter of one than other recent non-thrash comebacks/debacles.
Although this is far closer to a full thrash album than a lot of what they’ve put out in the past 17 years, this doesn’t qualify as a pure thrash metal album. Elements of this fall into the power/thrash style, but for the most part this is a metalcore release in the Trivium or Killswitch Engage model with a few melodic death characteristics. For an album of this persuasion, it’s pretty good and shows a pretty competent display of lead guitar mastery, but sometimes it just gets caught in these groove sections that throw off the whole feel of the album, or presents these annoying harmonized vocal pre-choruses that are way too squeaky clean and whiny sounding for a band putting itself as a returning thrash outfit.
Ultimately, the thing that keeps this from really taking off is the seemingly utter refusal of stylistic consistency, which shows a little more in the vocal performance but also within the music. Sometimes the guy kick out some vintage speed metal in a Helstar meets Megadeth sort of fashion, at others there’s some stuff similar to Halford’s solo work, but we also get a good amount of unnecessary groove breakdowns in several songs, almost like going 75 mph on the expressway and suddenly hitting a massive speed bump. Dave Padden’s vocals aren’t necessarily terrible, but they lend themselves more to a Matt Barlow meets Howard Jones style, though lacking the former’s versatile range and the thickness of the latter’s voice, which doesn’t really fit. Furthermore, all of these damned vocal guest slots don’t do anything for the listen other than further rob this album of any consistency it still has.
The musically bipolar tendencies are sometimes lessened by the amount of busyness going on in the stylistic department. The best example is “Haunted”, which has enough guitar solos to rival Megadeth’s “Hanger 18” and occasionally some crazy technical death metal sounding riffs that almost emulate Cryptopsy. Another is “Detonation”, which has this sort of duel doom meets groove feel to it that actually works pretty well. In fact, the only examples of a consistent style being stuck to in a song are the opening one. “Clown Parade” definitely invoked some strong “Painkiller” era Judas Priest tendencies and gets my pick for the best song on here, helped in no small part by Padden laying off the screams for most of the song, as he can’t pull them off well at all.
Naturally being a metalcore album with some groove tendencies, we have some certifiable failures at songwriting within this passable release. “Kicked” is the first obvious pick as it spends a minute in rock ballad land before even going, and then goes into those cliché and annoying stop and start styled riffs that Trivium are well known. “Couple Suicide” trades off horribly annoying metalcore vocals with sectional meandering between annoying syncopated grooves and easy listening rock nonsense. “Smothered” features emocore riffing in the Avenged Sevenfold model, and like the other two previously mentioned stinkers features depressing/frustrated lyrics that come off as either disingenuous or whiny due to the unconvincing musical atmosphere and vocal performance.
The ultimate assessment of this is relatively positive for a metalcore release, although it should be noted that what it stands above is not something one would brag about being associated with. Jeff Waters is essentially settling for being a big fish in a small pond, in the same manner that Phil Demmel did last year when he joined Machine Head and put out a similar album in “The Blackening”, which is kind of sad considering that both Waters and Demmel were both giant bull sharks in the grand sea of thrash metal. If you want to purchase this, it’s basically a bargain bin gem. And all fans of thrash metal would be advised to disregard this label, because calling this by that genre is categorically inaccurate.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on September 14, 2008.
I know what you’re thinking: “Metal” is probably just another crappy Annihilator record lacking essential qualities to make it seem remotely enjoyable. While such an idea has been completely accurate before, it’s not proper to give the release in question an identical label, because this does not suck at all. In fact, “Metal” impressively ties up the regression of “Schizo Deluxe” by smartly holding heaviness and memorable 80s textures together. Despite screwing up again and again…and again, longtime guitarist Jeff Waters has finally organized his mentality and created something the planet never deemed possible: an Annihilator release after 1990 that doesn’t totally blow ass.
Believe it or not, Waters’ twelfth recording really doesn’t have any musical fads at all, but that’s not possible, right? I mean an Annihilator album containing speedy heavy metal licks, technical percussion, and Waters’ insane solos while simultaneously avoiding mass repetition could never happen! Ironically, that’s what “Metal” is all about. Every anthem fearlessly follows a blatant pattern of heavy-as-hell instrumentation without cycling the same design endlessly; it’s like they’ve finally snapped back into decency after years of absence. “Couple Suicide” is really the only awful track because of Danko Jones’ whiny voice and Angela Gossow’s pseudo-growls trying to fit underneath a stupid funk vibe, which ends in total disaster; however, it’ll quickly perish when encountering this CD’s nine remaining songs. Overall, this is a very solid effort that obediently lives up to its name by refusing groove or nu-metal touches when given proper advances.
Dave Padden acted unfit for Annihilator’s criteria by forging multiple vocal atrocities, yet “Metal” clamps down on his woes and gives rejuvenation to Padden’s tarnished reputation. Instead of annoying screams, Annihilator’s seventh singer utilizes an aggressive tone more fitting for the metallic barrage, which was really the only problem with his past performances. Now that he’s in place, Dave sounds well-balanced for Waters’ ever-changing musical agenda whether singing over a thrash riff or some mid-paced dicer. And I think a lot of you will appreciate Paddon cracks down on his emo whines as there is an effort to minimize it despite seldom appearances in restricted intervals.
Walking alongside Waters’ band is a cart containing ten hand-picked visitors appearing to glaze their own talents over Annihilator’s comeback, although the whole concept isn’t too beneficial overall. This selection of well-known musicians doesn’t impact “Metal” much as anyone could easily find both positives and negatives depending on the guest and circumstance, but how each person feels strongly relies on the individual’s own taste in metal. For example, Nevermore fans will most likely praise “Clowns on Parade” as this album’s best track due to Jeff Loomis’ distinct soloing style, yet anyone that detests his leads won’t have a mutual feeling; that’s basically how the guest appearances work. It’ll feel good hearing some new voices and instrumental qualities in Annihilator’s camp, yet such a large attachment will just feel limited in its perks.
Aside from an occasional distraction, “Metal” proudly stands over previous Annihilator blunders with its multiple degrees of triumphant cleverness and mighty dynamism. It’s really nice to finally here an album from these crazy Canadians that represents core metallic values while shoving trendy textures away; something Annihilator hasn’t ever done. Calling this a masterpiece would be a grand exaggeration as it is flawed; however, “Metal” warmly shows concrete evidence of Annihilator’s evolving nature while reentering their old-school roots quite nicely. My only advice would be to ignore all the illogical bigotry and try out a few tunes before coughing up cash on Jeff Waters’ twelfth full-length offering.
Well this is terrible. I know people will look at the rating and say "Awww, it's not that bad" but it is, and a general level of poppy listenability only makes this more offensive than it would otherwise be. I was a fan of Annihilator from the beginning, from my first bootleg tape dub of their Phantasmagoria demo. But let's be honest, after the admitted awesomeness of Alice In Hell this band never produced anything really good again, and they have been coasting on their reputation ever since.
Every time a new Annihilator album comes out, they make a big deal about this being a 'return to the roots', but it never, ever is. Even the statement is suspect: is Jeff admitting that everything he's done since Set The World On Fire is disposable crap? Because that's not really news. The terrible truth about Metal is that it's lacking the Nu- before the album title. The guitars on here are a disgrace, being oddly muted and badly mixed into a smooth, commercial gloss as featureless as it is annoying. Vocalist Dave Padden is really embarrassingly terrible, and his tuneless mallcore whining is like listening to Phil Anselmo being impersonated by somebody's little brother on a YouTube video - utterly without merit of any kind.
Despite the semi-desperate parade of guest-stars to try and give this album even a shred of credibility, this is a disc of ten songs that sound more or less exactly the same, and they are all pop-groove-nu-metal crap. The only even remotely interesting moments are the occasions when Waters rips out a good solo, as on the otherwise unlistenable "Operation Annihilation". But he obviously has no interest in metal as a genre at all, only in feeding his already overinflated ego. People keep buying Annihilator albums year after year in the hopes that someday, somehow, Jeff Waters will wake the fuck up and start thrashing again. It's never going to happen, and I recommend we put Annihilator in a cement case with Megadeth and Queensryche and sink them in the Marianas Trench - we'd all be much happier.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
Annihilator are one of those bands that have somehow acquired the tag 'legendary' despite having put out very little of any worth during their lengthy career. That the band's debut, 'Alice in hell', is a timeless thrash metal masterpiece is not in question, but ever since the good-but-a-little-disappointing follow-up 'Never, neverland', they have been in almost terminal state of decline, with only a couple of flashes of their former glory punctuating a sea of CDs that have ranged from frustrating to downright embarrassing.
Guitarist and songwriter Jeff Waters – who basically is Annihilator – has gone through as many changes in style over the course of his career as he has band mates. The man is an astonishingly talented guitarist, but apparently has no motivation to do anything remotely innovative, or even to just pick a style he likes and stick to it.
From the dawn of the 90s, Annihilator have been hopping from one trend to another, with a brief mini-renaissance (featuring first the return of original vocalist Randy Rampage and then the brilliant Joe Comeau) being cast aside with the hiring of Dave Padden. Padden, a sad nu-metal leftover, ranks not only as the easily the worst Annihilator vocalist, but one of the worst ever to get behind the microphone on a metal CD. His range goes from tough-guy Pantera worship to laughably bad growls and emo-style whining. Thankfully the latter has been kept in check on this CD, but his performance really has to be heard to be believed.
Waters has always been a follower rather than a leader, with the only difference being the music he followed in the old days was actually worth a damn. 'Metal' is at least the 3rd CD released by Annihilator that has been promised as a 'return to the roots', and, just like 2005's 'Schizo deluxe', nothing could be further from the truth. The only difference is that, as awful as the predecessor was, there were some very good thrash riffs to be found here and there. 'Metal' tones everything down to an identity-free blur of songs that fade in and out of one another. Padden's vocals are thankfully a little less bad than on the preceding CD – they really couldn't get any worse – but he still doesn't even come close to convincing that he should be involved in a metal band in any way.
The biggest selling point for this CD – at least, what the adverts have been bombarding us with – is the milieu of guest musicians that feature on each song. With the exception of one, every track features a solo from a guest guitarist, with everyone from Jeff Loomis of Nevermore to Corey Beaulieu of Trivium getting in on the act.
Loomis provides the highlight of the CD – one of very few up points – in the opening track "Clown parade", playing a lengthy solo duel with Waters that actually saves the song from Padden's woeful vocals and provides a brief, doomed hope that 'Metal' might actually be at least a decent effort from Annihilator. All this is immediately dashed with the 2nd and 3rd songs, both of which will be strong contenders for the worst of 2007.
"Couple suicide" features 2 completely out-of-place vocal performances from Danko Jones and Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy. A very radio friendly (and also very bad) song, but Jones' alt rock crooning, overlaid with Gossow's growled backing vocals makes for an utterly baffling listen. Quite what Waters was hoping to achieve with this one is difficult to fathom. Track 3, "Army of one" is maybe the most pathetic attempt at a metal anthem I've had the misfortune to hear. The song would be completely forgettable if it wasn't for the hilariously bad lyrics, all about keeping it true and not giving in to the masses – and hearing "Hell bent, ignoring the trend" being half-rapped by a late 90s remnant by Padden after being written by a perpetual sell-out like Waters is beyond insulting.
Reviews that only specifically mention a few tracks from the start of the CD are generally pretty worthless, but, hand on heart, these first 3 songs are the only ones (for whatever reason) to stand out in from the others in any way. The rest of the CD is a homogenous mesh of easily digestible metal-by-numbers efforts, with the odd good riff here and there thoroughly stamped out by any number of idiotic attempts at sounding 'edgy' or simply by virtue of Padden's uniformly awful performance.
The rest of the guest performances – including a session job from legendary drummer Mike Mangini - are all good. Very good, in fact. There is no doubting the talent of the musicians that Waters has assembled. But what sort of credit is he due for being anything other than a good producer for having an assortment of excellent lead guitarists drop a solo into the middle of a terrible song and paying one of the best drummers in the world to keep the beat going? As usual with Annihilator, the songwriting seems to have been the last thing on the agenda.
'Metal' is just another collection of half-assed populist songs with the only plus points being that the vocalist is not quite plumbing the depths he has in the past and a bunch of guest performances perking things up here and there. If all you want to do is listen to an assortment of excellent guitar solos, don't waste your money to sift through the rubbish gathered here – go buy a Steve Vai CD instead and forget this one ever existed.
(Originally written for http://www.metalcdratings.com/)
With Annihilator's "Metal" I'm afraid we have rather a disappointment, and in fact, for me, the biggest let down in this band's history so far (with the possible exception of Remains). It's a shame that while on the one hand this year can bring the best of some bands' careers, it may also have the worst of another.
The problem is hard to pin down...there are some excellent riffs in here, Jeff's on good form, and most of the songs are generally okay. But there are some absolutely horrible problems that drag the album down, it's mainly due to the production/mixing. Now, a lot of metal albums are not given crystal clear sound, and that's a good thing, it adds to it. But in this case it's more that it -is- an attempt at something more clear, really, but one that failts. The songs just totally fail to grab me. With every Annihilator effort previously, I've found myself air-guitaring, head-banging, singing along, all that good stuff. But with this I just sat there listening blankly. It -never- grabs you. The guitar is given good riffs, but it never stands out, it has no bite to it. It's so bland and droning...and the drums are even worse. They click along and don't offer any kind of power to it at all.
The lyrics aren't of great quality either, but that's the case on most Annihilator albums and is kind of to be expected: Jeff is an amazing guitarist, but he's no song-writer. But this can be over-looked on other works, where the sheer power and skill of the songs outweighs the sometimes mediocre lyrics. In this case it only stands out all the more because the instruments fail to cover it up. None of the songs got my attention, save the final track, "Chasing the High" and some moments on "Detonation" and "Clown Parade". In short, there are some good songs on here, but not much, and certainly far less than I was expecting from Annihilator. It drags along, never really getting you involved, and it all sounds so much like Jeff discovered the mixing and production tools and didn't really know what he was doing with them. Most of the songs are okay, but that's all they are.
Alas, "Couple Suicide" is frankly embarassing in the way it seems to start like some kind of funk song, and Army of One may have a good idea behind it (and hearing the list of old-school metal bands brings a smile to my face, very nice touch) but it makes Jeff's lack of song-writing ability painfully apparent. To be fair to it, some of the pieces here have nothing inherently wrong with them beyond the mixing/production. Chasing The High is probably the best here, one that fits better with Annihilator's old stuff, and a couple of other tracks aren't bad. This might be an okay piece from a new band, but from veterans like Annihilator (or maybe that should be just veteran, since it's Jeff's project really) I expected more. I won't criticise bands for changing their sound or for not achieving something if they never set out to do it in the first place, but with "Metal" it feels like a genuine failure, sorry.
Quite simply, you listen to it, look at the album title and think "THIS is metal?". I'm afraid it really doesn't fit such a bold title. I'll give it a 50 score, because it's not truly horrible, just not good either. If you really want to have a complete Annihilator collection, go for it. But if you're looking to try out thrash or Annihilator themselves, look elsewhere.
Once the tears were dried, it became apparent that a review of this pathetic attempt at a metal CD must be written. So many people are proclaiming this is possibly one of Annihilator's best releases to date, but those people obviously have never heard the classic albums that defined the band, and every other one in between them. Hell, even approaching this CD as if it were a new, non-legendary band will cause you to take the disc back and demand a refund.
This album is just chock full of guest appearances! Each track has atleast one metal super-star, save for "Couple Suicide" which has a metal super star and an emo-esque star with the same kind of feel. If you ever felt metal had committed treason, then this song, nay, this album is exactly that. Straying far from their roots and every album written, save for "Set The World On Fire" which is infinitely better then anything found on this release, you'll weep too upon hearing it.
Definitely playing up the groove aspect of Annihilator's more recent style, Jeff Waters decided, for some strange reason, to release a slower, more mainstream album. While the release has a few songs that are somewhat metal, the music on this release is way below even sub-par for the talent this powerhouse band has. The music is simply atrocious and boring and the guest appearances are short and bring nothing to possibly amping the album's sound. The solo's are weak as well on the album. Alexi Laiho does a better solo, and while he's a good guitarist, he simply can't hold a torch to the guitar skill of founding member Jeff Waters.
It seems that SPV has included a bonus disc of Annihilator's more recent releases in a digipack version to try to get people to buy this CD. Compared to "Metal", which is anything but what the title depicts, it's the best part of the release! However, it is also damning for people who never heard an Annihilator CD prior to this one, as they will hear "Metal", then hear the best of and loudly proclaim their wallet was raped.
Face it people, this CD is terrible. Their release "All For You" is more entertaining and more "Metal" then this piece of garbage. If your table doesn't quite reach the floor, making it wobbly, and all you need is a CD case, well then go buy it and use it for that, or even a very expensive drink coaster. Really, that's all this release is good for. With very few minor saving graces on the album, Jeff Waters commits false advertising by labeling this CD exactly what it's not. "Metal" is honestly not worth your money, and is a landmark album to the demise of the legacy of Annihilator, a truly sad day indeed. No pity points here, this release get's a 20.
Annihilator is once again re-establishing themselves as a consistent metal band. Metal, their 12th studio album, takes a more classic metal approach to the music even though there is still some thrash influence. The focus on the album seems to be making a very “metal” album, rather than a handful of killer songs with some filler intermixed in. The heightened focus does create a solid album in its shape and presentation. I miss the sporadic elements at times, but the more I listen to Metal the more the album grows on me.
Jeff Waters never ceases to astound me. His ability to write a solid metal song is uncanny. When he isn’t experimenting with the sound (Remains), he has the ability and the talent to rip out some of the best metal I’ve ever heard. This album shows off a lot of the killer riffs that Waters creates and this time he has the helping hand of a plethora of amazing guitarists.
The guitar work on Metal is quite a bit slower then listeners have heard on the last few releases. There is a little less of a thrash element on Metal. The chaotic side of thrash has a tendency to make or break an album as a whole, and since he was trying to create a very solid album the thrash has been toned down quite a bit. Chasing the High is the last song on the album and it’s definitely the most thrash oriented. The riffs are solid and diverse with every single one being as catchy as the one before. The leads are sparse for the most part (they are there but compared to his earlier stuff they seem sparse) but when they do pop out they work well with the riffs. Waters also shares most of the solos on the album with guest guitarists. Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Will Adler (Lamb of God), and Jesper Stromblad (In Flames) are just some of the shredders one is going to hear on Metal. It’s not quite as amazing as I thought it was going to be. One can definitely tell the solos are written by Waters and if you don’t know the guest, it’s hard to tell the difference between them. The solos are good – this is true, but I was hoping that there would be a huge contrast in the different styles of the guest players.
The bass lines one of the best things about Annihilator. The bass is a little dramatic and tries to stick out every once in a while. There are less bass breaks the usual but when there is one it brings a smile to my face. The bass is very much a third guitar and the bass lines are very unique and complex. It’s a shame that this album is so riff oriented and the bass is a little lost. If one listens closely though, one can hear how good the bass work is.
The drums are a little disappointing. Having Mike Mangini play drums for the studio work is awesome. He is one of the best drummers in the world but he never really gets to strut his stuff on Metal. His drumming is written so that it is very much a structure to the song with lots of rhythm and little flourish. There could be an entirely new layer to the music had Mangini done a little more complex work. Don’t expect that on Metal though.
With a vocalist that is finally consistent (this is John Padden’s third album in a row) it’s nice to hear that he still is one of the best Annihilator vocalists. He brings out the tongue-in-cheek flavor Annihilator’s lyrics have always had and yet can still throw down a monster growl or sing a melodic line too. He does a little bit of everything on Metal even some spoken parts in the song Smothered. Two guest vocalists appear on the album (strangely enough on the same song, Couple Suicide) with the high style of Danko Jones and the death vocals of Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy). The two combined are an interesting combo with Danko in lead and Angela as backing. It’s a song that sticks out on the album but in all actuality it’s probably the weakest track musically.
All in all, Annihilator did it again, one more amazing album to add to their catalog. This one isn’t near as thrash as previous material but it’s one of the most solid albums released. It may take a few listens to get into it – but once you do, you’ll find an amazing album from start to finish.
Songs to check out: Clown Parade, Haunted, Chasing the High.
Personally, I think Annihilator are a great band. Jeff Waters, the driving force behind the band, has stuck to his musical guns over the years and produced some truly outstanding albums. However, the musical community, as a whole, haven't been kind to them. For example, they're currently on tour supporting Trivium, when it quite clearly should be the other way around. But, I digress: this is an album review, not a diatribe on the state of the music world.
Most people reading this will already know of the veritable army of guest musicians performing on this album, so I'll mention them only briefly. For the most part, they make no real impact on the album, aside from the guest singers on Couple Suicide. Ocassionally, you'll hear a solo and think 'that's not a Jeff Waters solo', but other than that, nothing.
Now, the album. 10 songs, just over 55 minutes of thrash. Aside from one or two choruses that could have been better and a cheesy song about heavy metal, there isn't much to complain about. The production is top notch, the playing is outstanding, as we've come to expect from Jeff over the years (I'm not 100% sure, but I think he records all the guitar and bass tracks himself. I know he has done on past albums, but I'm not sure about this one).
If I were to pick stand-out tracks, I'd have to go for 'Haunted', an 8 minute epic with more riffs than you could comfortably shake a stick at and 'Couple Suicide' an almost 'funky' song with a surprising sound.
If there's any justice in the world, this album will be universally well thought of, but if there was any justice in the world, Annihilator would be thought of in the same breath as The Big Four: they would be thought of as a truly world class metal act.