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A large step up - 75%

Superreallycool, October 8th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Earache Records

Annihilator, one of the 80's finest thrash metal bands, bringing a much needed intelligence and technicality to the genre. Despite their awesome days in the 80's I more or less ignored Annihilator for a while. After their cringe inducing last album Metal and the lackluster Schizo Deluxe before it there wasn't much reason to think this album was going to be any better. The cover art that looked more at home on a B horror movie promotional poster rather than on an album cover did little to peak my interest so I moved on. However, this was a mistake, as this album is a fine album, and has restarted my interest in Annihilator.

This is a standard release from Annihilator in terms of style. Thank god it dropped the horrible mallcore tendencies found in many tracks back on Schizo Deluxe. That alone makes this a record worth mentioning. It's technical, progressive thrash metal. This is a sub-genre that isn't as explored as I feel the genre should be, so I find releases with that kind of sound almost always interesting, and that is no different here. The album is plenty thrash and plenty complex, and longtime fans will feel at home here. That being said, this album doesn't challenge long time fans either, and don't expect Annihilator's upcoming releases to be anything other than a modern take on their historic sound. With that in mind however, it also doesn't do that old sound as well. Also the modern production takes away from the older feeling Annihilator albums had. It's a minor complaint, but that paired with poorer songwriting makes this an, while not bad, album that in the long run won't matter.

While it's a good album, when compared to "Alice in Hell", or "Never, Neverland" it doesn't stack up. There aren't any real stand out tracks here, or anything that will make you feel truly epic while listening to it. The album is constantly good, but never anything more than good. If you have never heard of this band and are interested, I would listen to the two albums I mentioned earlier, "Never, Neverland" and "Alice in Hell". I personally prefer "Alice in Hell" but not by much, as they are both great pieces of thrash.

I would recommend this to longtime fans and no one else. There isn't anything special here that will really draw in new fans, but to those who already know and love Annihilator, there is plenty here to keep you entertained. While not a modern classic, the album gets the job done, and is another solid addition to Annihilator's discography, and really an album they needed in their discography, to help reinforce Annihilator as a band that still has it in them to make a good album.