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Album Reviews : Annihilator – Annihilator

By on June 11, 2010

Three years after their “Metal” album, Annihilator is back with their self-titled 13th disc of their career.

Right off the bat I have to mention that no metal band has managed to baffle and frustrate me as consistently as Annihilator has since I first heard them in 1989. Their debut album Alice in Hell was an instant classic in the thrash genre and set up the band to dominate the genre as such. Since then however, Annihilator has struggled to live up to the hype generated by their debut and their subsequent albums have either been very bad (Refresh the Demon, Remains, All for You) or very average (Set the World on Fire, Metal). Each time a new Annihilator release was set to drop, I’d read the hype and hope against all hope that it would mark some kind of return to form but mostly get mediocrity. Now it’s 2010 and we get their thirteenth album, simply titled Annihilator, and again the goods are not delivered.

Annihilator squarely falls into the camp of “average” albums released by the Canadian thrashmeisters. With nearly three years since their last album, I was hoping for more, but Waters and Co have seen fit to deliver track upon track of speedy yet utterly bland, boring and empty new age thrash. To these ears, Annihilator is full of by-the-numbers, reheated thrash riffs without much in the way of originality or impact. The speed is definitely there but in most cases it’s to the detriment of any originality. I was hoping that the band would bring something new to the fore this time around, but it really does sound like a band scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of coming up with anything new or interesting. Maybe this is why “Metal” had so many guest players on the album…….to get other people to contribute their ideas. Sadly that has not carried over to this release.

Dave Padden doesn’t really contribute much to this album. His vocals comprise mainly of Padden shouting in a monotone style and get boring very quickly. This is a bit of a let down given he has performed pretty well on past albums. He definitely has the skills to contribute more than what we hear on offer here.

The album opens with “The Trend”. This track is the album’s only real standout and contains some very well done lead guitar work by Waters. Even Padden’s ultra-bland vocals don’t totally destroy the song (yet). Unfortunately, from there on it is pretty much a down-hill journey filled with speedy yet bland riffs and dull vocals. The next four tracks come and go with nothing to remember them by except the same repetitive riffing and irritating vocal work. After the second track “Coward” it really does all start sounding like the same riffs, and the same vocal passages are getting re-hashed with only slight difference from one track to the next. This is my main gripe with this album, there is next to nothing to distinguish one song from the next. Up to this point the only thing that has been “Annilated” is my interest in this album. Not until track 6 “Nowhere to Run” is there anything resembling an interesting song. That’s only because it is slowed down considerably and Paden actually decided to try “singing” on the chorus. As good as it is on this album, it’s really no show stopper compared to recent releases by other thrash bands (Testament, Megadeth).

Of the ten tracks on offer here, only two songs (“The Trend”, “Nowhere To Run”) really stand out as being anything remotely interesting. Maybe expectations were set a little too high for this album given all the talk about returning to the roots and sound of their debut. Sadly this album really misses the mark. I was really looking for something to say about this album to put a positive light on it, because no doubt Annihilator do have the potential to write killer riffs. I’m just hoping they lift their game on the next release at this point.

Waters and the rest of the band really sound like they have run out of interesting ideas on this album. While his talent at guitar is indisputable, Waters has simply failed to write consistently strong material for years. Sadly this is a band that will always be measured against their fantastic debut. Even more sadly is that at this point they don’t seem to be capable of reaching those lofty heights once more.

All-in-all Annihilator is a very average thrash album. If you liked anything apart from their debut you might find something here to perk your interest, but to me it sounds like a very tired band trying to re-hash old left over riffs and going through the motions without really thinking about it or adding anything really new (and more importantly interesting) to the mix….4/10

Band: Annihilator
Album: Annihilator
Year: 2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Origin: USA
Label: Earache/Riot!


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.