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Annihilator - Schizo Deluxe (CD)

Schizo Deluxe
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 19 October 2005, 10:17 PM

When I first heard that Canada's finest metalman, Jeff Waters, was working on a brand new album with his mates in Annihilator, one of the thoughts I had was will this be Thrashier than 'All For You' (2004)? Will Waters satisfy his fans' lust for a totally riff-shreded album, from start to finish? The answer came rather early from Jeff himself and raised my eyebrow in curiosity, in this album, there will be no ballads. So, that left me wondering what Schizo Deluxe would be like, if it was going to be a deluxe near-Christmas gift by our one and only Satan Claus (well, sort of…) and here we are…
The promo arrived after a couple of weeks of intense anticipation, I sat my ass down, pressed the eject button on my CD player and helped Schizo Deluxe elegantly make its way in there (kinda like having sex huh?). Maximum Satan cunningly informed me that the beast was being unleashed (even though I was absolutely sure my feet weren't smelly) and the song kicked in. A big fat bitch-ass grin of satisfaction appeared on my grotesque face since what I was listening to was absolutely heavy. Yeah, heavy as in Heavy frickin' Metal! But it's not that fast I thought. Well, the blazing King Of The Kill-esque initial riff madness of Drive nailed me to my seat as my surround speakers waged a bloodthirsty, Thrash-driven war against my mortal ears. Holy butt grinder! I yelled and immediately raised the good old devil horns. What Maximum Satan didn't do to me, maximum Drive sure did.
My satisfaction had escalated by the third track, Warbird, and I was probably feeling the exact same way a cameraman must have felt during the shootings of actress' Monica Belluci's rape scene in the movie Irreversible. This track of uber Heavy Metal-meets-the legions of hell-meets-the art of guitar shredding-meets-my great grandmother six feet under…song is one of my favorites off Schizo Deluxe (yeah, as if you hadn't figured that out already). Need I say more? It totally incorporates what Heavy Metal stands for, music-wise. But was Mr. Waters done with my sorry ass yet? No, he had to go record a track like Plasma Zombies and delightfully torment my poor neck even more. And in its turn, Plasma Zombies incorporates all that is Thrash with a distant slight touch of neoteric vibes. My favorite track; the ace of spades in this album, in my humble opinion.
But you know what? I'm only human and chances are that an album will sound equally superb throughout its entire playing time, once every some thousands of releases. Despite Waters' outstanding riffs and the overall tight rhythm section of Invite It, Padden's vocal style kind of irritated me in this one. I know this is supposed to be one schizophrenic album from tops to bottoms but I'm sorry, the refrain kind of gets on my nerves.
Like Father, Like Gun brought in mind heaviness in the vein of Pantera blended of course with Waters' stimulating musical ideas. I think this track might be quite the U.S. hit for Annihilator for 2005-2006. Pride turned up the speed again for me (Pride was awesomely heavy but quite slower) and thrashed me into oblivion. My only objection is whenever Padden shifts from that anger-fueled tone of his I so much enjoy to that loony or even mellow-ish kind of style. I know he's multitalented, I never ever said he's a bad singer, not at all. It's just that I feel he kicks major ass whenever his singing style is totally pissed off. Nevertheless, this track's almost completely kick-ass.
Too Far Gone is a 100% Annihilator of the early 90's track. Guaranteed quality, yet not the most profound track on this album. Again, Heavy/Thrash fist pounding action. I must say that when I got to Clare I should have realized this was going to be one twisted album on all levels; lyrics, twists 'n' turns in the music… What seemed to be an innocent track turned to be a hellish inferno of feelings and tempo changes, mood swingers, you name it (I have to ask Waters if there's any lyrical connection to 1989's Alice In Hell because though they don't give you lyrics along with the promo CD, I swear there's something about an Alice in this track).
The final track, Something Witchy, was probably the best way to end this refreshing madness called Schizo Deluxe. Not entirely fast or too heavy, yet twisted, a schizoid exit out of Annihilator's crumbling head. And after the music ends, don't press the stop button, just let it play till the very end. You won't regret it, you'll laugh your ass off (I surely didn't expect this; Jeff, is this what you guys do in your spare time whenever you're in the studio? Haha).
To cut a long story short, this album reminded me at times the good ol' feeling albums such as King Of The Kill (1994) and Refresh The Demon (1996) used to give me (and still do) blended with the never ending ideas of a shredmaster. No ballads, just unconditioned Thrash (for the most of it) with only a few touches of nowadays' musical notions that don't manage (in my opinion) to spoil it even for those who have the old Annihilator albums glued to their foreheads and refuse to listen to anything new…
- Album Highlights: Plasma Zombies, Warbird, Drive, Like Father, Like Gun and Something Witchy. Also, Jeff Waters' godlike riffing who not only played all the guitars on this album but also perfectly handled all bass duties - I'll never stop praising this man - and the great production done by Chris Coldrick.

4 Star Rating

Maximum Satan
Plasma Zombies
Invite It
Like Father, Like Gun
Too Far Gone
Something Witchy
Jeff Waters - Guitars & Bass
Tony Chappelle - Drums
David Padden - Vocals
Record Label: AFM Records


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