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Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic Award winner

Ballistic, Sadistic
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 03 February 2020, 5:36 AM

The band is called ANNIHILATOR and is led by founding member Jeff Waters. Formed in 1984, the band has released 17 studio albums. They are Canadian pioneers of Thrash, Many great albums with Jeff pulling out many rabbits from nay hats. What have they cooked up this time? Let's find out. “Armed to the Teeth” kicks things off in a traditional ANNIHILATOR way. It has that TESTAMENT, EXODUS and OVERKILL mix that is blended in to create great melodies along with fast-paced harmonies, and this song shows off what the band can do. ANNIHILATOR do not allow you a steady into the album. The melodies are set top the higher aspects of Thrash. ANNIHILATOR do not tarnish the great name of Thrash with any of their albums. It’s old school and it is great.  Solid start to the album.

The Attitude” is a slower starter, though in comparison to “Armed to the Teeth”, that is not a difficult thing. Have no fear it soon picks up to a more punk style of chorus. Reminds me of DAMAGEPLAN’sFuck You” which featured Corey Taylor, set out pace on the chorus. It is a good song, the balance works out well, keeping things composed but allowing the melodies to experiment off in several directions. Well played.

Psycho Ward” reduces the pace on the vocals, more clean cut, feels more of the pace like MÖTLEY CRÜE would give out. More Glam than Thrash. Then Jeff shows off his guitar skills and introduces a Thrash aspect, the melodies bounce off each other and it is brilliant. The change was not expected, and for a band to pull out any surprises is a credit in itself. This one feels a lot more Heavy Metal, but there re loads of bands that would kill for a song like this, I would listen to an album full of songs like this, not saying it would be by ANNIHILATOR, as they have many great styles. Another great song to a great album so far.

I Am Warfare” restarts the Thrash invasion. It even has a few technical licks in the start, you can hear the OVERKILL style vocals, but you know it is in the style of ANNIHILATOR. It seems like they are just finding a style they want the album to be, and the experimental aspects are great, keeping it fresh. It does have slower vocal pace, but instrumentals are not slowed down they have got more technical. Stroke of genius. The way ANNIHILATOR have taken their old styles and made them into new ways works so well. The balance and composure shown is amazing as it barely seems able to control all the aspects of what is going on

Out with the Garbage” starts with a harmonic guitar solo to warm us into the song. The pace has slowed down slightly, which puts this more into the Heavy Metal aspects, and by that I mean the old school good shit. Saying that, the guitar play is constantly ticking over and creating great harmonies within itself. The pace returns within these harmonies to take us back to TESTAMENT territories. Another fantastic song with more turns than a roundabout.

Dressed Up for Evil” feels like “Armed to the Teeth”, it has a great pace, going up a gear from “Out with the Garbage”, it’s back to Thrash. Is there any Jeff cannot do? The harmonies link in together to expand the melodies and become almost progressive, but experimental at the same time. That shouldn’t be possible, right? Jeff you crazy talented bastard with some changes that bands like RINGS OF SATURN would churn out. This has technical skills you can hear from the off and throughout.

Riot” is not giving you a moments rest, it starts slower, and by that, I mean in comparison to this album, but you can hear it building up. Such as catchy chorus. This one can easily sit in the Thrash background, but you may say it is more Heavy Metal, but a great song nonetheless. This song shows how extensive the arsenal is that ANNIHILATOR has, they can have fun with the songs, try some new stuff and it works flawlessly.

One Wrong Move” returns to the pulsating beat and tempo with a few drops of Technical Thrash. The tempo is electric and keeps everything together amazingly well. Then, midway through it, all stops to an almost acoustic pace, where are they going with this? Who cares, it is beautiful. That lasted a good time of the song, then back to Thrash frenzied melodies, brilliant.

Lip Service” slows down to “Sweating BulletsMEGADETH levels.  Its pace and tempo is not what we have heard so far, but the harmonic brilliance of the melodies works to keep the song interesting. Also sounds like “Disciples of the Watch” by TESTAMENT. So, it is an usual mix of styles, but then again this is ANNIHILATOR, what did we expect? A solid melody build up from midway is another great touch before slowing down, to the MEGAMENT mix pace once more. I would listen to MEGADETH mixing it up with TESTAMENT, who wouldn’t?

The End of the Lie” picks up the pace once more back to the more original speeds. Once more, there is the old school sounding Thrash sounds that we all love to hear.  The pace set is helping to build up the tempo, which in doing so brings the melodies closer together. It shows a real experience that the band has, knowing how to blend it all in perfectly.  “The End of the Lie” is the end of the album, and it does not fade away, it does not go away quietly. It is just as good as any other song placed on this album. Closing it all out perfectly.

Thrash album of the year contender here! We may even look back in 2030 and say one of the albums of the decade. This would be a great album to get you into ANNIHILATOR.  One word to describe this album un-fucking-skipable!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Armed to the Teeth
2. The Attitude
3. Psycho Ward
4. I Am Warfare
5. Out with the Garbage
6. Dressed Up for Evil
7. Riot
8. One Wrong Move
9. Lip Service
10. The End of the Lie
Jeff Waters – Vocals, Guitars & Bass
Aaron Homma – Guitar
Rich Hinks - Bass
Fabio Alessandrini – Drums
Record Label: Silver Lining Music


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Edited 26 March 2023

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