Album Review: Annihilator – Feast
Posted by Reggie
Twenty-six band mates later Jeff Waters and Co, also known affectionately as Annihilator, has released their 14th studio album, Feast. It strikes me as extraordinary that a band can stay in the business so long, yet receive so little national attention. It may be different for them in Canada and across the oceans, but in America Annihilator had so much promise in the Thrash world. Then, probably due to Grunge, fell off the radar. Yet, they soldiered on churning out album after album and in many cases within or close to year apart. There is a lot of creativity and determination flowing out of Mr. Waters and the only other permanent member is vocalist Dave Padden (employed since 2003). Current “live” members since 2010, Al Campuzano and Make Harshaw, were also part of the recording of Annihilator’s latest creation. I guess the revolving door of musicians is one way to keep ideas flowing.
The last Annihilator album I owned before my own hiatus from listening to them was Set the World on Fire back in 1993. I think my musical taste was evolving a bit back then. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I got a hold of Carnival Diablos (2001), All for You (2004), and Metal (2007) and my interest in Annihilator renewed. If there is one take away I got from listening to those three albums is that Annihilator is extremely consistent I am not saying they are great, just consistent. They are also meticulous and clean which is one of the reasons I liked them to begin with. Somehow I missed the 2010 self-titled album, but from my research it did really well on the Greek charts. Therefore, it must be good 😉
As soon as Deadlock kicked off my listening pleasure, I can’t say that I was surprised. All those early years of listening to Annihilator filled the space between my ears with nostalgia as soon as Waters’ signature riff kicked in. The clean lines, slightly gritty vocals, and thrasy-cool guitar solos brought it all back. It’s quite aggressive. No Way Out kept the cadence rolling. It started out full of angst and aggression, but then also featured a clean, melodic mid-section which took the song in a different direction for a short time.
Most of the songs are fast and fierce and probably everything you would expect from Annihilator. There are some exceptions to the thrash rule, but basically Feast is a smorgasbord of a bunch of different elements that compliment the main course of thrash pretty well. Waters and Co certainly know how to mix varying elements to give Feast some diversity. They are not afraid to make songs to light your lighters to…or shine your backlight on your phone in a live setting. Songs such as Perfect Angel Eyes is reminiscent of early 80s thrash ballads – perhaps a bit too much. No Surrender takes a different turn and introduces a nice funk bass. A few others start out like ballads and then beat down death’s door – Fight The World and One Falls, Two Rise to be specific.
As the album concluded on the 9th song, I felt the Canadian outfit did a solid job – better than some of those albums I heard then forgot about again. With 14 albums, that’s bound to happen. Feast is built around thrash, but encompasses many different elements that make for a diverse listen and most importantly a pleasurable one. I can’t say this album came with too many surprises though. If I had not heard Annihilator in 20 years I would have guessed immediately who this was if someone played it for me. Needless to say, they have a sound and style all their own. Overall, it’s a strong effort and even on the first listen there were some standout, notable songs. Album #14 – Feast – is worth your time and energy for long-time Annihilator fans and those like me getting reintroduced. However, don’t expect that breakthrough album we all wanted after Alice in Hell.
Then, here is the kicker. When I thought the album was over, another song started. I figured it was a bonus track or some cover song I overlooked when I hit the download button. The only problem is that it sounded familiar…very familiar even though it had been nearly two decades since I last heard it. It was Fun Palace. I had to take a second to check my iPhone and see what was up. I then realized that not only did Feast come with 9 original new songs, but many more re-recorded songs. Fifteen to be exact. FIFTEEN!
After the instantly recognizable Fun Palace, Alison Hell was next…much to my elation it’s one of my favorite Annihilator songs. Padden, by the way, does a good job giving the old classics his touch while maintaining integrity to the original. Here is the track listing of those fifteen songs if some of you long-time fans are interested in hearing a fresh version of those old classics…some not so old, but close enough.
Fun Palace – Never, Neverland (1990)
Alison Hell – Alice in Hell (1989)
King of the Kill – King of the Kill (1994)
Never, Neverland – Never, Neverland
Set the World on Fire – Set the World on Fire (1993)
Welcome to Your Death (W.T.Y.D.) – Alice in Hell
No Zone – Set the World on Fire
Bloodbath – Criteria for a Black Widow (1999)
21 – King of the Kill
Stonewall – Never, Neverland
Ultra Motion – Waking The Fury (2002)
Time Bomb – Carnival Diablos (2001)
Refresh the Demon – Refresh the Demon (1996)
Word Salad – Alice in Hell
Brain Dance – Set the World on Fire
Feast is certainly something to feast on, no pun intended!
And let’s not forget some of the classics as they were originally recorded with those other guys singing.