Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Annihilator-Never, neverland, 1990

Who is the most well known solo metal artist who is from the states? I guess Dio comes to my mind first. What about the UK? I think of Ozzy. Germany? UDO or Doro. What about Canada? Well, perhaps this band would count. Mainman Jeff Waters was (and is) the lead guitarist, main writer, played bass on a number of recordings, produced and even took a stab at singing in the late 90's for his band Annihilator. This was their second lp and already they had a new singer (something that would be common during the band's now 20 years plus career). Even though this was done in 1990 and speed metal had been big for a few years, Waters and his band manage to bring quite a few sounds of their own. Many speed/thrash bands of the time were trying to copy the bay are sound or Slayer or Kreator, but during their first two releases Annihilator really created their own sound. The first thing that struck after listening to this album today was the amount of riffs. Jeff Waters is like the man of 1,000 riffs. You could pick anyone of these songs and the amount of riffs that are here may be three times the amount of the average speed metal. Of course quantity doesn't matter if you don't know how to organize it. Water's writing is stellar here as the riffs work to build a dizzying attack. The band knows when to be complex and when to plow ahead and that's not something every band knew or could pull off. I remember buying this and Slayer's Seasons in the abyss the same day back in 1990. Slayer was the main one I wanted to I listened to it first and was let down, but then I was quickly blown away when I put this album on. Tracks like Road to ruin and Stonewall just tear along with unbelievable tightness. The title track might be the most complex song here and it works just as well as the rest of the album. Just to let you know the band has a sense a humor they throw in Kraft dinner which is a tribute to macaroni and cheese. Silly topic, but they approach the music with the aggressiveness as any other track. Former Omen vocalist Coburn Pharr is the singer here and he was probably my favorite Annihilator vocalist. I really like his gruff barking style mixed in the tightness of the music. Unfortunately the band spent most of the rest of the decade experimenting with various styles that never came close to this album or the debut. In recent years they have gotten back to a heavier sound though. A very good album worth hunting down if you have never heard it.

***Canada Rocks week continues tomorrow with the topic of what's the difference between metal and hard rock in the United States and in Canada?


Anonymous Joerg said...

Woo, I really have to check this one out, I have lots of Annihilator but not this one.
The speeding riffs are the best thing. I could listen to them hours at a time. And the solos, I usually really don't care or think much about guitar solos, but Jeff Waters racing up and down the scales is exciting!

2:00 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Joerg-This is a great album for sure. Jeff Waters is one of just a few guys who might be considered speed metal virutosos. Only thing is everything he does if for the good of the overall song.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

And Jeff Waters is actually a very funny guy. I'm embarassed to say that I had an hour interview with him and cannot find my tape! Say what you will about Annihilator being a one-man show, but Waters doesn't fail to inspire with his shredding. All For You is a very weird album but you can't get away from it, and the album after that one is one of the best; it's fast as hell. The Annihilator DVD "10 Years in Hell" is pretty great too.

7:17 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I don't know how, but I discovered this right when it cam out and I was hooked. It's very simple, just damn good riffs, and very understandable lyrics. I still have fond memories of this one.

-- david

1:47 PM  

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