Determined Canadian everyman Jeff Waters and his good thrash ship Annihilator are back with studio album number 16 (!). Jeff’s steered the band through so many rollercoaster moments that it’s a wonder that he’s still sane…then again, maybe he’s not, given the title of his latest album! (joking!). Anyway, FOR THE DEMENTED brings the usual round of band member changes, with only Waters surviving since 2015’s admirable SUICIDE SOCIETY effort. The rhythm section of Rich Hinks and Fabio Alessandrini is all new, while second guitarist Aaron Homma has been playing live with the band since 2015. Yeesh.
On to the music, FOR THE DEMENTED features a heaping help of what you expect from Annihilator: ripping thrash (“One to Kill”), mid-paced metal (title track), and one truly twisted “ballad” (“Pieces of You”). It seems this time Waters has stayed away from his love of AC/DC, except for “The Way”, and his focus is squarely on metal this time.
As expected from Annihilator, the musicianship is top-notch, with each member adding to the legacy built over the last 30+ years. Vocally, Waters is still capable. He gets the job done, and even if he’s never going to be taken for an all-time great singer, he fits the music perfectly.
With all the great press Annihilator received for SUICIDE SOCIETY, the band felt like it was on another career upswing. The follow-up is always key, and thankfully FOR THE DEMENTED delivers yet another kick-ass, enjoyable album that should be more than enough to keep the band at the forefront of metal fans’ minds. It can be tough to keep up with Waters’ constant changes, but if you’ve enjoyed Annihilator’s music at all, this album should find a home in your collection.
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