Annihilator + The Generals + Nightlord
@ O2 Academy Islington
13th October 2013
Review by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Sabrina Dersel
Annihilator is a band with 24 years of touring experience and 14 critically acclaimed studio albums under their belt. Apart from that, they’re also a heavy metal band that has managed to maintain a strong and dedicated fan-base supporting them throughout the years.
August, 2013 saw the release of Feast – the latest Annihilator studio album that includes 9 brand new killer tracks and 15 re-recordings of the band’s most well-known songs.
On October the 13th, 2013, Annihilator lads paid a visit to London’s O2 Academy Islington to present their latest material and play some of the good old Annihilator classics to a sold out room full of London’s finest metalheads.
The first band to take the stage are London’s thrash metal four-piece Nightlord. They kick off tonight’s show with great confidence and dynamic approach to their performance. With a solid appreciation from their local crowd, Nightlord deliver a heavy thrash metal set sounding tight and spot on.
Although their tonight’s set is quite limited in time, Nightlord gents give their all to make it a good one. Neil Wiseman is putting on a show behind his drum kit adding the right drive to Nightlord’s performance, while Jamie Thorne is taking good care of business and laying down some groovy bass parts.
Songs that instantly stand out and highlight Nightlord’s set are “Dark Night Dance” and “Gaze of Gorgons”, however the closing track “Holy Inquisiton” really manages to show what the band is capable of. It perfectly demonstrates the extremely sharp guitar performances by Ferenc Collins (rhythm) and James MacKenzie (lead) making it a great way to end their set.
Second band on tonight are Swedish death metallers The Generals. Sounding exceptionally tight and exciting, they leave a great first impression and seem to get the crowd moving within the first few songs.
Describing their genre as a “A Death Metal Cigarette with a Rock ‘N’ Roll Filter” on their Facebook page, The Generals sound and live performance reflects it brilliantly well. Their approach to death metal is very open-minded and original making their performance much more exciting to experience.
Tonight the Swedish four-piece seem comfortable and keen enough to prove what they’ve got to a packed-out O2 Academy Islington. With undeniable death metal influence, The Generals performance demonstrates great speed, splendid instrumentation and impressive vocals delivered by frontman & bassist Hednar.
With an energetic and individual approach to their performance, The Generals put on a kick ass show where songs that highlight their set include “Dig Two Graves,” “Blood For Blood” and “Blessing in Disguise”. Finishing their set with the fast-pace and extremely pounding “Evil Transcends” The Generals take off after leaving the best impression of themselves as another epic band to come out of Sweden that’s, most definitely, worth checking out.
When it’s finally time for Annihilator boys to kick off the show, they appear on stage in high spirits and open their set with the ultimate classic “Alison Hell” off their debut album Alice In Hell. It seems like no other song could have gotten the crowd in a better mood, as moshpit breaks out within the first seconds of Annihilator set.
The masters behind Annihilator guitar work, aka Jeff Waters and Dave Padden, seem overwhelmed by tonight’s crowd that’s highly responsive and up for a party, so they’re not letting the energy drop by an inch and continue their set with “W.T.Y.D.” and “Knight Jumps Queen”.
Dedicating the first part of their set to classic Annihilator material can never go wrong when it comes to pleasing the crowd. What really seems to get Londoners going are the ultimate thrash metal anthems, like “Refresh the Demon” and “Reduced to Ash,” which takes us back to 1990 and goes down a storm.
Annihilator mix things up by throwing in few melodic songs in between some real thrash metal slashers. They reduce the speed with songs, like “Never, Neverland,” “Bliss” and “Set the World on Fire,” which sounds immense with its chugging riffs and epic bass parts delivered by Alberto “Al” Campuzano.
The performance of “No Zone,” “Second to None” and “Ambush” once again proves Jeff Waters and Dave Padden to be on top of their game, as they lay down complex guitar solos to blow your mind and add loads of technicality to Annihilator performance.
“I am in Command” makes one of the most memorable moments of tonight’s show, as its pounding rhythm and raw attitude have the ability to get the crowd go nuts. However, Annihilator guys bring it down once again, and this time they make it a clear dedication to their highly appreciated ballads. With a combination of three songs – “Phoenix Rising,” “Sounds Good to Me” and “Snake in the Grass” off their 1993 album Set the World on Fire Annihilator put a good accent on their more melodic and lyrical side of performance, however it leaves the crowd a little unimpressed.
Annihilator lads have seen some amazing drummers come and go, but today Mike Harshaw puts on a show that’s far from just impressive. His outstanding drumming skills are sharp, energy driven and spot on. Mike gets his moment to shine and demonstrates his undeniable talent with a drum solo that’s set steal the show.
“No Way Out” marks the first song off Annihilator’s latest album Feast and it goes down without a hitch. More new material follows, as Annihilator throw in “Smear Campaign” and “Deadlock” bringing back the speed, the energy and the raw thrash metal feel.
Annihilator finish tonight’s set with yet another classic “King of the Kill” to celebrate a successful return to London’s O2 Academy Islington. However, what has made tonight’s show really special are no one else but all the crazy metalheads of London, as their energy and appreciation managed to turn tonight’s gig into a celebration of a great band still going strong and playing heavy metal music.