Released: 2007, SPV/Steamhammer/Playground Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
With a new label as a back up, Jeff Waters and his project, Annihilator, are releasing a new studio album but as usual, there isn’t a full-blown band behind Waters. He handles guitar, bass and b-vox along with long time vocalist/guitarist Dave Padden, with Mike Mangini behind drums. Waters has also invited many guests to help him out such as Jeff Loomis, Alexi Laiho, Anders Björler, Michael Amott, Jesper Strömblad, Danko Jones and Angela Gossow. Much of the stuff Annihilator has delivered through the years hasn’t been the greatest, but it feels like the band has managed to reverse that downward spiral with METAL. They deliver high-class thrash metal that sometimes border on heavy metal and despite the tempo being slowed down, it’s still heavy and hard hitting. Waters is as always a rock on guitar and he fires off one brilliant guitar solo after another.
The quality of the material is impressive and solid as a rock to say the least; you don’t get tired of listening to METAL. Waters has almost exceeded himself with METAL and when I listen to the songs that are especially good, I almost bring out the jackpot rating.
“Clown Parade” opens the album; it’s a fast and heavy thrash anthem with lots of attitude and a hell of a lot of tempo & guitar riffs. Nevermore’s Jeff Loomis guests on lead guitar and throws sharp riffs that are hard to avoid. It’s the perfect way to open the album. In “Couple Suicide” the tempo slows down but it’s still as hard as ever. It’s a melodic heavy metal track with Danko Jones (Danko Jonas) and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) on shared lead vocals. This song is probably the calmest one Waters has ever done. In “Army of One” we return to the promised land of fast technical thrash songs. Steve “Lips” Kudlow (Anvil) guests and it’s dedicated to all fans of metal. Waters sings in “Operation Annihilation” and it’s more of an old school thrash song in which Waters duels with the Swedish Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott. “Haunted” and “Kicked” are two solid pure Annihilator tracks. In the first song, Jesper Strömblad from In Flames guests on guitars and gives an amazing effort. “Couple Suicide” includes an appearance from Trivium’s Corey Beaulie and sounds pretty much like “Clown Parade”.
METAL is a metal album in its purest form and is no doubt the strongest album by Annihilator in many years. It’s a strong album but despite that I’m not sure that it’s gonna be remembered as an Annihilator all time high album. If you’re into the band and want to see them live then catch the Iced Earth tour that Annihilator is supporting.