Released: 2013, UDR
Reviewer: Robert Williams
FEAST is the fourteenth full length studio album from Ottawa's seasoned metal veterans Annihilator. The core duo of band mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Waters and vocalist Dave Padden has been intact a good ten years now, making this one of the longest standing musical collaborations in Annihilator history (a history dating all the way back to 1984).
The maniacal thrashing intensity of "Deadlock" opens up FEAST with machine gun riffing and appropriately "deadlocked" double bass drum precision courtesy of drummer Mike Hardshaw. Jeff Waters absolutely murders his guitar with razor sharp verse sections and some over the top soloing. Dave Padden's gruff vocal approach perfectly suits the musical abrasiveness of Annihilator's brand of tech-thrash. "No Way Out" opens with the guitar playing a demented little melody, harmonized to sound spastic before kicking into an unrelenting, pulverizing barrage of thrashing, neck-snapping riffery. The way drummer Mike Harshaw is able to seamlessly shift between tempos is pretty inhuman. This guy is a fucking machine of syncopated wizardry if you ask me. "Smear Campaign" begins amid a bouncy, if not modern sounding verse section, containing within it's framework an insane tech-thrash breakdown about a minute into the song, before returning to the thematic verse riff to tie it all together.
A funky bassline opens "No Surrender" and instantly reminds me of why I hate funky basslines. The dated sounding shouted gang vocals don't do anything for me either. I have no idea what the band was going for here. "Wrapped" features hard rockin' AC/DC styled riffs along with some pretty bluesy soloing. It's pretty obvious by this point that FEAST is all over the map musically speaking. All kinds of influences and styles on tap here. "Perfect Angel Eyes" is an acoustic ballad and mostly a yawnfest to be honest. Everyone get up and stretch your legs, go grab a beer or nuke something in the microwave. When you come back it's time for the speed metal assault of "Demon Code". This is another mean asskicker of an Annihilator song with plenty of bite and in a way kind of makes up for the previous song being so wimpy and stupid. "Fight The World" threatens to delve more into acoustic ballad territory, but it was just a fake out all along, as a minute and twenty seconds into the song the distorted battle cry of the electric guitars come into the picture along with drums and bass and heaping helpings of furious speed are unleashed decapitating everything in sight. FEAST comes to a close with "One Falls, Two Rise" which builds on a ballad like modern hard rock clean guitar interlude before transitioning into a properly punishing passage of tech-thrash annihilation, where lightning speed buzzsaw guitars are playing for keeps and wrecking your neck is the ultimate goal.
The deluxe edition of FEAST contains a bonus disc of re-recorded Annihilator classics titled "Re-Kill" that the band had recorded in 2012. Among the classics are "Alison Hell" Never Neverland" "Welcome To Your Death WTYD" AND "Word Salad." The band's current line-up is arguably as good as any they've ever sported and as probably unnecessary as it is for any band to re-record older tracks from their back catalogue, it is a pretty enjoyable trip down memory lane. The album artwork on FEAST features some bloodied zombie creature holding a torn out human heart in her hand. The deluxe edition has made a hologram out of this cover art on a hard cover book type of digipack. You open it up and there's a booklet inside with album credits and lyrics. The packaging is really nice.
Overall I'd say FEAST is a pretty badass album. There were one or two tracks I probably could have done without but the bonus disc of re-recorded classics and the cool aforementioned hologram album cover alone make this a cool collectible for any metal fan. Fans of Annihilator would do well to secure a copy.