Released: 2004, The End/AFM
Canadian semi-legends Annihilator have always been a left-of-center group of thrashers. Their quirky arrangements and odd sense of lyrical humor seem to have escaped the grasp of most metalheads, even though albums like ALICE IN HELL and NEVER NEVERLAND stand as minor classics in the genre. Moreover, the band has created one of this reviewer’s personal favorite records in the shape of 1993’s SET THE WORLD ON FIRE. Furthermore, shredder/dictator Jeff Waters has served as a major influence on prominent axe men of today, such as Children of Bodom’s Alexi “Wildchild” Laiho.
That’s why I just can’t understand why the band is content in releasing such an immature record as ALL FOR YOU. Annihilator has always had a history of having a revolving door lineup situation, and this album is no different. Featuring new vocalist Dave Padden and drummer Mike Mangini, ALL FOR YOU is another nine tracks of up tempo thrash metal in the vein of previous efforts such as CRITERIA FOR A BLACK WIDOW.
Featuring Waters’ frenetic and lighting quick picking style, there is definitely no shortage of cool riffs here, nor strong choruses, as the man has always possessed an ear for melody (“The One“). It’s just the vibe lyrically is so hokey and sophomoric, it’s really difficult to take anything seriously. Dave Padden really has a voice with mountains of potential, if he could just escape the pitfalls of Waters’ inanely cheesy lyrics.
“Both of Me”, “Bled”, and “Rage Absolute” serve as album highlights, but the vibe on the whole is something I just can’t get behind, unfortunately. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor, or that I don’t like “fun” music. It’s just that I feel that these lyrics serve as a smokescreen for guitar acrobatics, rather than integral parts of the songs, which is what they should be. It’s insulting to the rest of the band and insulting to my intelligence as a listener.
In my opinion, Annihilator will always be a thrash blast that from the past, and that’s where it should remain. In the meantime, I’m going to go break out my copy of SET THE WORLD ON FIRE, and try to forget this one…