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All For You
May 2004
Released: 2004, AFM Records
Rating: 1.5/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

Gods of Metal ... please remove this abomination from before of me, lest my eyes be struck blind and my eardrums be devoured by maggots! What is exactly THIS? It’s not quite metal and it’s not quite mallcore, so I’m going to mercifully call it modern hard rock. And in that regard, ALL FOR YOU reminds me of Megadeth’s RISK. Like RISK, this album doesn’t make a lot of sense coming from the band that produced it. After building a legacy grounded in thrash and gradually evolving into more mainstream-sounding metal, why would a band try to make a hard rock album? How likely is it that a band this far into their career is going to gain a new audience in a different style of music? You’re only going to alienate your old fans and be ignored by the target audience looking for the next new thing, not a re-tooled 80s dinosaur. I’ll give RISK this though, at least it was a solid hard rock album. This ain’t even that. And to make matters worse, much of the material (vocals, lyrics and sound effects) on ALL FOR YOU is clearly geared to a very young audience. I hate when bands won’t grow up with their fans. For the love of God, some of us are in our thirties now!

By my count, ALL FOR YOU puts the catalogue of original, studio albums from Annihilator at around eleven. Honestly, with the exception of ALICE IN HELL and NEVER, NEVERLAND, I’ve never really delved that deeply into the band. I’ve heard three or four other albums, but the aforementioned are the only two I’ve actually truly worshiped! As for their history, I know that Jeff Waters has been the one constant and driving creative force behind the band, while everyone else has been expendable. It should come as no surprise then that AFY introduces a new vocalist in Dave Padden. First the good: Padden can sing in a lot of different vocal styles. Now the bad: Padden spends most of the time sounding totally out of place. He is NOT a thrash vocalist. Hell, he may not even be a metal vocalist. Which is fine, but Annihilator is a metal band.

Let me touch on a few songs that sort of sum up AFY. The title track is also the opening track. Very disappointing. What we have here is a very modernish hard rock song featuring all the elements that make for MTV airplay: vocals that alternate between clean singing, screaming/shouting and pseudo-rapping, a very chuggy, overused main riff and a melodic, catchy chorus. Lame. Later in the album we get a song called “Dr. Psyhco.” It starts off slow and ominous, with a voice-over by some dude who’s getting ready to go under the knife for some minor (plastic?) surgery. As he drifts off under the anesthetic, he starts to wonder about the intentions of the surgeon. The song then segues from the slow intro into a fast-paced thumper with an interesting bass line and then stays consistently fast throughout. During the song there is some cheesey lyrical interplay between doctor and patient, but the big problem with this song is the vocals. Some pseudo-rapping/talk-singing and nu-metal screaming followed by clean vocal choruses. Totally ruins what might have been a decent song. “Demon Dance” is another song with some real potential, but it nearly gets ruined when it essentially turns into a System Of A Down ripoff. The song is thrashier than much of the album with some nice guitar work, but the lyrics and vocal effects just plain destroy all momentum. First there’s the vocal that sounds like a crazed southern televangelist covering the verses, then a slightly chanted vocal for the choruses and some maniacal, goofy one word background shouts in the breaks between lines in the last chorus. Lyrically we get a song about depression and the “my life sucks, I’m going to commit suicide” mentality. I like the song, but it could have been much, much better. “The Nighmare Factory” teases at the start with an intro that feels like it came off one of the first two albums, but ends up sounding like an unholy union of Pantera and System Of A Down. Not much stands out as different through the rest of the album, though there are two ballads. A useless throwaway ballad in “Holding On” and a catchy, enjoyable one in “The One.” Though “The One” has a very modern AOR vibe and lyrics about falling in love, I can’t help but enjoy it. Good song, but not exactly what you’d expect from Annihilator. The only truly thrash song is “Rage Absolute,” which stays consistently good from start to finish.

The bottom line is, only a few songs on this album are worthy of the Annihilator brand. That doesn’t mean they’re great songs, just that they feel like Annihilator. Despite this turn of events, I still believe Waters has enough gas in the tank to make another great thrash album. Unfortunately, history has shown us that thrash bands who shift gears rarely return to what made them great. ‘Tis a shame, really. I hope the future proves me wrong. I’ll be happy to eat some crow.

Highlights: Rage Absolute, The One, Demon Dance

Genre References: Contemporary Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, Nu-metal
Track Listing

1. All For You
2. Weapon X
3. The Nightmare Factory
4. The One
5. Demon Dance
6. Rage Absolute
7. Both Of Me
8. Bled
9. Dr. Psycho
10. Holding On
11. The Sound Of Horror


Dave Padden - vocals
Jeff Waters - guitars
Curran Murphy - guitars
Russell Bergquist - bass
Mike Mangini - drums

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All For You
November 2004
Released: 2004, AFM
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I’ve pretty much gone against the grain when it comes to popular opinion of Annihilator. I like the one’s most people don’t like. I never really warmed up to the ‘comeback’ CD of Criteria or the following two. Now, All for you has hit between the eyes and I love it. Accordingly as per the trend, I have only read one positive review so far! Well, popular opinion can go to hell; this CD is awesome! Jeff makes the bold claim that this CD is his Back In Black and I agree.

There is a sense of fun that is back on this album with cuts like Dr. Pyscho and Demon Dance. It is nice to see Jeff softer side with two ballads on this CD, a point of contention for many fans and the admittedly odd choice of the lead-off track ‘All For You’ being mid-tempo and not a heads-down, balls-out shredder. Another minor point, I’m glad the Raggedy-Ann doll is back on the cover the last Annihilator album cover (Waking The Fury) was so painfully bad! The new cover looks mean and cool.

New voice Dave Padden is everyman and no man. He sounds like anyone but no one you can name. I suppose that could work against him as a generic voice or a master vocalist with multiple ranges and styles. I prefer the latter, he is a great fit for the band and he does an admirable job filling the shoes of several others who came before. It’s nice to see Mike Mangini (one of the best drummers on the planet, not just my opinion) back behind the kit again.

My one complaint is that lyrically Jeff has been re-treading the same ground for the past three albums. I fully understand he went through some very difficult times personally lately but every album has a couple of songs complaining about his ex-wife it seems. Maybe I’m reading into it too much. Of course he has the signature tune about dementia, this time it’s ‘Nightmare Factory’.

The songs this time around are just better in my opinion; catchy, fast, fun, mean loud they cover the range, making it admittedly a schizophrenic sounding CD unlike the last three which were more uniform to a large degree. The CD sounds great, looks great and is really entertaining. Ten studio CD’s and I like all of them, some more, some less but ‘All For You’ (despite a kinda lame title) vaults it’s way quickly into my Top Four range for the entire catalogue, which is a testament to the creativity and dynamic writing style of Jeff Waters. Don’t let the negative reviews sway you, listen for yourself and prepare to be Annihilated!

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All For You
February 2005
Released: 2004, The End/AFM
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: MetalGeorge

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…
Track Listing

1. All For You
2. Dr. Psycho
3. Demon Dance
4. The One
5. Bled
6. Both of Me
7. Rage Absolute
8. Holding On
9. Nightmare Factory
10. Sound of Horror


Dave Padden-vox
Jeff Waters- guitars/bass/backing vox, lead on “Holding On”
Mike Mangini-drums

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