Annihilator – Criteria For A Black Widow

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: November 1999
Released: 1999, Roadrunner
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Why in the hell does a Canadian band have to sell their CD’s in North America as an import? This damn CD has been out now for almost 1/2 a year yet a domestic release still hasn’t happened. Apparently, CMC has picked this up for distribution in January along with re-releases of “King Of The Kill”, “Refresh The Demon” and “Remains”, so many of you will probably have to wait until then to check this CD out (whew). Now that I have that little rant out of my system, let’s get onto what’s important – the music!!!

As you may already know, Jeff Waters has re-formed three fourths of the classic Annihilator line-up for Criteria For A Black Widow. The question I had in mind was – would he be able to re-capture the glory of this now legendary band? HELL YES!! This CD is a total thrashterpiece! Combine all the anger of the early Annihilator CD’s with the intensity of say Witchery and you have a recipe for a CD that kicks major ass. Even though Jeff Waters has continued to put out great material under the Annihilator name, this is the first time in years that he’s really written something so intense. The CD’s highpoints are hard to pick as the whole CD is simply awesome. The opening track “Blood Bath” lets you know right away that Annihilator are back and plan on taking no prisoners! I also thought the title track (CFABW) with Jeff’s quirky guitar style on the intro, was a cool choice for the title track. Then there is “Back to the Palace” which begins with a riff that has the same theme as the classic “Fun Palace” and don’t forget Jeff’s ripping solos scattered throughout the entire CD – just jump to the 5minute mark on track five, tell me that’s not amazing guitar playing! Other highlights for me include the vulgar “Loving The Sinner” – man the outro on that one alone has me thinking old 80’s thrash… yes!! Then there’s “Double Dare” – awesome, “Sonic Homoicide” – bringing back memories of the early Annihilator (ie. Phantasmagoria). The only thing with “Sonic Homicide” that took away from the effect is the distortion on the vocals – not necessary. I could go on and drool some more but enough is enough. I love the whole damn CD and it’s worth picking up for any fan of Annihilator and for anyone who likes their metal played with anger, aggression and talent!!

Listening to this makes me realize why I became so mesmerized by thrash metal to begin with. When it comes to the topic of the lyrics it seems most of this is based on personal experiences and feelings. The title track itself was probably spawned from recent turmoil in Jeff’s life. Criteria For A Black Widow doesn’t “rock.” To put it like that would be an insult! It’s not death metal, nor is it power metal…this is Annihilator at their best; playing the music they were meant to play – thrash metal!


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