THE 22nd of OCTOBER
REVIEW BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
The long-running Canadian thrash metal veteran Annihilator has visited Finland a couple of times before. Their first visit happened back in 1991 as support for Judas Priest and Pantera, who were largely still an unknown act. Their second visit was a couple of years ago when the band supported Trivium at the sold-out The House of Culture. Therefore, it was about time for Jeff Waters and the company to have a headlining show of their own. The timing was nothing but perfect when over 600 metalheads crawled to the show on a Friday night.
Before Jeff Waters got on the stage with the “Alison Hell,” there were two mandatory support bands. Only a handful of people watched Norwegian stoner rock combo Svolk, who delivered a good but concise set of stoner rock material. Another support act was a young British thrash act named Sworn Amongst. The band was playing tight and high-quality whipping thrash. They have remained quite a mystery to the Finnish metal crowd, but they have a couple of albums out.
After the mandatory support acts, Annihilator hit the stage and kicked the set off with the furious new self-titled album opening track “Ambush” continued by amazing “Clown Parade” and ultra-fast “Plasma Zombies.” Right from the beginning, it was Waters who took command and everyone under his wings. Waters jumped around the stage and was having fun with the audience, whereas lead vocalist Dave Padden remained more to the side, focusing on handling the vocals and the guitar playing. Even though Padden has often been criticized for being not that great of a frontman, nowadays, he definitely deserves kudos for doing nothing but a great job on stage! His voice sounded much more vital and aggressive in the live situation compared to what can be heard on studio albums. Also, he did impressive work with some classic tunes like: “Fun Palace,” “Phantasmagoria,” and “Set the World on Fire.” The newer material sounded ass-kicking indeed.
Jeff Waters handled lead vocals on a couple of songs, including four KING OF THE KILL album tracks. In the last quarter of the set, the band did an acoustic medley of SET THE WORLD ON FIRE album material. Needless to even mention, “Phoenix Rising” and “Sounds Good to Me” sounded absolutely outstanding. Padden’s voice worked perfectly in the acoustic so-called ballad songs, and Waters and bassist Al Campuzino sang some great harmonies.
As for the setlist, of course, the legendary ALICE IN HELL album plays an important role in the history of Annihilator, and the set covered all essential Annihilator classics. Still, some rarely heard gems such as “Tricks and Traps” from REMAINS and “Hell Is a War” from KING OF THE KILL. Altogether there were songs included from nine Annihilator albums. Perhaps some more material from the Joe Comeau era should be added to the set? Of course, there are also a couple of tracks like “Never Neverland” and “Stonewall,” which should always belong to the set, but you can’t always get everything at one time.
All in all, this Annihilator show was definitely one of the best, if not the best, thrash metal concerts of the year!! Amazingly, it took all in all 21 years for Annihilator to make it to Finland to do their first headline show. Hopefully, it won’t take another 21 years to witness Annihilator again in Finland.
Welcome back any day!!
King Of The Kill
Hell Is A War
Set The World On Fire
The Fun Palace
Tricks And Traps
Medley: Phoenix Rising/Sounds Good To Me
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