Annihilator’s latest full length studio release is a breath of fresh air for the metal community. The veteran Canadian metal band released this past September, its fourteenth (yes, fourteenth) full length release. It couldn’t have chosen a better name than Feast for its new album. That’s because at a time when so many thrash and hardcore bands continue to rely on crunchy, down-tuned guitars and cookie monster growls to fill their audiences’ appetites, Annihilator has taken what is increasingly the road less travelled. The band’s new album is pure thrash metal at its best. From its speed metal riffs to the pounding vocals of front man David Padden and the songs’ lyrical content, every pure blooded metal head will find something to appreciate in this record.
Annihilator has seen its share of ups and downs ever since the release of the band’s debut record, Alice in Hell. The band has changed labels and band members so much that one would seemingly need a program to keep up with it all. Through it all, one thing has stayed constant for this band. That one constant has been the band’s ability to make some of the best pure thrash metal out there. While the metal community has leaned its focus more on the “metalcore” genre over the years, Annihilator has remained one of the few bands to not go that route. This aspect alone makes Feast a must hear for any purist metal head. Right from the album’s opener, ‘Deadlock’, listeners are transported back to the golden days of metal courtesy of guitarist Jeff Waters’ solid shredding and drummer Mike Harshaw’s time keeping. And even vocalist David Padden’s vocals add their own positive element to the song, not to mention the song’s social commentary. Padden writes in this song a piece that while somewhat nihilistic, also holds some truth. He writes, “We face our extinction day after day/Oblivious to what we’ll become/Persist to exist in our pathetic ways/With nothing to show when it’s done/We take what they give/Complacency to the masses/Content to consume/The idiots outbreeding twenty to one/Ensuring our future is doomed.” It comes across as a commentary on how people seem to be increasingly embracing the mantra that ignorance is bliss. He doesn’t stop here, either. He adds commentary on America’s blind consumerism and desire for the next big thing as he writes, “Standing in line for the latest release/An upgrade to s*** we don’t need/A fist full of cash/And a smile on your face/A wallet just dying to bleed.” This couldn’t be truer. Just look at how people in general clamor for the next big product from Apple and other major tech companies. Such biting commentary set next to equally powerful music makes this song quite the tasty first course from Annihilator’s new musical “feast.” And yes that bad pun was entirely intended.
The band doesn’t let up one bit after ‘Deadlock’ ends. Listeners will appreciate ‘Smear Campaign’ just as much as the album’s opener. They will once again appreciate it not just for the music but for its equally biting commentary. Guitarist Jeff Waters wrote this song. This full on defiant anthem will give strength to anyone that has ever been tormented by those that live their lives trying to make others’ lives miserable. Waters writes in this song, “Demonize, jeopardize, spreading your disease/So glad you’ve had your fun/Making up your stories/Spewing them with ease/But now your time is done/Can’t look in my eyes/You won’t apologize/Judge you should not/But now I hope you rot/Sad, weak and insecure/Your life is just a fail bitterness and jealousy/Fabricate now too late/The coffin and the nail/It’s time for remedy.” This song could not be more important to this album. It is an important addition to the album because of its power. Much like a number of songs crafted by Hatebreed, it’s one of those defiant fist pumpers that flips the proverbial middle finger at those defeatists that would do whatever they can to pull down those around them. That combination of musical and lyrical intensity will most certainly raise the mindset of any member of the metal community in hard times. So Waters and his band mates are to be commended for including this song on this album.
Waters exhibited quite a bit of writing and musical prowess in his crafting of ‘Smear Campaign.’ In the same vein, listeners will appreciate the longer but just as thrashing ‘Fight The World.’ This song is such an interesting addition to ‘Feast’ because it too is so powerful both musically and lyrically speaking. Waters and his band mates fool listeners at first with this song by starting it off very slow and mournful for lack of better wording. Set against the song’s lyrical content, it would actually be quite powerful had it maintained that slower more emotional sound. But that slower, mournful sound doesn’t last long as the band very soon thereafter kicks into yet another full on thrash sound, making it just as powerful if not more so than the hypothesized sound. That straightforward thrash sound set against Padden singing, “It’s easy to give up/To lose all hope/To use a substance to cope/I pick myself up/Turn this around/I’ll win this battle/You won’t take me down” makes it one more invaluable addition to the album’s sequencing. It makes Feast that much better to take in no matter if one is new to the band’s music or a fan from way back when.
The songs included in Feast are definitely songs that any pure blooded metal head will appreciate. That’s evidenced through just the three songs noted here. They aren’t all that audiences will appreciate. Just as wonderful to note is the musicianship of the band’s members. Annihilator has seen its share of members over the course of nearly a quarter of a century. But this most current lineup has shown with its musicianship that Annihilator is still very much a viable force in the metal community despite all of those changes. And with any luck, it will remain a force for the foreseeable future. The band is currently touring overseas in support of Feast. Fans can keep up with the band’s latest tour dates and more on Feast online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Annihilator/96141339730, http://twitter.com/annihilatorband, and http://www.annihilatormetal.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.