Thrash metal is alive and well. This critic has pointed this out more than once during the course of this year. New, successful albums released this year from the likes of Testament, Warbringer and Sepultura have supported that statement without any doubt. They are just a few of the albums that have served to support the noted statement. They are just some of those examples of what has made the thrash world so strong this year. They also were not the first of the year’s major thrash albums. Annihilator beat all of them to the punch on January 24 with the release of its latest album Ballistic, Sadistic. The band’s 17th full-length studio recording, its 10 total songs make the album everything that audiences have come to expect from the veteran metal outfit, musically speaking. This will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical themes work with that noted musical aspect to add to the record’s appeal. It will be addressed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. It will also be addressed later. Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this recording. All things considered, they make Ballistic, Sadistic another win for Annihilator and its fans.
Annihilator’s latest album Ballistic, Sadistic is a pure example from start to end of why this band has remained such a respected act both within the thrash and metal realms for more than 35 years. That is proven in part through the 45-minute album’s overall musical presentation. The album’s musical arrangements are, from one to the next, everything that audiences have come to expect from the band. The shredding riffs are there as are front man Jeff Waters’ grinding vocals and drummer Fabio Alessandrini’s solid time keeping and fills. From the full-throttle approach of ‘Out With The Garbage’ to the almost power metal approach of ‘Lip Service’ to the equally driving arrangement of ‘The Attitude,’ audiences get everything that they have come to expect from Annihilator on this latest offering from the veteran metal outfit. What’s interesting to note in examining the arrangements is that for all of the familiarity present throughout the course of the 45-minute record, there are some aspects that audiences will find interesting in their own right. That arrangement at the center of ‘The Attitude’ is just one of those moments that stands out. The nearly five-minute song opens with what is best described as something of a doom sound with the slow, heavy guitars and equally impacting drumming. This element lasts almost two minutes before the band launches into the more full-throttle, old school thrash sound for which it has come to be known. ‘One Wrong Move’ is another example of some changes from the band, that audiences will like. Roughly halfway through the course of the nearly five-minute song, which in its overall presentation sounds a lot like old school Metallica circa 1991 (and old school Pantera for that matter), the song becomes decidedly subdued. That change of tone is only temporary, though, as the song soon after, as the band gets right back to the song’s original heaviness after the brief respite. Between these two changes, the more familiar aspects of the band’s musical work and the rest of the work not addressed, the album’s overall musical content creates a solid foundation for its presentation. The record’s lyrical themes rest on that foundation, making the album even more appealing for audiences.
The lyrical themes featured throughout the course of Ballistic, Sadistic strengthen the foundation formed by the album’s musical arrangements. That is because the themes in question are topics to which listeners can relate. “The Attitude’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement. The song comes across as addressing those people who live to make others’ lives miserable. It is a familiar topic that has been covered many times from one act to the next and from one genre to the next. But even in the case of this presentation, it still maintains its appeal to listeners. Case in point is the song’s lead verse, which states, “Years of blood, sweat and tears/Under the belt/Disregard, disrespect for what you’ve been dealt/best defense, arrogance/You know it all/Enjoy your time while it lasts/Before you fall.” The damning indictment of such behaviors from those people continues in the song’s second verse, “It’s dragging me down/Pessimist/What do you know/In a couple of years, wait and see/You’ve got nothing to show/telling me how/Teaching me how it’s done/Feel the need to educate everyone” and adds in the song’s third and final verse, “You’ll learn the lesson/Learn it well/Save your tears/I’d wish you luck/Don’t fuck a f***/get out of here.” That final statement is the most telling, as the song’s subject clearly is taking on that negativist, telling that person that he/she is not wanted or welcome. When that forceful statement is coupled with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement, the whole of the song is certain to leave a lasting impact on listeners. It is just one of the most notable examples of what makes the album’s lyrical content stand out. ‘Dressed Up For Evil’ shows in its own way what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to its presentation.
‘Dressed Up For Evil’ does not come right out and say it, but could very easily be considered a statement against none other than the “Mango Monster” himself, Donald J. Trump. This is inferred right from the song’s outset as the song states, “Put on your best suit and pick out your tie/Cover up the hooves/A devil in disguise/Jump in your fancy car/Women, a plaything/Everyone’s inferior/All hail the king/Lake Damien from The Omen/A business camouflage/Hanging with your worshippers/Your phony entourage/Blending in with all of us/A smell of rotten flesh/Fending off the flies.” The seeming statement about the wannabe dictator continues in the song’s second verse, “So condescending/Rotten to the core/Everyone’s beneath you/Put ‘em down some more/Tempting with currency/Preying on the greed/Extend the family/With demon seed/People are just property/Amassing your net worth/Building up the empire/Right here on Earth/Delusions, illusions/All a fantasy/No guilty conscience/A moral bankruptcy.” The song’s third and final verse follows in similar fashion, but at least ends the song with a “happy” ending, stressing to that evil figure, “The reign is over/Good has overcome/Dealing with the aftermath/The healing has begun.” One can only hope that the healing will begin come November when hopefully the giant cheeto will be gone from the White House. Considering all of this, the song is a song that will certainly resonate with plenty of listeners. It is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation. ‘Lip Service’ is yet another way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Lip Service’ presents a certain intentional double entendre. On the one hand, there is a clear sexual aspect to the song, as it states at one point, “Sweat dripping from the skin/’m dancing with the ultimate done/Like a sweet peach dipped in honey/With a taste that’s second to none/Down we go/It’s just what you need/Your pleasure and my treat/I got dessert to eat.” Again, the sexual nature is fully evident here, but at the same time, one can consider that lip service meaning someone lying to another, there is a commentary here about just that. People so often will pay lip service to others in order to get what they want. That could be what is being addressed here in the bigger picture. It could be a man trying to woo a woman. It could be a brown noser sucking up to a boss. Overall, the song’s lyrical content, with that seeming commentary and double entendre will certainly reach listeners and keep them just as engaged and entertained as the lyrical content featured in the album’s other noted songs and those not directly addressed. All things considered here, the lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical content, make the album that much more enjoyable for listeners. While the overall content goes a long way toward making it worth hearing, it is not all that audiences will appreciate. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Ballistic, Sadistic is important to note because it does just as much to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the album’s overall content. Clocking in at just over 45 minutes in length, a lot is going on in the album. Yet even with so much happening, the album is well balanced in its energies and time. The album’s two halves each run just over 20 minutes, with the longest of the record’s songs each running a little more than five minutes. That means that at no point does the album let itself drag. Even with the slight stylistic changes in some of the songs, each song still keeps the album’s overall energy moving throughout. The result is a presentation that is just as appealing for its aesthetics as for its content. Keeping that in mind, the album in whole proves clearly why it is another positive offering from Annihilator that is also among the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
Annihilator’s 17th album Ballistic, Sadistic is another successful offering from the veteran thrash metal outfit. That is proven in part through it musical arrangements which present plenty of familiar sounds and stylistic approaches alongside a little something new. The album’s lyrical themes will connect with listeners just as much as its musical arrangements, as has been pointed out here. The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Each item noted is important in its own right to the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Ballistic, Sadistic a presentation that the band’s established fan base will appreciate just as much as metal aficionados in general. It is available now through Neverland Music, Inc. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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