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  ANNIHILATOR
O2, ABC 2, Glasgow
2nd October 2015


Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland


annihilator

Canadian thrash Metal legends Annihilator have been around in various guises for over thirty years with vocalist/guitarist Jeff Waters as the sole constant presence.

During that time they have gone from being one of the nearly bands who didn't quite get out of the big four's shadow to a band with a hard core following that have produced a string of high quality shredding thrash Metal albums in their own particular style.

Their own style is something which I think is worth emphasising as while they often get talked about in the same breath as bands like Testament, Exodus and Death Angel I don't think they really sound like them at all.

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Opening track 'King Of The Kill’ is a case in point. It's pounding riff and breakneck rhythms get the crowd going straight away but it is a sound all their own, matching power Metal style kick drums to a technical shredding kind of guitar playing which is a joy but full of what I can only describe as precision.

There is no thrash at all really in next song 'Snap' from the latest 'Suicide Solution' album but its stalking, dangerous Heavy Metal groove is no less welcome for all that. The title track follows and again shows their technical Metal vibe, invented decades ahead of the Tech Metal appearing in the underground Metal scene in the past few years.

Jeff Waters is obviously enjoying himself immensely, playing with a smile on his face as he shreds on his guitar and takes sole lead vocal duties. He is ably backed up by newbies Rich Hinks on bass and Aaron Homma on guitar, the latter in particular has perfected a crazed game face which is a fun addition to the live show.

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Drummer Mike Harshaw can look pretty crazy himself as he batters his way through all those precise superfast kick drum beats.

The show loses its' impetus a little after a good start with the bunch of newer songs played back to back. Despite Waters' ever present smiley good humour it's a nice change of pace when they power into the staccato rhythms of 'Set The World On Fire' and a cheery 'W.Y.T.D.'.

A song with a chorus line of “Welcome to your death” shouldn't really be something to smile about I guess but that's kind of the Annihilator vibe, keep smiling through the thrash. Maybe that's why they never made it bigger than they did, they were too nice and too much fun!

'Never Neverland' is a change of pace with its' quieter sections before the riffs of precision return by the end. 'Tricks And Traps' and 'Second To None' are a real delve deep into the back catalogue but 'Refresh The Demon' brings us back to the more recent output with a double bass drum bang.

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There was a minute or so of darkness and silence before the intro tape effects for 'Brain Dance' kicked in. This was something they did a few times and I don't like the dead space it left. They have an engaging and warmly liked front man in Waters, surely he can cover those moments?

I wasn't over enamoured with the choice to have a small section of the song pre recorded too but by the time the classic riff of 'Phantasmogoria' had kicked in they were forgiven these small indiscretions.

At this point the curse of the venue curfew kicked in as the band had to cut the set short by four songs(not sure why they allowed the two support bands full sets in the circumstances) so it was a final blast through the classic 'Alison Hell' which was as mad, as bad and as glorious as ever.

Annihilator are not entirely like other thrash bands but I really like their precise, off the wall, goofy, smiling, Canadian take on thrash Metal and they have the tunes and the chops to match virtually anyone else in the genre. Highly recommended to see live.

annihilator

Line up:
Jeff Waters – lead guitar, vocals
Rich Hinks – bass
Mike Harshaw – drums
Aaron Homma – guitars

Click here for MetalTalk's video interview with Jeff Waters of Annihilator

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