Written by: AP on 06/06/2007 14:07:03

Though precluded from belonging to the "Big Four" of American thrash metal, Annihilator has established itself as an influential and highly regarded band of this genre, not least because of the critically acclaimed 1989 debut album, "Alice in Hell". Reputation aside, Annihilator's latest release "Metal" is packed with characteristic thrash metal attitude that, in the shadow of modernity, is hardly relevant today.

"Metal" is as starstruck as "The Allstar Sessions"; with guest performances by Jeff Loomis of Nevermore, Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom, Anders Björler of At The Gates, Michael Amott of Carcass and Arch Enemy, Jesper Strömblad of In Flames, Corey Beaulieu of Trivium and Willie Adler of Lamb of God; a line up that amounts to a featured guest on every song of the album, yet falls short in virtually every imaginable way. The problem is not the collaborators though - on the contrary. The problem arises with the realization that there aren't many good songs on the album, and the ones that are good (or have good parts), are only good because Dave Padden isn't singing. It's Willie Adler, Alexi Laiho or Angela Gossow, and if I wanted to hear these artists at their best, I'd listen to Lamb of God, Children of Bodom or Arch Enemy.

Annihilator doesn't hide the fact that the band pays tribute and owes to the "Big Four" ("Army of One" is entirely dedicated to praising such bands), but even if "Metal" is dedicated to the good old days and a reminder of the persistence of thrash metal, it fails at a great many things. One of these things is something that was pointed out in our review of the band's live performance supporting Trivium; namely the band's incapacity to differentiate one riff from another. "Metal" does a far better job in this regard, but I suspect the occasional guitar virtuosity that is, not surprisingly, found on the songs with a guest performance by an able guitarist, not something Jeff Waters can take credit for (though his guitar-playing is legendary). Then again, Annihilator's line-up currently consists just Dave Padden and Jeff Waters, so the guest performances were vital if "Metal" was to be realized.

"Metal" is a contradictory album, in that it might as well have been released as a compilation album á la "The Allstar Sessions". The rare good passages on this album owe their quality to guests, and what's left is Annihilator's recycled riffage. Though I have no doubts that old school thrash metallists will receive "Metal" with open arms, the overall impression is dated, uninteresting and of no modern significance.


Download: Couple Suicide, Downright Dominate, Chasing the High

For the fans of: Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Metallica

Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.04.2007


Provided by Target ApS

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