Written by: GR on 21/11/2010 23:35:08

There have been a fair number of new releases by legendary thrash bands in recent times, many following reunions of classic lineups over the past few years. Canadians Annihilator kicked off their recording career in the late 80s with the enduring "Alice In Hell" and have been around ever since, consistently putting out albums every couple of years to varying degrees of success. The revolving-door line-up based around mainman Jeff Waters (a quick check online shows over 25 former members) signed a new deal with Earache earlier in the year which has seen the release of this, their self-titled 13th studio album.

Having never disappeared from the scene and not being a line-up reunion, there wasn't really the pressure on Annihilator to match up to a certain legacy with this album. There was, however, the need to produce something a damn sight better than 2007s awful "Metal" - an album I've never actually managed to listen to all the way through, such is the guest-appearance-galore tripe found within. In that context, the band have recorded something a lot more listenable here - although admittedly they would have been hard pushed to come up with something worse. The reaction to this release back in the summer from most quarters of the metal media was rather positive, but I find myself in two minds over the 10 tracks. From the off, it's obvious Jeff Waters' guitar wizardry is still a potent force, with opener "The Trend" featuring some excellent and memorable playing, some of which harks back to those early albums. This is generally true across the whole record and provides enjoyable moments of catchy riffs and searing solos. I'd even say that the song-writing could be argued to be pretty good overall, even inventive at times, yet I somehow don't get along with what's on offer here as a whole.

I think a lot of it is due to the vocal performance of Dave Padden as well as song-writing elements that lean heavily on modern metal - maybe I'm just too old-school at heart. A case in point is the chorus of "Death In Your Eyes", which sounds far too processed and almost whiny. Along with some parts that sound as though the band are trying too hard to be revelant to 'the kids', I'm left a bit cold by an album that, on the face of it, I should enjoy. This just highlights how personal an experience listening to music can be, so give this album a go; it's potentially decent if it 'clicks' for you. Oh, and it does finish with a pretty cool cover of Van Halen's "Romeo Delight".

Download: The Trend, Ambush, Romeo Delight
For The Fans Of: Thrash

Listen: Myspace

Release Date 17.05.2010

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