Well rounded guest fest lives up to its name
With a career that's spanned close to twenty years, Canadian technical thrash/groove metal act Annihilator have seen more than their fair share of career highs and lows, but have all the while they have maintained a consistency that has earned the band a reputation as true survivors. After a solid return to form effort in 2005's Schizo Deluxe, Annihilator (Led by group founder, guitarist, bassist and backing vocalist Jeff Waters, lead/backing vocalist Dave Padden and a return stint from drumming legend Mike Mangini) once again return with their twelfth full-length effort Metal. Hyped up as album that would appeal to fans of guitar orientated albums and boasting no less than ten special guest appearances from various well-known metal acts, and opting for a moniker as blatant as Metal, there's a lot of expectations on the group's new album, and for the most part, Waters delivers on his promise.
The opening track Clown Parade is a great start to the album with Waters laying down a thick thrash/groove based riff, while Padden's vocals give the band's sound an all important injection of melody throughout. Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis is the first guest appearance to feature on the album, with his shredding abilities sitting comfortably alongside Waters' own efforts. Taking a complete left turn is the follow up track Couple Suicide. Guest vocalists Danko Jones and Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) are teamed up for what is essentially a very experimental alternative rock sounding number, and while it certainly works for the most part (Gossow's screams sound more like an add on rather than a genuine collaboration), you just help but feel that the song really isn't something you would expect from a band such as Annihilator.
Steering things back on track is the rocking Army Of One (An ode to all things old school metal wise, and featuring Anvil guitarist Steve 'Lips' Kudlow), while Downright Dominate (Featuring Children Of Bodom's Alexi Laiho) and Smothered (Featuring The Haunted's Anders Björler) manage to up the heaviness a little, and put things firmly back within the metal realm. Waters takes a commanding role in Operation Annihilation in the lead vocal sense (And Arch Enemy's Michael Amott in the guitar sense), thus adding a little more aggression to proceedings, but it's tracks such as the constantly changing and lengthy Haunted (Featuring In Flames' Jesper Strömblad), Kicked (Featuring Trivium's Corey Beaulieu), Detonation (Featuring Lynam's Jacob Lynam) and Chasing The High (Featuring Lamb Of God's William Adler) that Annihilator really get to show off their metal credentials.
Although I wouldn't go as far as to say that Annihilator's latest is anything cutting edge or truly mesmerising, for an Annihilator release, Metal is consistent, extremely enjoyable and well and truly metal sounding.
(Neverland Music Inc./Riot! Distributors)