Live at Masters of Rock
Annihilator is too good to be true
Canadian Annihilator's Live at Masters of Rock had been released earlier in 2009 for all fan's viewing pleasures. Apparently, it did so well that SPV decided to release the album again solely in audio format. After giving this disc a listen it is understandable why this album would be so popular: it's a thrash metalhead's dream come true. Everything about the album is headbanging, catchy, and so crystal clear that one has to wonder if they're actually listening to a live band. The group never seems to tire as they deliver this masterpiece.
Well from the sound of the opening track and the screams of the fans before the acoustic guitars come in, Live... certainly holds the atmosphere of a live show. When the thrashing starts up on "King of the Kill," the listener is really thrown into the scene as the band hammers out licks and riffs so clearly that it seems like the entire thing was performed at a studio and the fans were just superimposed. Yes, it's that good. For those that are not used to Annihilator, think of their music style as a cross between Metallica ("Alison Hell") , Judas Priest ("Fun Palace"), and Pantera ("Operation Annihilation"). It's loud, it's crunchy, it's riff-tastic- try listening to "Operation Annihilation" without pumping your fist. You'll find yourself doing that a lot throughout the album, so make it habit. But, there's also a few metal ballad in this as well aside from the good, heavy stuff. "Never, Neverland" is a great slow number that sounds like Dream Theater without all the technical craziness. Not bad for someone who just half shouted their voice out for the past six tracks. And the best part is it suits both fans of hard and soft metal as halfway through the song things kick back into crunchy thrash mode. The final track is a great closer as it is the catchiest thrash song of all by combining all the elements on the album; it may not be the heaviest, but it'll leave a mark on the memory.
The band overall does a good job at keeping up interaction with audience on tracks like "Wicked Mystic" and "I Am in Command." And it's the serious type too, the kind that gets people motivated. The band doesn't try to get the crowd into overdrive and try to make lame jokes; they are strictly there to make the audience feel like they are a part of the show instead of just spectators. "W.T.Y.D" showcases an excellent example of this where the band draws the audience into the chorus; the energy just pulsates through the listener and makes them feel like they're right in the heat of the action. When the album's good and done you'll wonder why there couldn't have been more. Mostly, we have to thank modern production for the clean sound, but this isn't a dream, folks. This is Annihilator live!