Ten Years In Hell (DVD)
A step back in time
Annihilator joined the fray of thrash bands when they released 1989's Alice In Hell. Technically, one could argue that their Phantasmagoria EP was their first release in 1986, but for all intents and purposes for this review, 1989 is the start of the focus of Ten Years In Hell. Although originally forming a few years prior to that, the one constant that would remain throughout the band's continually evolving career was guitarist Jeff Waters.
The first disc features a two hour montage of rare and interesting TV interviews, promotional spots, record release parties, live and studio clips that were all taken from the band's first ten years which takes them from the Alice In Hell days through to 1999's Criteria For A Black Widow. Mixed in with this collection of footage, some of which probably hasn't been seen before, is the complete set of video clips to Alison Hell, Stonewall, Set The World On Fire, King Of The Kill, 21, Syn. Kill I and Only Be Lonely. There's little doubt that the first disc covers a lot of ground from the visual aspect of Annihilator's career that spans seven studio albums one compilation album and a live album.
If you have any doubts that the first disc has left a few stones unturned, then the second disc will definitely clear them. For almost two hours, Waters narrates the band's history from it's formative days through to 1999 in extreme detail. Although I'm a fan of Annihilator's earlier work more so than their later material, the documentary was interesting and informative as Waters passionately describes the trials and tribulations of the process of getting his dream off the ground and to where it is today. Lending a helping hand to the story telling process are his former partners in crime such as John Bates, Coburn Pharr (who fronted the band for 1990's Never Neverland), Russell Bergquist (who played bass on Criteria For A Black Widow) and Mike Mangini (who played drums on Set The World On Fire), who take some time to share their experiences and stories from their time in Annihilator.
A documentary like this isn't for everyone. In fact, some may see this as being purely self indulgent exercise from Waters. However, thrash fans will definitely get a kick out of this release from the vintage mullet laden metal footage of the 80s through to Annihilator's more recent work. New school metal fans may scoff at such a release, but it's important to realise that the past shapes the future, and this release certainly provides a very good history lesson about these Canadian metallers.