Review Summary: A solid release by the Canadian Thrash band Annihilator.
When Annihilator released this album, they seemed to be on the rise. After releasing two classic thrash albums in their early career, many had high hopes for them. Alas, those hopes were never realized. They released a string of albums, most simply ok, some outright awful. But with Criteria for A Black Widow
, they seemed to have gotten back on track. Then they released another solid album in Carnival Diablos
. Thrash fans perked up with this, hoping the next album would realize their potential. Unfortunately, that’s not true. While not a bad album by any means, it’s not a fantastic one, it’s simply a pretty damn good one. Annihilator’s lineup at this time consisted of:
Jeff Waters- Guitar
Joe Comeau- Vocals
Russ Bergquist- Bass
Randy Black- Drums
Curran Murphy- Guitar
One of the driving forces for any thrash band is the guitars. And I have to admit, Jeff Waters knows what he’s doing. This album is full of great riffs; pretty much every song on this album has at least one or two riffs that get you banging your head. The solos are all technical and catchy, and quite varied for a thrash album. There are some slower, more melodic solos, and some fast-paced shredding solos, so you never really get tired of them, thinking that all the guitar parts sound the same. However, sometimes, the lead guitar parts are overpowered by the backing guitar chugging away. This always leaves me baffled, why would I want to hear loud, obnoxious chugging, instead of a well put together solo or cool riffs? What were you thinking Jeff Waters? They’re called backing guitars for a reason.
If any of you are familiar with Annihilator, you know they don’t keep vocalists (or any member besides Jeff) for a while. Maybe that was always their problem. Without a consistent lineup, maybe they could never really create a core, focused sound. Or maybe not. Anyways, this was Joe Comeau’s last album with Annihilator. It saddens me because he’s one of the better vocalists Annihilator has had. His vocals really fit the music, belting them out, his shout filled with aggression. There’s never really a moment where Joe sounds weak or does something that doesn’t fit the music. While, granted, he doesn’t have much variance, always doing the same sort of thing for each song; it’s never repetitive enough to be annoying or distracting. His aggressive shout fits well with the music, and I commend him for that. However, there is a part on the song “Ritual” that is kind of odd. He starts ranting a bit, and it’s supposed to represent him going insane or something, but it’s a little distracting.
The rhythm section is nothing more than a standard thrash metal rhythm section. Randy is pounding away on the drums, giving the song a good heartbeat, but not doing anything really spectacular. In fact, the one time he does, on the song “Striker,” it’s more distracting than anything else. In fact, it nearly kills the song. Throughout the song, it’s a pretty awesome fast-paced thrasher, but then it abruptly stops. There is a small bass part played, and then Randy gets a drum solo. While the drumming is technical and cool, it completely killed the forward momentum of one of the album’s best tracks. Russ Bergquist doesn’t do anything great on bass, just rumbles away, giving the band a solid undertone.
Throughout the album the production is great, which has always been a strength of Annihilator. The one thing about the production is that the guitars have an odd tone. It’s not bad, but it can bother some listeners and turn them off. Personally, I like it. It gives it a little more raw feeling, but not so much that it completely muffles the sound of the guitar.
Waking the Fury
is one of Annihilator’s better efforts of late, but it can’t measure up to their first two classics of thrash or one of their later albums, Schizo Deluxe
. While not an amazing album, it’s worth any fan of thrash metal’s time.
-Great guitar work
-Good, aggressive vocals
-Solid rhythm section
-Production may turn some people off
-Drum Solo in the middle of “Striker”
-Sometimes overly loud backing guitars
My Precious Lunatic Asylum