Annihilator
Alice in Hell


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
August 6th, 2006 | 176 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist


Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band that formed over 20 years ago by guitarist Jeff Waters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Though the band looks more like a Jeff Waters solo band throughout the years, with its never ending change of members, Annihilator lives on with its latest album, Schizo Deluxe, being released in 2005. Annihilator's debut album, Alice in Hell, was released on Roadrunner in 1989. Considered to be the one of the band's premier efforts, along with their second album, Never Neverland, which was released in 1990, Alice in Hell is an excellent thrash platter, and one of the best albums of 1989.

So what makes Annihilator's debut so good? You could start with the guitars. Alice in Hell is chock full of technical riffs courtesy of guitarists, Jeff Waters and Anthony Greenham. The first track, Crystal Ann, is just a minute and a half long acoustic solo to get your feet wet with Annihilator, but it reeks of talent. And this is just the beginning. Throughout each song, the duo of Waters and Greenham pump out heavy riffs and mind-blowing solos. Many of the solos are what you'd expect from a thrash metal band, but Jeff Waters' solos rank up there with the best of them. The instrumental Schizo's Are Never Alone (Pt. 1 and 2) is another song than shows of Waters' talent both riff-wise and solo-wise, and is one of the album's best songs. The numerous riffs found on the album have that buzzsaw feel to it, and the effect sounds great. There are also many time changes on the album to spice things up, and they accomplish their goal, making for exciting twists. Guitar-wise, there are virtually no disappointments with Alice in Hell, as the band excels in this area.

On Alice in Hell, the guitars take most of the spotlight, but listening carefully you can hear Wayne Darley's bass lines chug along with the guitar. The bass isn't spectacular on Alice in Hell, but Darley does a good job keeping up with Waters and Greenham. The drummer, Ray Hartmann, has an excellent performance on album. He constantly delivers solid beats into the band's formula and they compliment the destructive sounding guitars very well.

Annihilator has seemingly never been a kind band to vocalists. Only on two separate occasions have the group used the same vocalist two albums in a row (not counting Jeff Waters' stint as a vocalist). Despite being dismissed so quickly, the aptly named Randy Rampage does a pretty good job for a thrash metal vocalist on Alice in Hell. His voice has a raw effect to it, yet he manages to shriek out the Waters penned lyrics quite coherently. Rampage's voice is especially effective on Alison Hell, W.T.Y.D., and Burns Like a Buzzsaw Blade.

While Jeff Waters might not write the best lyrics, he writes about some interesting subjects. Many of the songs on Alice in Hell deal with the human mind and insanity (a trend which continues throughout Annihilator's career), including the title track, Wicked Mystic, Word Salad, and Human Insecticide. The song Schizos (Are Never Alone Pt. 1 and 2) also deal with the human mind, only through intense riffs and chaotic soloing that represents (as the linear notes say) "There are so many people in my mind, all trying to speak at once. How can it be so quiet on the outside when there is such a confused noise in my head?" I'd say the album's best lyrics would be in Alison Hell. Combined with the eerie riffs and solos, the lyrics of Alison Hell make for a perfect horror story song.

Alice in Hell was the debut album of Canadian thrash metal band, Annihilator. The album is full of technical riffs and solos from guitarist and songwriter Jeff Waters that are sure to please any fan of thrash metal. Alice in Hell features very few dull moments, as each of the songs are very powerful in their own way, and would not look out of place on a record from any of the big four of thrash. Somehow the band did not gain the same popularity as some of the other thrash acts, especially in North America, which is unfortunate, as the band put out some very quality material. Alice in Hell ranks near the top of the band's discography, and is definitely an essential thrash album.

Recommended Tracks: (You couldn't go wrong with any of them, so I'll list my favourites)
Alison Hell
Human Insecticide
Schizos (Are Never Alone Pt. 1 and 2)
W.T.Y.D.
Crystal Ann



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
August 6th 2006


3709 Comments


I guess there isn't going to be too many comments today.

francesfarmer
August 6th 2006


1477 Comments


Is this really that good?

FatalEnergy
August 6th 2006


40 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a decent album. Annhilator's best by far.

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 6th 2006


3709 Comments


Easily, man. It's not really all that original or ground-breaking, but it's one of the better thrash albums you'll hear.

francesfarmer
August 6th 2006


1477 Comments


I'll check it out. Good review.

Nepenthe
August 6th 2006


62 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it's an excellent album. Word Salad has some amazing solos in it.

The live recordings from this album found on Live And In Command are awesome, definately check out that live cd.

Dethtrasher
August 7th 2006


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favorite Annihilator albums, good review too.

labonza01
August 11th 2006


546 Comments


thrash isn't really my thing, and i really dont like this band, but the song "Allison Hell" cracked me up, i thought it was really funny. good review, though.

rattlehead42147
July 28th 2007


1345 Comments


sweet album/review

Zealot
December 15th 2007


1 Comments


Nobody mentions sometjing about Word Salad. I think that this is the best Annihilator song in the whole album . why?
well it sounds insane not only the lyrics . the whol song gives me the feeling that i am in a mad house there is no song like it the solos the riffs everything perfect
ooo and by the way the first solo in schizos (are never alone) is the best solo in metal histoty

Wizard
February 29th 2008


19606 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gave this a listen last night. Solid! Good review too Mikesn!

Digging: Earth - Primitive and Deadly

TheFlightOfTheNazgul
August 16th 2008


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great Album... Alison Hell Rules

ealordofthedepths
August 16th 2008


80 Comments


heard a lot of good things about this band but ive never taken the time to check em out... i guess ill start here, great review btw

ConorMichaelJoseph
April 16th 2009


1870 Comments


Found this for €3.99, selling in a bin next to Britney Spears going for €14.99. I'd imagine this was a much better deal.

KILL
April 17th 2009


72068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Indeed..if you liked this check out Never, Neverland!

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

Willie
Moderator
April 17th 2009


16116 Comments


I've only ever heard the "Set the World on Fire" album and that reminded me of Megadeth's "Countdown to Extinction", but with an 80s rock vocalist.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

KILL
May 3rd 2009


72068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so awesome..addicted to WTYD atm and of course the fabulous Alison Hell

random
February 6th 2010


2268 Comments


Annihilator come from where I live.

SteelErectedb4you8er
March 11th 2010


2618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I always try to come back to this record when I am in a thrash mood because the musicianship and songwriting abilities are great, but the vocals always get me. But I know, one day soon, I am bumping this up, but 6 years later, it is still only great.

PlasmaShock
May 4th 2010


21 Comments


Sick band. I really enjoyed it from start to finish.

Anyone else know some more music that sounds similar to the first track however?



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