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Annihilator - For The Demented album review

Canada’s thrash veterans continue their recovery effort

cover art for Annihilator - For The Demented

As thrash metal erupted across North America in the 80s, Annihilator emerged as Canada’s thunderous contribution to the scene. Their critically hailed debut, 1989’s Alice In Hell, served up a double helping of no-bullshit, meat’n’potatoes metal with striking flashes of technicality that distinguished their compositions from those of their Bay Area contemporaries. Annihilator have always been the embodiment of one man’s vision: guitarist Jeff Waters, who remains the band’s sole constant through the decades. Their ascendency hit a brake-screeching halt back in 1993 with the release of ironically named Set The World On Fire – a cloying batch of mainstream rock that fell disastrously short of the titular promise. Undeterred, Annihilator haven’t simply endured; they’ve churned out an uninterrupted stream of working-man’s thrash in the ensuing years. 2013’s Feast felt like the well might be finally approaching dry, with a technically formidable yet familiar-sounding collection of colour-by-numbers thrash, but on For The Demented, their 16th campaign, Jeff and co tap back into the raw urgency of their mid-80s output, fusing hard-driving riffs and fist-pumping bursts of speed metal with more of Jeff’s melodic fretwork. Annihilator’s diehard fans aren’t looking for the new Opeth – they’re tuning in for some old-school, denim’n’leather headbangers, which they’ll find on tracks like Twisted Lobotomy, The Demon You Know and The Way. The melodic, mid-tempo Pieces Of You adds a bit of depth but For The Demented meets expectations head-on, delivering precisely the sort of polished, workmanlike metal that fans have come to expect from the band. The ideas aren’t new but Jeff Waters’ commitment and intensity firmly establish that Annihilator are a long way from finished.

For fans of: Accept, Judas Priest, Kataklysm

Joe Daly

Camped out in Southern California, Joe pens features, reviews albums and covers live shows for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock. When he’s not bothering his neighbours with Rammstein, Joe’s typically off playing ice hockey, fumbling around on a bass or letting his dogs guilt him into a nice long walk.