Annihilator - For The Demented album review

Canada’s thrash veterans continue their recovery effort

cover art for Annihilator - For The Demented

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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

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.