Fifteen albums in, and 31 years after Annihilator began, you can hardly blame band supremo Jeff Waters for craving a little variety.
After a couple of thrash-dominated releases, then, Suicide Society often turns its attention to more traditional songwriting. This approach is most successful on the opening title track, which marries a simplistic riff with one of Annihilator’s most memorable choruses for some time, and the tunefully maudlin Snap with its stomping riff.
Hardcore fans shouldn’t fret; there’s still plenty of Waters’ trademark erratic riffage and thrashier tracks like Creepin’ Again, Break, Enter and My Revenge, even though the latter’s verses sound crazily like Metallica’s Damage Inc. Besides, melodic refrains are hardly new to Annihilator, as fans of the first two albums will attest. Following singer Dave Padden’s departure, Waters tackles vocals himself with commitment, although his style wavers between metal icons: Hetfield one minute, Mustaine the next. The result is a varied record that falls short of killer status, but is a smarter move than another heads-down rager.