Album: For The Demented
Release Date: 3rd November, 2017
Label: Neverland Music/Silver Lining Music
Review by John
Since their formation in the mid 1980s, Canadian thrashers Annihilator have always been for me a band who failed to live up to their early promise. Not helped by a constantly fluctuating line up, which sees guitarist Jeff Waters remaining the only constant, with the exception of early releases ‘Alice In Hell’ and ‘Never, Neverland’ (both of which are among my favourite thrash albums), their subsequent discography has been hit and miss to say the least.
‘Twisted Lobotomy’, the opener on this, their 16th studio album, is an immediate throwback to the sound of those first two classic albums, with an opening riff that is unmistakably Annihilator. Thrashing along a a heady pace, and with Waters also taking on vocals to good effect, it’s an excellent reminder of just how good this band can be.
Sadly, ‘For The Demented’ never quite lives up to that promise again.
When the album is good, it’s very good, as it serves up some classic thrash in the form of ‘Phantom Asylum’ (replete with an almost spaghetti westernish mid section) and ‘Altering The Altar’, while closer ‘Not All There’ ensures things end on a high.
Meanwhile, ‘The Demon You Know’ channels Megadeth and, whilst hideously cheesy, is somehow insanely catchy.
However, in between there are a few things that stop the album being truly great.
The balladlike sound ‘Pieces Of You’ doesn’t quite gel with the subject matter at hand as Waters channels the more serene vocal moments of James Hetfield (although overall it sounds more like an off-cut from a late 90s Megadeth offering). Lyrically, Annihilator have always had more than their fair share of outright cheese, and this is never more evident than here.
And then we have ‘The Way’, a downright abysmal punky offering that stands out like the sorest of thumbs and almost screams at you to press the skip button.
It seems odd then that, in spite of this, ‘For The Demented’ is still the best Annihilator have sounded for many years. It’s definitely an album that gets better with each listen (I will admit that I initially hated quite a bit of it, but slowly found myself enjoying more and more), so I would advise giving it a fair chance.
There’s enough to enjoy here to make up for the weaker moments, but it is an album with just a little too much that either just doesn’t work or is nothing more than weak filler. Which is pretty much par for the course for an Annihilator album.
Good, but could have been so much better.
01. Twisted Lobotomy
02. One To Kill
03. For The Demented
04. Pieces Of You
05. The Demon You Know
06. Phantom Asylum
07. Altering The Altar
08. The Way
10. Not All There
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/annihilatorband
Official website: www.annihilatormetal.com