Feast review by Annihilator

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  • Released: Aug 23, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 4
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 5.3 Decent
  • Users' score: 8 (24 votes)
Annihilator: Feast
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Sound — 6
For those about to thrash, we salute your resolve. It's a difficult act to carry these days, with youth and creativity having all but abandoned the genre. Those who continue to plug away do it knowing that they'll occupy the same space forever, both musically and commercially. Experienced and very well respected, Canada's Annihilator sit somewhere between the megastars of the big four, fan favourites such as Exodus and Testament and the likes of Voivod and Sabbat, who are hard-nosed enough to continue as truly cult legends. Most praise for Annihilator Jeff Waters, their virtuosic mastermind whose multi-instrumentalism and leadership has inspired many of metal's biggest contemporary bands. But, as any thrash junkie will tell you, their output has too often flirted with mediocrity, and their seminal debut "Alice in Hell" has come to be viewed as a sad reminder of unfulfilled potential.

Since scaling down to a two man operation in 2007, Waters and his vocal co-conspirator Dave Padden have released two albums: "Metal," a star-studded exhibition which would have been great but for the lack of good songs, and a crowd-pleasing self-titled album which confidently retraced the band's steps back to thrash. "Feast" is like the latter in style slick, lead-heavy thrash but there have been a few tweaks here and there in an attempt to keep things fresh. The first is in production, where Waters has given his guitars a lively crunch and boosted his mids for maximum loudness. The most significant change, though, is in the vocals, with Padden opting to sing as much as snarl and sacrifice a little bite for the sake of memorability. Unfortunately his melodies are trite and unimaginative, moving up and down the pentatonic as if on rails and squandering cadences on predictable rhymes and themes. More on that later.

Musically "Feast" is a mixed bag. The speed with which "Deadlock" comes out of the starting blocks is sustained through three tracks of old-school thrash but the Faith No More flavour of "No Surrender" with its bouncy grooves and jerky structure, disrupts the flow considerably. Waters never gets back into top gear for longer than a few minutes, though "Fight The World" is a highlight, with its unpredictable turns of shred-happy soloing and gratifying melodic leads. Pedestrian as it may be at times, the only reason to beware of this largely inoffensive album is "Perfect Angel Eyes," a profoundly horrible track which leaks dignity with every second of tacky, clichd, man-ballad dishwater.

Lyrics — 4
That brings us nicely onto the lyrics. Putting the botched love song to one side, "Feast" is limited to the subjects of thrash bands from time immemorial insanity, violence, brainwashing by the media. You'll have heard it all before (not least because Annihilator have sung about it all before) but it's particularly disappointing in this case because the lyrics are so audible, so hard to ignore. Meaning is constantly diluted by an overriding desire to stuff everything into rhymes, no matter how awkward ("I wanna break your will/and leave you an empty shell/I'll make that mouth of yours/take an early trip to hell") and hearing Padden butcher the language so he can get back to a particular sound starts to grate very quickly. Jeff Waters seems to sign off on a lyric as soon as it rhymes, which is a fast track to failure when you want to sound volatile and dangerous.

Overall Impression — 6
After 14 albums and almost 30 years on the road, you can't criticise Annihilator for a lack of effort. Their history and unwavering dedication to the cause will always command respect from their peers and successors, and though "Feast" is flawed, it is not their worst album by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they haven't sounded this energised in over a decade, but when you're dealing with a genre that's treaded water for twenty years you need something special to escape the ordinary, something Jeff Waters and co. Just don't have anymore.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EyesWideOpen
    I consider Never Neverland to be one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Seriously, to anyone who hasn't heard it, check it out. Old Annihilator was awesome and Jeff Waters is an incredible guitarist but Annihilators later stuff always struck me as a bit sort of hollow. The riffs never have any meat to them. They're so generic. Water's solos are always great though.
    Exelion
    Of course after 14 albums you lose a bit of creativity... It's still a record that modern bands can't write! It's unfresh compared to early Annihilator, but is still a hell of a thrash record!!
    Silver Blues
    I like some of Annihilator's work, don't get me wrong. But most of this sounds like shit.
    Yasaki
    I've been an Annihilator fan since I was a kid but I've never considered Never Neverland to be their best album (what most of the Annihilator fans seem to do). Taking into account I've been a few since All For You, I think all their albums are great, including this one. Their sounds has changed but man, Paddens voice is great. Listen to Smothered on the Metal(2007) album and you'll see exactly what I mean. I also enjoy this new album although there are too few solo's compared to Annihilator(2011) but that's personal preference. For me, a real Annihilator fan, one thing is obvious: you can't comment on one of their albums until you've listened to it at least 10 times. And clearly this reviewer has no idea what deep lyrics are if subjects like corruption and political ideologies are no important subject. Enjoy the album, trust me
    Iommianity
    If you have to disclose your Annihilator cred before giving your opinion...people like different things than you. It might be a shock.
    Skuzzmo
    I enjoyed the album. Not their best but still worthy of a listen. And it's certainly better than recent efforts by some other more well known bands.... Just my opinion ofc.
    Face R1pper
    All but abandoned? Thrash metal is stronger now than it was in 1990.
    devonsdad
    do you really think so?
    Silver Blues
    Well... it's not 'stronger' but it isn't quite dead. Example, Dark Roots of Earth was '11 IIRC and it was a pretty strong release. Ran the gamut from classic occult fantasy themes to the more 'modern' political stuff and even some covers and a re-recording of 'Practice What You Preach'. Thoroughly enjoyed that record.
    Face R1pper
    There were very few good new bands playing thrash metal in the early 90s, the only outstanding albums of that era were coming from older, established bands. Now we have good albums coming out from many old bands and many new bands. It seems logical that the educated listener of thrash metal would prefer 2010-2013 over 1990-1993.
    Abacus11
    It's not stronger than it was in 1990 but there are plenty of good young thrash bands that are both carrying the torch and pushing the genre further. I was really young when thrash was at its peak in the late 80's so it'll always be special to me and I love seeing it going strong and even making sort of a comeback today.
    dorpzot
    I absolutely loved the self titled album and I was hoping for more of that and I looked forward to this album but I'm a bit disappointed actually.
    SOAD_SoG
    Its not something awesome, but its good nevertheless. The bad thing is that Jeff Waters writes almost everything, some riffs are the same from other songs and some licks too. Jeff still has his groove but new Annihilator songs lack some creativty. A standout song is "One Falls, Two Rise" but songs like "Wrapped" or "Perfect Angel Eye" shoudn't be there.