• Annihilator - Ballistic, Sadistic (Neverland Music) Album Review

    Released by: Neverland Music
    Released on: January 24th, 2020.
    Purchase From Amazon

    Jeff Waters has been at this a long long time.

    The ANNIHILATOR main man has been consistently delivering precise and excellent thrash since the 1980's. While the Canadian guitarist has always been the dictatorial captain of the musical ship, in the early glory days of the band it was more of a band effort. But ever since “King Of The Kill” in 1994, Waters has not only pretty much done EVERYTHING on the creative front, he’s sometimes even relied on drum machines and handled all instruments.

    “Ballistic, Sadistic” sees ANNIHILATOR continuing on a relatively stable path after the last studio record. This is a Grade A thrash album with memorable hooks, enthusiastic playing and most of all ace guitar playing. Waters is one of the best guitarists out there but kind of the Frank Marino of thrash - a brilliant technical marvel with magic fingers and rock steady control who’s consistently overlooked and undervalued. His riffing is insane - the man is a goddamn machine, peeling off one bullet-fast monster after another. This is most prominent on opener “Armed To The Teeth,” which commences with a brutal cascading and stuttering attack perfectly synced to the caffeinated drum assault of Fabio Alessandrini. “Psycho Ward” assumes a more galloping pace as opposed to full out run, but is the album’s best showcase for Waters nimble playing. “I Am Warfare” goes for a SLAYER vibe with a soaring and intricate solo that beautifully mixes melody with unbridled aggression. The most fun track is “Riot” which comes on like a lead-booted thrash war march with Alessandrini riding the crash cymbal hard and Waters delivering a hilarious lyric. The propulsive bass driven “Lip Service” showcases another deft Waters riff and even throws in a few grunts for chuckles. Closer “End Of The Lie” may seem like a bit too much of the same formula but this is still an extremely strong record.

    Waters has assumed vocal duties again and he’s improved quite a bit over the years. He’s no Randy Rampage or Coburn Pharr but his growling quasi-death approach fits the music. The rest of the band? Just Waters and the drummer - who’s great but wasn’t even born when the first ANNIHILATOR album was released! Negatives you ask? Well, like anything where one person assumes complete and ironclad creative control, blind spots and deficiencies can occur. The biggest problem here is the lyrics. I understand Metal is not Shakespeare. But Jeff Waters has a real affection for ridiculously corny lyrics that should embarrass a man of his age. A few records ago he was singing songs about psycho dentists and he’s got a few lyrics on this album that are almost that silly. That aside, this is really good stuff and should truly please connoisseurs of quality thrash. Thank you Canada.