Saturday, November 28, 2015

Annihilator : "Suicide Society"

"Alice in Hell" might be one of the greatest metal albums ever, but I can barely remember "Never, Never Land". So I'm not sure what is up with the opening song of their new album "Suicide Society". There is a Dream Theater like riff and almost a  Skid Row level of cock rock to the vocals. It's now thirteen albums since I last checked in on Jeff Waters, so some things had to change , but this is a little much. He brings back a more familiar sound on "My Revenge" which is almost an ode to Metallica , but with a more Mustaine tinge to the vocals. The song finds its way into a more melodic section in time for the solo and Waters proved to be not a half bad singer on this section.  Not sure about the vocals at the onset , but Jeff Waters is one of the few who challenge our "cool riffs alone to make a good song" rule. It sounds like he did not escape the Myspace metal years unscathed when it gets to the overly harmonized chorus. The verses sound like something Axl Rose left on the chopping block.

Even though I am not a fan of that snare pattern, "Creepin" sounds more like the band ...or in this case project I once knew. Waters is no doubt a great guitar player, the solo to this song however sounds like it just pulled out from his bag of tricks at random. The guitar playing that accents the following chorus is more impressive. "Narcotic Avenue" has an interesting groove to the intro riff ,so I am not sure why he didn't build of it. The riff preceding the "fight for survival" part is pretty mean, but it's not long before the cock rock catches up. The chorus to this song is an improvement as the clean singing doesn't try too hard. Waters does a great job with the clean guitar in the songs last minute.  With album I have learn not to hold my breath for things to darken up, though they appear to head that way on " the One You Serve" , but then some power metal like intonation color the riffing. The verse does bare its teeth to some extent.

"Break, Enter" finds the mood improving. Water's vocals are hit or miss, how much did Randy Rampage do on the first album? You would were led to believe he just showed up and sang the songs as written, but I begin to wonder after hearing some of these vocal arrangements. Some of the songs more Dream Theater moments are balanced out by it's grit. "Death Scent" has the promise of a "Burns Like a Buzz Saw Blade" . It is a little more melodic than the "Alice in Hell" classic, but one of the album's high lights as it seems the same attention to detail that Waters once gave all his songs is imparted onto this one. So when they go off into crazy thrashing and soloing it has enough songwriting to justify that indulgence.

I am a little surprised that album ends with a psuedo power-ballad. The guitar playing on it is great and the vocals are better than the bulk of what Waters does on this album, it sounds a little Judas Priest in some places. The chorus is more Bullet For My Valentine, which may or may not be a coincidence, depending on what kind of stab Waters is making for mainstream approval here. While this is not the band I remember, nor will it be without Randy Rampage, but for what it is this is decent as Waters is a great musician even if it feels he is sometimes taking short cuts when it comes to songwriting. I'll give it a 7.5


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