Annihilator is releasing yet another album tomorrow January 24th, their SEVENTEENTH STUDIO ALBUM. Jeff Waters is one of my long time running favorites on guitar and proves yet again how great he is as an artist. After all this time, countless bandmates, battling sobriety and staying healthy…..the guy STILL HAS IT ALL. Stereotypically to stay you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but has Waters ever reinvented himself. The last stable lineup with Dave Padden fronting the band was one of my favorites of recent memory releasing two of my favorites of the last 15 years “Feast” and the self titled album. He’s impressively battled record label issues and really tried hard to stay relevant with all the huge bands that popped up during the band’s time (30+ years!). “Ballistic, Sadistic” is a bit more technical than your usual Annihilator output and is no nonsense for sure…..100% heavy, no ballads this time around (usually Jeff showcases his diversity with a few for good measure).
Fabio Alessandrini (drums), Aaron Homma (guitar/backing vocals), Jeff Waters (lead guitar and lead vocals), Rich Hinks (bass, backing vocals)
Jeff added a few young phenoms in Alessandrini and Hinks (drums and bass respectively) and most notably ex Vital Remains guitarist Aaron Homma. I believe this youthful injection has motivated Jeff even more and would LOVE to see this exact lineup stay together for a while. There’s weirder riffs (quicker ones too), some melodic and memorable leads and well Fabio’s damn near perfect drumming. Rich’s powerful bass makes this great band even heavier. Oh, and Waters relocated to England and his studio is back up and running (just not in Canada anymore!). This is where the album was recorded and as a huge fanboy was a HUGE honor to listen to this monster of an album ahead of its release date.
Waters has been tackling a lot of mental and emotional issues lyrically on the last few Annihilator albums. You definitely get that theme the more you dive into this release. After all this time, he sure as heck hasn’t lost his songwriting ability by any means. I know he makes fun of his voice, but I like it more and more every time I hear it. Jeff is writing great music and also intelligently writes music that fit his vocal style. I never have any doubts when it comes to him, and have been a huge fan for over a decade as long as I’ve known about Annihilator.
Overcoming adversity, criticism and the usual for an aging artist is always a huge topic. Waters crushes that with an iron fist with “Ballistic, Sadistic”. There’s a ton of unusual extreme metal going around and young guns mixing up genres left and right. If you want a more technical thrash metal release, look no further TMR followers. Waters has never been out of the game, and releases another musical statement tomorrow that he’s far from done. On a personal note……Jeff, please keep this awesome lineup together!