Annihilator – Feast (2013) – First of all, this is just a review of the main album. Though the disc is also repackaged with Re-Kill (re-recorded Best of), I have already reviewed that one earlier on the original The Grim Tower blog. I couldn’t find the post through Blogspot’s horrible search engine, but it’s definitely there and I went quite in-depth with that disc (due to the fact that I had more time and wasn’t working full-time back in those days).
Though if we’re going to talk about Feast, I’ll have to say that’s a very peculiar beast. Not peculiar as in very interesting, but peculiar as in a sort of “what in the hell were they thinking?” notion as to the strange variety of songs placed on the disc. “Deadlock 4:31” definitely comes in as a straight thrasher though, certainly one of the heaviest songs that I’ve ever heard from these guys, which says quite a lot. “No Way Out 5:29” continues the approach with beefy drums, frantic solos, and a switch to rock-influence. It’s definitely not something you’d expect for thrash, but Annihilator really pushes the boundaries. And I really can’t argue with the fierce amount of shredding that’s going on here. Yet even though the song dips into rock territory, it rolls right back into metal towards the end of the piece. “Smear Campaign 4:22′ goes into more of a punk-fuelled thrash notion, which also seems to carry a little bit of rock-grooves. This really is an odd beast. In something that most thrash fans would already proclaim and wonder “what the fuck is this?” the band go right into eighties rock ala early Faith No More combined with still some thrash elements. Should I give them points for being this experimental, or be a bit worried? Clearly, “No Surrender 5:45” is a mixed bag sort of deal, but it shows that Jeff Waters doesn’t feel the need to stick to any one genre. “Wrapped 3:54” rolls right into rock music, but it does feature a few thrash leads and some southern grooves as well as lyrics that well… seem a little different. But is different good? Honestly folks, I’m a little confused by this one. Re-Kill was much easier to decipher. Then “Perfect Angel Eyes 4:33” comes on and a ballad completely devoid of thrash begins. I’m beginning to think that this is no longer a thrash album at this point, quite comparable to Metallica’s Black album or Load/Reload to be honest. It’s like that song (The Unforgiven III) where James Hetfield talked about sailing the seas of cheese. Or gold. One of the two. “Demon Code 6:34” finally pumps things up again with some evil laughter and menacing riffs. The band actually went back to playing thrash again, (at least for the moment) so that’s a plus. This one actually sounds more in the lines of “Deadlock” so you’ve got two rather heavy thrash tracks to check out on the album. And I’m talking about un-tainted thrash, where it’s recognizable to the thrash aficionado. I don’t really have a problem with the experimenting, but old school thrashers might. Still, this guy uses rock riffs wherever he wants regardless. But it’s better than “Perfect Angel Eyes” by like a fucking mile. Imagine listening to Slayer and all of a sudden, a song like “Decayed Corporal Confusion” turns into “Your Golden Heart.” Might kind of bat a few eyebrows as men shout high from the rafters in proclamation… “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?” Just a little food for thought, at any rate. Then “Fight The World 7:08” comes in, and guys and gals… that sure as hell isn’t nearly seven minutes of thrashing. What I’m getting rather, are some really sugary melodies overtop of piano and light drum work. Then some thrash comes in. Alright, so maybe there is some thrash in between the piano and sugar. This guy must think he’s a regular Axl Rose. Okay… so maybe I was wrong. This actually comes off as one of the fiercest tracks on the disc, bringing with it a real sense of muscularity that I just haven’t heard so much on this disc. Solos also come into sweeten the deal a little more and they’re quite bright, yet nonetheless effective. Alright, so that was completely unexpected. Ending the disc is “One Falls, Two Rise 8:50” which serves as mix between a lighthearted rock ballad and a thrash track. That’s actually quite entertaining and I can certainly get behind it. It’s awfully odd to see these guys mixing a melancholic ballad with a monstrous thrasher, but they’ve done it. I have to applaud that, because I’ve never heard anything like it before.
All I am saying is give Feast a chance. It’s actually got some interesting ideas and despite the sweet little ballad of “Perfect Angel Eyes” there’s actually some might to be had on this one. I’ll also say that I’ve never in my life heard thrash mixed with some of the genres and ideas that have been utilized here. You’ll either love it, or seriously fucking loathe it. I’m not sure what thrash purists will think, but it was much better than I expected and shows that Jeff Waters definitely has some tricks up his sleeve in his quest to apparently, innovate thrash further. Though whether or not his innovations might be more in the vein of wanton destructive attempts to wipe out the genre faster than a full-on grunge revival movement, is entirely up to you. Don’t forget that this thing also contains the Re-Kill recorded Best Of, as well as a DVD with the band flying through their classics in the blazing heat. It also includes a new 3D cover with an extended booklet. So there’s a lot here, including twenty-four new musical recordings. Check it out if you think you’d be into checking these guys out again.