Grim Observations: Annihilator – Suicide Society (2015)

The new album from thrash legends Annihilator reminds me quite a bit of Megadeth’s more rocking moments, like The World Needs A Hero or The System Has Failed. There’s still thrash structures to be had here, but when you take a glance at the disc’s title cut (3:59) you’re going to notice some similarities right from the start. It’s a decidedly odd opener for the disc, but then we’re pounded with “My Revenge” (5:19) which offers all of the hardcore thrash and flying guitar fretwork that we’d expect for a band by the name of Annihilator. “Snap” (5:08) is an ominous sort of ballad with some obvious thunder and bluesy elements. “Creepin’ Again” (4:28) seems to meld a bit of a dark tinged atmosphere to what is extravagantly meaty thrash, as it packs quite a bit of heat within the drumming, frenzied solos and harsh vocal elements. Keep in mind that Suicide Society is a completely different beast than Feast was, and the amount of death metal like intrusions have nearly evaporated in favor of traditional thrash and rock structures. “Narcotic Avenue” (5:35) also delivers a ton of thrash, but blunts it near the end, in a song that is clearly about one’s battle with drugs. “The One You Serve” (6:01) seems like it has much in common with the lyrics of Dave Mustaine or Alice Cooper, as it’s dark dirge seems a cautionary tale of sorts. Now “Break, Enter” (6:02) is the kind of song that almost had me chuckle a bit. It’s actually about someone’s house being broken into, (which may have been Jeff Waters own place, judging from the lyrics) which seems a rather odd topic for an album, especially since it seems like the “you damn kids had better get off my lawn!” of metal tracks. It’s performed like rock with a thrash edge and should relate to anyone who’s had their house broken into and thinks that those who did it should be shot and killed, or dealt with by karma. “Death Scent” (5:26) seems to be about a suicide bomber and charges in with the same sense of unparalleled fury that has overtaken most of this album. The Gothic organs are a rather interesting touch as well. “Every Minute” (5:14) sends us off on a soft ballad turned rocker, proving that not one song on Suicide Society sounds like a tearjerker, even though there’s an obvious attempt at it here. Thankfully, the guitars kick into gear and send the track out right, even though I’ll admit there are some odd bipolar experimentations that make me scratch my head a little. At the end of the day, these guys made another thrash record that doesn’t quite sound like thrash and doesn’t quite sound like rock either. It’s something that I feel is different in the scene and doesn’t sound like the tens of thousands of Slayer, Metallica, Testament and Overkill clones that I’ve heard more than I’d like to admit. It’s great to hear a band pushing out something that goes completely out of the boundaries of thrash, yet still proves that it can thrash with the best of them. Suicide Society is indeed a heavy metal album and you will bang your head, but you’re going to get so much more than that from this experience and I’d definitely consider taking it. I actually liked this one much more than the aforementioned Megadeth albums I rattled off earlier, and that’s saying something. Waters and crew have succeeded in making an uncompromising rock and thrash mixture that is by no means a suicide attempt. Your curiosity might just pay off this time.

(9 Tracks, 47:00)

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