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ANNIHILATOR Islington Academy
20 November 2010

Annihilator

The good people at Earache have done a sterling job promoting Canadian thrashers Annihilator this year.

A stonking new album in the shape of 'Annihilator', a deluxe reissue series of six of the band's back catalogue albums, and as if that wasn't enough, a free download album, 'Total Annihilation', featuring highlights from those albums perfect for whetting the appetite of any discerning metal fan.

The fact that the venue is packed to the rafters tonight shows that all that promotion looks to have paid off.

The set begins in explosive style with Ambush, one of the tastiest cuts from the latest album, a full on thrash assault in the vein of early Metallica.

Clown Parade & the Anvil-esque Plasma Zombies give us a taste of some of the band's more recent material before the classic King Of the Kill is the first of the old favourites to get an airing. In fact four tracks from that album, going back to '94, feature in tonight's set.

'Betrayed' is another scorcher from the new album with a great chorus, and 'Ultra-Motion', from 2002's 'Waking the Fury', is another no -holds -barred thrash frenzy that sparks some serious moshing at the front.

'The Trend', the epic opening track from 'Annihilator', provides one of the highlights of the set, sounding like something you'd get if you stuck Rush and Metallica into a blender.

Vocalist and guitarist Dave Padden definitely had a touch of the Hetfields about him and the vocals are particularly fine on this one. If they continue to churn out tracks of the quality of 'The Trend' , 'Betrayed' and 'Ambush', maybe this band will get more of the recognition they deserve.

The second half of the set largely concentrates on material from the first three albums, originally released on Roadrunner, when the band were making their initial impact and perhaps had a slightly higher profile over here. Three tracks from '93's more commercial sounding 'Set the World On Fire' go down well, with the ballad Phoenix Rising getting a genuinely passionate sing along from the audience.

The raucous 'WTYD' goes right back to the classic first album, 'Alice In Hell', and the set finishes in fine style with King Of the Kill's '21' and set closer, the thrash-tastic 'Phantasmagoria' leaving the crowd chanting for more. Annihilator duly oblige with a blistering encore of 'Crystal Ann/Alison Hell', the opening cuts from that very first album 21 years ago.

Annihilator are most definitely back, and on this evidence sounding better than ever. They've been described as 'technical thrash' and 'melodic thrash', but however you want to label them, this is a top quality Heavy Metal band.

Founding member Jeff Waters was clearly delighted at how the band have been received by British fans on this tour, and judging by the attendance here tonight, we can expect a return visit in the not too distant future. 
 

Review and photo by Jim Rowland


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