Annihilator – “For The Demented” (Neverland Music/Silver Lining Music)
Having indulged himself in 2015’s “Suicide Society” which drew from the 100+ bands that inspired Annihilator, Jeff Waters has decided to go back on this 16th release by revisiting the classic thrash meets melody sound of his 1985-87 demos mixed with the first 4 Annihilator records! Equally, he has opted to bring in bassist Rich Hinks (Aeon Zen) both to co write as well as produce the early stages of “For The Demented”, not to mention act as a sounding board for whether compositions sounded enough like classic Annihilator to qualify them into the final selection of tracks here. Given Aeon Zen is the British prog band that Hinks founded, there’s definitely some aspect of that on tracks like ‘Altering The Altar’ while ‘The Way’ is punk rock n roll, albeit with elements of slower thrash or very heavy metal still making up the meat of those numbers. Indeed, despite its ominous title (and sick cover), “For The Demented” isn’t just made up of jet fueled thrash insanity of which ‘Twisted Lobotomy’ and ‘Phantom Asylum’ certainly fit that tag of screaming guitars and intense double bass drumming, but also includes ballads like ‘Pieces Of You’ with its prominent clanging guitar melodies and epic solo, while ‘The Demon You Know’ has a monster 70s swagger, complete with spoken word mixed with gruff rock vocals. Favorite track for me though, was the closer ‘Not All There’ which best related to that quintessential sound of heavy power riffing and raw throat strained vocals mixed with a melodic ambient passage mid way and another superb, moving guitar solo (not to mention those jazzy tit bits) from Waters himself. All in all a solid release confirming that not only has Jeff Waters has regained composure from his fan trip, but has produced a well rounded modern metal release that while still appealing to demonic thrashers, should bring back classic heavy metal lovers in abundance.