Review by Mark Montgomery for MPM
POW! Right in the kisser! Straight in to Chasing the High, the 6min+ opener to Metal II from Canada’s Annihilator.
No messing, it needed no build up, no elongated intro, you literally get punched in the earholes as soon as you press play.
This is not just Metal, this what metal should sound like in 2022 (apart from the fade out on the outro to the second track, Downright Dominate, as that’s a bit dated. Who does fade outs anymore? Just reminds me of Phill Collins for some reason).
But this was originally recorded in 2007. Metal II isn’t just a reissue; Annihilator Re-recorded the album.
Metal II – a version of their 2007 album “Metal” is part of a campaign that will see special editions, bonus material, exclusive and previously unreleased tunes.
The campaign will cover almost all Annihilator studio albums and long-lost rarities. 18 records are going to be released over the next few years, including the original 2007 version of the “Metal” album.
I have listened to a lot of new music in the last 6 months (that’s music journalism for you), and in turn got into some heated discussions on the internet about the current state of music.
So often I defend bands, musicians and artists across all genres whenever I see a post or comment that says something like, “Rock is soulless nowadays” “Hip-Hop is spiritually Dead” (I don’t even know what that means), “There is nothing new worth listening to”, and one recent discussion was around a Reddit post about a particular band’s upcoming album that apparently marks the last of any music that has been created through passion, and it will be a rare event to listen to music created by a band that has written the music without the thirst for fame.
Ironic as the band in question was a massively commercial entity and the new single from said band sounds like has dropped from a conveyor belt of all the other beige music they have churned out in the last 20 years.
My point being you don’t have to go very far to find good music. If you are still listening to the 5-10 bands that you have listened to since you were a teenager then you are going to get bored. If you are waiting for the music to find you, you are going to get disappointed.
Do some digging, look for new music, in fact why not scroll through all the reviews on Metal Planet Music and click on some bands that you have not heard of and listen to a few albums.
What I am trying to say, is there are a lot of bands who are very good at what they do and are still making music because they love doing it. They are amazing musicians and songwriters and live to create new music.
The number of reissues that have been coming through my letter box is a curious waypoint in the current trends of the music industry.
The last Studio offering from Annihilator was the moderately well received Ballistic, Sadistic in 2020.
The decision to re-release and re-record their back catalogue is partly driven by fans, and partly driven by how difficult it is for bands to make a living out of their music.
So, if there is a buck to be made by bowing to the majority who liked all of the music you have already made by feeding it to them again, then why not? If you pick up some new fans along the way, then great, perhaps they would buy the next real album.
But this is a real Album….
Metal II has been given an overhaul Ex Slayer Dave Lombardo on drums and lead vocals by Stu Block (Into Eternity).
Mixed by engineer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Van Halen) and it was remastered by Maor Appelbaum. The guest list on the album is a Who’s Who from bands like Lamb Of God, Arch Enemy, Children Of Bodom, Nevermore, In Flames, Trivium, Danko Jones, Anvil, The Haunted (I bloody love The Haunted- go and listen to the track “99” and come back and tell me they are not one of the best metal bands in history) and Lynam.
Check out the track listing:
- Chasing The High (Featuring William Adler from Lamb of God)
- Downright Dominate (Featuring Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom)
- Army Of One (Featuring Steve “Lips” Kudlow from Anvil)
- Couple Suicide (Featuring Danko Jones and Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy)
- Heavy Metal Maniac (Exciter Cover)
- Haunted (Featuring Jesper Strömblad from In Flames)
- Romeo Delight (Van Halen Cover)
- Detonation (Featuring Jacob Lynam from Lynam)
- Clown Parade (Featuring Jeff Loomis from Arch Enemy/Nevermore)
- Smothered (Featuring Anders Björler from At the Gates, The Haunted)
- Kicked (Featuring Corey Beaulieu from Trivium)
Annihilator are Canada’s most successful Thrash Metal Bands, so this is an interesting take on a re-release. One hopes that this may change people’s perceptions (mine included) on churning out old stuff. If this is what bands have to do to pay the bills or fund the next album, then I hope it is done like this.
This is a good album, its not new but sounds fresh, because it is…
Highlight – Haunted featuring Jesper Strömblad. This is an epic metal onslaught, at almost 9 minutes long that has absolutely everything you want. I was out of breath after listening to this. The Bass cuts though in parts and stands out in a way that Metal misses sometimes. The last 3 minutes of this track is just stunning. Lombardo and Jesper should do more together……
“Metal II” is dedicated to the memory of Eddie Van Halen and Alexi Laiho.
Pre-Order “METAL II” (out Feb 18) here: https://www.ear-music.net/annihilator/