Release Date: 9/18/15
One of the most consistent metal bands of the last few decades is certainly Annihilator. Guitarist Jeff Waters has always managed to navigate his ship through un-navigable seas with the greatest of ease and Suicide Society is another example of overcoming circumstance (vocalist and Annihilator mainstay since 2003, Dave Padden, exited abruptly prior to the album) and coming out on top.
First off, this album features Waters himself on vocals. Although the band have had a handful of vocalists over the years, Waters has only taken the reigns once, which was for the King of the Kill album in 1994. Thankfully, he’s much better this time around. In fact, his vocals bring a brighter sound to the Annihilator lexicon as he takes it in a much more melodic direction than Padden’s sometimes confusing NYC hardcore approach.
“Creepin’ Again” is one of the best examples of what this album is capable of. It’s ferociously thrashy with a heavily melodic chorus that soars without letting up on the breakneck speed fans always hope for. Waters snarls, talks, and clean sings over top of it all and ices the cake with a virtuosic solo. This is one of those songs that will never be a single but will be a longtime fan favorite from this era.
Other highlights include the title track that has a very Megadeth vibe to it and lyrically deals with our trashing of our planet (both environmentally and mentally). The more epic “Death Scent” is another highlight in my opinion. It’s a deep track but it’s really dynamic, dissing the thrashier overall vibe of the record for lots of cool ins and outs that provide ample evidence that Waters is a genius musically. From the scorching solo to the haunting, dissonant breakdown to the snarling groove, it’s a very progressive piece for an extreme metal tune.
While this may not be quite as consistent as 2013’s Feast, it shows a lot more of what Waters is capable of than any other Annihilator album of the last decade. It’s kind of “unhinged” feel is what appeals to me the most. For once, you are never quite sure what might come next. If you are an Annihilator fan you don’t want to skip this one. If you are unfamiliar and you like early nineties Megadeth, late eighties Metallica, Overkill, or Tourniquet’s pre-new millennium work then you should check this out.
Reviewed by Mark Fisher