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ALBUM REVIEW: For The Demented – Annihilator

After treating their fans to their Triple Threat release earlier in the year consisting of live footage from their performance at Bang Your Head Festival and some ‘unplugged’ acoustic tracks Canadian thrash metal stalwarts ANNIHILATOR return with their 16th studio effort entitled For The Demented which is due for release on November 3rd via Neverland Music/Silver Lining Music. For the first time in almost 20 years this effort sees master technician Jeff Waters relinquish some of his usual duties in being the ‘jack of all trades’ and recruiting bassist Rich Hinks to join him throughout the writing and production process.

With zero intention of commencing with any form of subdued prologue the four piece plunge into a frantically paced frenzy of gritty vocals and aggressive guitar work with opener and debut single Twisted Lobotomy promptly making the statement that ANNIHILATOR aren’t here to mess around. Before you know it you are greeted by the hard hitting shredding of One To Kill which is dowsed in King Of The Kill era nostalgic riffing complimented by catchy melodic verses showcasing Jeff at his imperious best.

Already you are filled with the sense that the band have been revitalised, pulling no punches and title track For The Demented is no different providing infectious, fist pumping metal laced with crazy drum fills and sturdy bass lines before slowing the pace for the soothing emotional tones of ballad-like Pieces Of You. Despite its calming, sing-along demeanour it also harbours some darker elements as it progresses but will still have you reaching for your lighters with its incredibly infectious chorus.

The collected composure is short lived as The Demon You Know commences with adrenaline fuelled guitar work and soaring levels of energy furnished with flamboyant solo’s. As For The Demented reaches the midway point the intro of Phantom Asylum provides an eerie, chilling vibe before bursting into pulsating drums and furious shredding whilst the overall vibe is reminiscent of 2004’s Dr Psycho. With tempo shifts aplenty and headbang inducing riffing vowing to bury into your long term memory Jeff showcases plentiful examples of why he is considered to be one of the most talented guitarists to grace this planet with his mind bending virtuosity.

Altering The Altar continues the feverish momentum with rapid fire instrumentation before the wildcard entitled The Way completely changes the field of play with blues ridden upbeat punk vibes resembling THE UNDERTONES‘ cult classic Teenage Kicks whilst Jeff goes on a lyrical journey of self-reflection before fading out into the unnerving and gloomy 80’s horror feel of interlude Dark.

As the album draws to a close ANNIHILATOR are determined to go out with a bang as the edgy vibrancy of Not All There displays precisely why the band are still going strong after 16 albums. Not afraid to push the envelope and be experimental with funk ridden bass segments courtesy of Rich Hinks also accompanied by further immersive, captivating solo work as the exclamation point.

For The Demented revisits all the key qualities that brought ANNIHILATOR such critical acclaim over the course of their storied career. Intricate and edgy guitar work, catchy vocal lines urging for participation and an energetic intensity that creates undeniably infectious arrangements that will certainly have your headbanging throughout. The latest iteration of ANNIHILATOR is a breath of fresh air and hopefully this lineup sticks around for many years to come. The studio involvement of Rich Hinks has clearly paid dividends in ‘refreshing the demon’ within Jeff Waters culminating in For The Demented being one of the most enjoyable and contagious releases in the ANNIHILATOR back catalogue.

Rating: 9/10

For The Demented - Annihilator

For The Demented is set for release on November 3rd via Neverland Music/Silver Lining Music.

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