I’ve loved Annihilator since ‘Alice In Hell’ was released way back in 1989, even through the lean years when Jeff Waters was essentially a one man band, and it will never change. Granted, there have been more line-ups than there are days in the year but no other band sounds like Annihilator and Jeff is one of the finest guitarists around. Even now, other than Waters and vocalist Dave Padden (who has been with Waters a good few years), I'm still not quite sure who is in the live band (it says Mike Harshaw on drums and Alberto Campuzano on bass) but, hey, I'm not here to debate that. This version of 'Feast' contains the new album and a second bonus disc entitled 'Re-Kill' which consists of fifteen re-recorded Annihilator tracks by the 'current' band and was completed in 2012. Firstly, the new album is easily the best thing Annihilator have recorded since 'Refresh The Demon' (with the possible exception of 'Waking The Fury'). When Padden joined as vocalist on 2004 album 'All For You', I wasn't quite sure whether his voice was right for Annihilator, it seemed a little clean, but I have grown to really appreciate it over the last decade and 'Feast' showcases his best performance with the band yet. From the opening carnage of riffing on 'Deadlock' through 'Smear Campaign', ballad 'Perfect Angel Eyes', 'Demon Code' to final track 'One Falls, Two Rise', this album is brilliant and quintessential Annihilator. Ok, there is no absolute standout track but they are never going to top the song 'Alison Hell', it's an out and out classic. What you do get is nearly fifty minutes of superb Annihilator thrash, played the only way they know, and Jeff Waters is literally on fire throughout.
Onto the second disc, and I'm sure the argument will arise as to whether bands should re-record songs from their back catalogue. My way of thinking is that if they are still releasing good original material as well then why not, whether it be as a standalone (like Exodus) or as a bonus CD such as this. In Annihilator's case it's a great companion piece to the originals as they were recorded by so many different people and, of course, we can hear how Dave Padden handles classics such as ‘Fun Palace’, ‘Never, Neverland’, ‘Ultra Motion’, ‘Word Salad’ and, of course, ‘Alison Hell’, amongst others. I'm sure opinion will be divided but I think he's done an absolutely outstanding job, managing to bring enough of his own style to the tracks without turning them into something else. He has become the perfect vocalist for Annihilator, these versions show his versatility and it's very gratifying to finally see Jeff Waters develop a partnership with someone who seems to be completely on the same wavelength as him. I think had Annihilator managed to keep a more stable lineup in their formative years they could have been a much bigger band. This is the 'here and the now' though, and for 2013 you couldn't wish for a better album to add to your Annihilator collection and long may they continue!
Review by Rick Tilley
48:21 & 68:33
26th August 2013
DISC ONE: 1) Deadlock; 2) No Way Out; 3) Smear Campaign; 4) No Surrender; 5) Wrapped; 6) Perfect Angel Eyes; 7) Demon Code; 8) Fight the World; 9) One Falls, Two Rise
BONUS DISC: 1) Fun Palace; 2) Alison Hell; 3) King of the Kill; 4) Never, Neverland; 5) Set the World on Fire; 6) Welcome to Your Death W.T.Y.D.; 7) Nozone; 8) Bloodbath; 9) 21; 10) Stonewall; 11) Ultra Motion; 12) Time Bomb; 13) Refresh the Demon; 14) World Salad; 15) Brain Dance
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...brilliant and quintessential Annihilator."