January 20, 2020 Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic (Album Review)
Savage Thrash Metal from the Great White North, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s Annihilator have been slaying melodic Heavy Metal riffs since 1984. At the tail end of the 1980s, Annihilator released their debut album, 1989’s Alice in Hell, and would go on into the 1990s to become one of the hardest working Metal acts in the game.
With well over a dozen albums, Annihilator became the biggest selling Canadian Thrash Metal band with over three million albums sold around the world. With that, Annihilator were knighted as one of Canada’s Big Four of Thrash Metal alongside fellow Canadian Metal pioneers Voivod, Sacrifice, and Razor. A major influence, a number of huge Metal acts like Megadeth, Lamb of God, Trivium, and Children Of Bodom have listed Annihilator as having a huge impact on their own music careers.
With all of this incredible notoriety, Annihilator has never stopped grinding and is now thrilled to announce the release of their unprecedented seventeenth studio album, Ballistic, Sadistic, slated to drop on Friday, January 24, 2020 via Silver Lining Music. Through the years, Annihilator has seen their share of line-up changes but the heart of this band lies within founding member, Vocalist/Guitarist, Producer, and chief Songwriter Jeff Waters. Complementing Waters, Annihilator is rounded out by a calvary of bad ass musicians in Guitarist Aaron Homma, Bassist Rich Hinks, and Drummer Fabio Alessandrini.
An album very much in his blood, Ballistic, Sadistic was written, performed, engineered, and produced by Waters while being recorded at Watersound Studios UK. Truly proud of Annihilator’s latest work, Waters had some telling words to express his feelings about this new material including: “We have made a record that is angry, technical, back to the first three records’ vibes, and it is going to be difficult to continue writing another record after releasing this one! It’s the best record I’ve made since 2005’s Schizo Deluxe and I think many will argue that this new one is in the top three.”
Enough said, let the music do the talking as “Armed To The Teeth” is a heavily loaded Thrash opener built by speed, intensity, and blistery guitar riffs. Making a point, the overly effective drum intro of “The Attitude” comes in like church bells, standing up against a crappy demeanor. In a perfect presentation of Thrash, “Psycho Ward” is an intimidating tune with all of the right moves including song title, chorus, and overall Metal form. Thunderous, Annihilator kill it on “I Am Warfare,” which is a militia of percussion for headbangers before another great track in “Out With The Garbage,” and the nicely melodic “Dressed Up For Evil.”
Perilous and hostile, “Riot” is the right kind of formula for a mosh pit. Next, “One Wrong Move” is one of those fast Thrash songs with a slow and timid bridge leading back to climaxing Heavy Metal speeds. Then, the ominous kiss of “Lip Service” is literally music to the bleeding ears before the corrosive hook of “The End Of The Lie” infests like a locust to close Ballistic, Sadistic.
Classic, unadulterated Thrash Metal with all of the right fixings, Annihilator’s Ballistic, Sadistic is nothing short of a quintessential 1980s/1990s style Metal record for 2020. Proving to be a man of his word, fans of Annihilator will find that Waters is accurate in his depiction of Ballistic, Sadistic, and basically saying it is one hell of a Metal album and one of Annihilator’s best. That said, Thrash Metal fanatics would be remiss not to buy the loudest speakers possible and crank the heck out of Ballistic, Sadistic. Top notch, Cryptic Rock awards Ballistic, Sadistic 4.5 out of 5 stars.