An absolutely crushing and solid album
Annihilator - Schizo Deluxe - 2005 - AFM Records
|Track Listing1. Maximum Satan|
4. Plasma Zombies
5. Invite It
6. Like Father, Like Gun
8. Too Far Gone
10. Something Witchy
11. Weapon X (Remastered)
12. I Am In Command (Demo)
13. Annihilator (Demo)
Well let's just face it, Annihilator are in serious need of a really good release these days. Jeff Waters and company have really been on "that list", with plenty of fans and metal esteem shaking their heads about the band's last release, "All For You". With that particular record Waters seemed to be in more of an experimental mode, maybe in the same frame of mind as the equally controversial record "Remains". This was the first album with new singer Dave Padden, and while Padden's dedication and talent is obviously there, his unique and rather "modern" vocal style really threw everyone, including me. "All For You" seemed to be too much, with Waters seemingly trying to reinvent himself and his creation with more modern tendencies, including more pop oriented tracks (see "The One") as well as odd arrangements ("Demon Dance", "All For You"). For me personally it was a huge disappointment, especially when you add in the fact that the band were coming off of quite possibly their three best records ("Criteria For A Black Widow", "Carnival Diablos", "Waking The Fury"), and the loss of the fabulous Joe Comeau in the vocal spot (still a mysterious break-up to this day). Since the band seem to have so many references to Megadeth, I would put "All For You" on the same page as Megadeth's "Risk". What did Dave and company do after such a horrible career disaster? They rebounded with the stellar "World Needs A Hero". What is Annihilator's response? They went in much the same direction, answering their peers and critics with a much needed kick in the ass with their new album "Schizo Deluxe".
I'm still reading a lot of negative press about Annihilator even after this release. I personally don't understand the negative feedback. Sure they went in the wrong direction with "All For You", but now "Schizo Deluxe" puts the band right back on track, delivering an absolutely crushing and solid album that is pure Annihilator through and through. Jeff Waters may have put in his best guitar performance here, absolutely shredding in places and providing some scorching lead work. He has recently stated that he is the fastest picker in metal. I dare someone to step up and tell me they can smoke this record's riffs. From the furious charge injected into speedracer "Drive" to the crunchy power wattage of "Like Father, Like Gun", Annihilator and Waters are back to the style that brought them this far. Those of you who were missing the band's monstrous thrash attack have no future worries about the band's direction. I personally feel that "Schizo Deluxe" is on par with albums like "Waking The Fury" and "Carnival Diablos", which are two of my favorites. The groove oriented riffing is there, but Waters goes on some speed fests within the material, never subjecting the listener to one particular riff or groove. This album is a perfect example of what is right with Annihilator, their ability to constantly provide timing and tempo changes, even incorporating a good sense of melody as well.
Singer Dave Padden takes a completely different vocal approach for his sophomore recording effort with the group. With his effort on "All For You" it really left me disgusted with Waters' choice for a frontman. With that performance Padden used everything from "R & B" style vocals to a Static-X type of sound. It was really all over the place and lacked any type of consistency or depth. With this new release Padden sticks more to a thrash mentality, possibly even using Joe Comeau and Waters vocal style of simply "speaking" the lyrics through the fast parts, and using more of a melodic approach for the chorus. It works well with cuts like "Pride", "Invite It", and "Drive". At times Padden goes on some hardcore rants, evident on parts of "Maximum Satan" as well as "Something Witchy", but he never uses that style for long. Waters does provide some of his own vocals, singing all of "Too Far Gone". Long time fans will recognize the name Dan Beehler. The former Exciter vocalist provides backing vocals on three cuts.
Bottom Line - One of the best records of the year in my opinion. Annihilator are back in a big way, really taking thrash to the absolute boundaries of precision and craftsmanship. This beats out the last offerings from Overkill, Exodus, Destruction, and Kreator in my opinion. Favorite cuts here are "Maximum Satan", "Too Far Gone", "Like Father, Like Gun", "Drive", and "Warbird". Highly recommended!