All For You
Just completely off target
Annihilator - All For You 2004 AFM Records/The End Records reviewed by: EC
|Track Listing1. All For You |
3. Demon Dance
4. The One
6. Both of Me
7. Rage Absolute
8. Holding On
9. The Nightmare Factory
10. The Sound of Horror
Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the biggest Annihilator fans around, but their newest release "All For You" is just completely off target. Jeff Waters has always been a bit different, writing technical metal pieces that some find confusing or just outlandish. The Canadian superstar has enjoyed a great career however, spanning ten records and two live albums. The group has always had a revolving door, making Iced Earth's lineup changes seem normal; five different vocalists and four record labels in their fifteen year history. Now they are at it again with "All For You", their first for new label AFM Records, and first to be distributed by The End Records.
What do they have that is "All For You"? Well for starters a new vocalist in Dave Padden, who replaces Joe Comeau, who managed two records in three years with the band. I loved the combination of Comeau and Waters. It had the perfect chemistry and many believe that Annihilator's best work was with Comeau at the helm. Now Comeau is a Where Are You piece, and Dave Padden is the full-time shouter. Jeff Waters is a veteran of this business, and he knows what his fans like. His scorching guitar can be heard on classics like "Never, Neverland", "Alice In Hell", and "Criteria For A Black Widow". Has his style changed much over fifteen years? No, not really. His writing has even stayed the same, but the production and guitar tone have been rearranged quite a bit.
Gone are the clean picking sounds of old, with Waters joining the new camp of distorted downtuners. Some of his riffs on "All For You" are very generic, making for a Pantera clone at times. The aggressive title track sounds like a cross of Overdose, Sepultura, and Pantera. Not the classic sound that could be heard from the group all the way through 2001. Dave Padden mixes the album up, which in some cases would be a good thing, but this new record is very inconsistent. At times Padden uses his Max Cavalera sound, evident on the title track. Other times he uses his Metallica approach, roaring out a James Hetfield cough on "Bled" and "Rage Absolute". My biggest complaint is his other two voices. On "Demon Dance" Padden uses a voice that sounds like a game show host. It is very silly, and sounds nothing like a metal voice. If that isn't bad enough, he chimes in on "Holding On" and "The One" with a voice that would only fit a boy band. I feel Waters did not make a wise choice in hiring Padden for this record.
The signature Annihilator sounds are found here. Fast speed picking that is a bit technical at times, with constant time changes throughout. Waters is still writing horror fiction with his songs, checking in with a mad doctor on "Dr. Psycho", while escaping from a mental hospital with "Both Of Me". But I don't feel that these tracks offer the album enough salvation. I can play the entire Annihilator discography without hesitation, but I can't seem to give this one enough spins. The songs are just uninspired, with a production that sounds muddy and a vocalist that doesn't fit. I'll continue to buy Annihilator albums though. How many bands can say they've released one turd their whole career?