Album Review: Annihilator – Metal II

Whenever I get to listen to a re-record, this question ponders into my mind—Was it necessary? Or is this just an irrelevant whim of the artist?

Generally, I do not prefer to compare even myself to an earlier version of mine but, a re-record truly needs to sound better or there is no philosophy of doing it whatsoever. So this time, legendary Canadian band Annihilator have dropped their new album Metal II, which is a re-recorded version of their earlier album, 2007’s Metal. I will seek to unearth the reasons for recording it again.

This album is already known for its huge arsenal of guest musicians, but this time, we have two more visitors. David Lombardo’s drumming glares throughout the entire album and adjusts the songs to sound tougher than the last time. Yet, what helped the record to emerge out of its own shadow is the ear-pinching high-octane screams and magnificent singing by Stu Block. The cover version of Exciter’s “Heavy Metal Maniac” features some deadly wails like a banshee that would shrill your eardrums to the exact point of intense vibrancy.

Stu has dominated the whole album; from the killer screams of “Heavy Metal Maniac” to the growls of “Detonation,” he ensured that the record gets what it truly deserves. The laughter on “Kicked” will make you envision an evil sorcerer, while listening to the new cover of “Romeo Delight” will give you the vibe of a trickster. This man has a wide range of tones, and he definitely sounds like one of my favorite singers David Wayne (Metal Church) on “Clown Parade.” It is a great treat to listen to this guy singing.

While the majority of things sound similar between the earlier record and this one, master Jeff Waters has deftly put some new tunes in and also removed some of the music from the earlier version. As always, he likes to explore his music in a way that a single genre cannot solely define, so it is not really a straight-edged thrash metal album. However, it has loads of technical riffs.

“Downright Dominate,” which features recently passed Alexi Laiho, contains a freshly added riff at the very end that carves the outro into an outstanding one. Listening to “Couple Suicide,” you will find a few new tunes here and there, which helps the song to be a bit more interesting. But not every single piece that has been changed or removed was a good decision—the killer intro drum roll on “Detonation” has been cut off in this new record, which actually sounded pretty well last time. Nonetheless, additional drum rolls on “Clown Parade” made it even deadlier.

The addition of legendary drummer Dave Lombardo and top-notch singer Stu Block have absolutely made the new album more listenable. The sound has also gotten better; it has been balanced quite well. Was the re-recording worth it? Well, the band could just record an album with brand new songs with Stu Block singing like the heavy metal maniac that he is, but I believe this work is done mostly for nostalgic reasons. And for that cause, you can listen to it.

Buy Metal II (CD Digipak)  here.

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