ALBUM REVIEW: Annihilator – Metal II

There’s a fine line between “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “there’s always room for improvement”, and more often than not the re-recording of old albums usually falls snugly into the former category. No matter how much more accomplished the revised version might sound from a technical standpoint, the overall results rarely change. Lightning in a bottle cannot be captured twice.

However, there are occasions when an overhaul could be genuinely beneficial. In 2007 when Canadian thrash veterans Annihilator released Metal (SPV/Steamhammer), as enjoyable as it was, there was clearly room for improvement. Now, alongside former Iced Earth/Into Eternity vocalist Stu Block and the absolute living legend that is former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, frontman Jeff Waters has succeeded in upgrading his original offering.


Keeping the original contributors on its revised track sequencing and – with no disrespect to Waters intended – a superior vocalist to belt them out, every song on Metal II (earMUSIC) sounds like a newly refreshed demon. Featuring guitarist Willie Adler from Lamb of God ‘Chasing The High’ is a wonderfully frantic opener while now sadly departed Children of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho peppers the militaristic stomp of ‘Downright Dominate’ with some much-missed shredding.

‘Army Of One’ features Steve “Lips” Kudlow from Anvil and packs a beefy, mid-paced crunch. Danko Jones and Angela Gossow appear on a grittier version of ‘Couple Suicide’, Exciter drummer Dan Beehler and bassist Allan James Johnson pop up on a banging cover of their own classic, ‘Heavy Metal Maniac’ and former In Flames guitarist Jesper Strömblad struts his stuff on the eight minute ‘Haunted’. In one noticeable change to the tracklist, Michael Amott collaboration ‘Operation Annihilation’ has now been replaced with a cover of ‘Romeo Delight’ by Van Halen. A decent cover which just falls a little short, the vocally acrobatic Block unable to rival David Lee Roth‘s uniquely cheeky charisma.

‘Detonation’ featuring Jacob Lynam is essentially Black Sabbath‘s ‘Children of the Grave’ with a different chorus while ‘Clown Parade’ with Jeff Loomis of Nevermore is a quality uptempo neck-breaker. Anders Björler of The Haunted guests on ‘Smothered’ before Trivium guitarist Corey Beaulieu lends his talents to punchy closer, ‘Kicked’.

Jam-packed with finger-melting solos and dive-bombing whammy bar action, Metal II is re-energised and revitalised by the addition of Block and Lombardo. So while this second bite of the cherry still might not be vintage Annihilator, it’s undoubtedly tastier than the first. Looks like remakes can be better after all.

Buy the album here:

7 / 10