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Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic


Album Review: ANNIHILATOR Ballistic, Sadistic

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It has been just over 30 years since Canadian thrashers Annihilator made their presence known with the classic album Alice in Hell. There have been a lot of lineup changes over the years, with frontman Jeff Waters the lone original member. The band’s seventeenth studio album Ballistic, Sadistic features drummer Fabio Alessandrini (ex-Genghis Khan).

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This time around, the band has revisited the sound of their early albums. Waters says he, “can tell you that 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.”

Album Review: ANNIHILATOR Ballistic, Sadistic

Silver Lining Music

That’s the type of statement artists make for the release of every record, but in this case, Waters is correct. That’s evident beginning with Ballistic, Sadistic’s fiery opener “Armed To The Teeth,” which incorporates the album title in the lyrics. Ominous riffs drive the track that of course has a few blazing solos as well.

Annihilator keeps things interesting by shifting tempos and intensities. “The Attitude” opens with a moderately paced intro before launching into galloping thrash. “Psycho Ward” is loaded with groove and a memorable chorus while “I Am Warfare” is a bit more chaotic. Guitars are front and center on “Out With The Garbage,” with extended instrumental breaks in the second half of the song.

And while there’s no doubt of the band’s technical abilities, this isn’t just shredding for shredding’s sake. The solos are compelling, the riffs razor-sharp throughout the album. Annihilator generally keeps albums in the 45 to 50-minute range, and that’s their sweet spot. It allows room to showcase everything in their arsenal without overstaying their welcome. The second half of Ballistic, Sadistic isn’t quite as potent as the opening half, but they still do plenty of damage on tracks like “One Wrong Move.”

Waters would be the first to tell you he’s mainly a guitarist, and the band has had several vocalists over the years. Waters did vocals on some albums in the ‘90s, and once again took on the lead singer mantle a couple of albums ago. He doesn’t have a golden set of pipes, but like many thrash vocalists, delivers the lyrics with attitude and conviction and gets the job done.

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It’s amazing to see so many ‘80s thrash bands still doing their thing at a high-level today, and Annihilator is one of those groups proudly flying the flag. Ballistic, Sadistic is top-notch thrash that fans of the band and genre will enjoy.

Waters is proud of the album as well. He says, “the record is like this: take the Alice In Hell, Never, Neverland, and Set The World On Fire records, make them angry, combine the old-school production with modern hi-tech studio gear, then add the best guitar work I didn’t know I still had in me, and you’ve got the best we could possibly offer.”

Score: 7.5/10

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