• The one-trick pony neighs again - A review of Annihilator's For the Demented

    Annihilator - For the Demented (2017)

    At this point, everyone who's familiar with Annihilator knows what to expect from a new record involving band leader Jeff Waters and his partners in crime. You will get a few fast and technical thrash metal tracks inspired by the early works of Exodus, Megadeth and Testament, a few more rocking tracks recalling AC/DC, Motorhead and Van Halen and a melancholic half-ballad in the key of Iron Maiden's and Metallica's softer sides.

    The technical thrash metal track is the ferocious opener ''Twisted Lobotomy'' that has the potential to become a fan favorite during live shows, the solid rocker is called ''The Way'' and recalls previous collaborations with Danko Jones and the melancholic ballad is ''Pieces of You'' where the wonderful guitar harmonies contrast the grisly lyrics about a sociopath who cut his girlfriend into pieces and devoured them.

    There is nothing bad about these songs at all. Along with the twisted experimental narrative of ''The Demon in You'', these songs are even my favorite tracks on For the Demented. The problem is that Jeff Waters has been there before and that he has often delivered better versions in the past. ''Twisted Lobotomy'' offers great guitar work but is a little bit too repetitive in the middle section and doesn't have the same diversity as ''Demon Code'' for example. ''The Way'' is among the catchiest tunes on the new offering but doesn't have the vivid hard rock vibes that made ''Shallow Grave'' stand out. ''Pieces of You'' is easily my favorite track here but it doesn't have the profound atmosphere of ''Never, Neverland'' for example. 

    Jeff Waters proved on Annihilator's last output Triple Threat that he's able to reinvent his songwriting by adding an acoustic dimension to it to just give one example. He failed to keep the momentum of this experiment and apply it to the new material. For the Demented offers more of the same on a good average level. The record is better than what Annihilator offered in the mid-nineties but it isn't on the same level as the band's first two legendary records or even this record's two vivid predecessors. Annihilator fans will clearly like For the Demented but the band won't make any new fans with this output. Instead of going back to the roots, reusing similar riffs and writing about the same psychological topics, Annihilator needs something exciting, experimental and fresh to reinvent itself and keep this band relevant. Jeff Waters has surrounded himself with three hungry and talented young musicians. Bass player Rich Hinks already had a positive impact on the songwriting. It would help if Jeff Waters decided to make a band out of this one-man project to add some spice to the old recipe. Jeff Waters has to take this chance in the future. Until then, this one's not for the demented but only for the fans of yore.

    Final rating: 69%

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