We all know that ANNIHILATOR is essentially a one man band. Jeff Waters has been the staple of ANNIHILATOR their entire career and with every artist choice Waters makes expect the band to follow in that manner. But throughout his hits and his misses, Waters always seems to write catchy and generally good music. He has dabbled in various sub genres with the band (including Industrial tones for a while) so it was only a matter of time when he would push ANNIHILATOR into the realm of Modern Metal. And thusly, “All For You” has the band retaining many of the Thrash Metal tendencies but with a Modern Metal approach to the genre. And as far as I’m concerned – it worked out damn well.
Many fans were disgusted with this release. Claiming that the band had become Nu Metal, Metalcore, and whatever Metal phobias are spreading at the time. Personally, I think the fans were just scared of change. This in itself is an odd statement when one considers all the massive changes that ANNIHILATOR has made throughout their career.
Everything an ANNIHILATOR fan wants can be found on “All For You”. We have some of the most interesting guitar work in the Metal world from the ever clever Jeff Waters. He does clean up his guitar tone quite a bit for this release and really uses that modern sensibility with the playing and progression in writing. There is extensive bass work that compliments the guitars perfectly. Drum-God Mike Mangini gives us a very sharp and technical work. But the most debated topic is new vocalist, Dave Padden.
Many people found his performance to be weak on this album. Even if it is weak, when have ANNIHILATOR fans ever been about having a strong vocalist for the band? We, as fans, have lived through some very odd vocalist choices for this band and I happen to think that when it comes down to it, Dave Padden fits this style of ANNIHILATOR better than anyone I can think of. His Modern Metal style of harsh and singing styles really brings out the tongue-in-cheek lyrics (example: “Demon Dance”). I know that automatically turns off many of the fans to begin with, but I happen to think that it was a new side of ANNIHILATOR we had never seen. Is it a great performance? No. But it is a new side and it’s a vocalist that gets the job done. I wasn’t expecting much more than this.
This is still ANNIHILATOR folks. If you have been following the band for any length of time then this album is just another turn in the tide for the band. Fortunately, the songwriting is better on this album then it has been for many years. It feels as though Jeff Waters just let go of all his inhibitions and dove into his work – with pretty good results. It’s Thrash Metal with modern sensibility and diversity. This is what I wanted from the band and it’s exactly what I got.
Songs to check out: “All For You”, “Bled”, “The Nightmare Factory”.
(Online October 10, 2008)