Annihilator – Carnival Diablos
Well since all I did was copy and paste an old review with a little bit of editing for ‘Alice in Hell’ I figured I may as well go ahead and knock off the one other Annihilator CD I own ‘Carnival Diablos’. Though I haven’t listened to this album nearly as much as ‘Alice in Hell’, it did get quite a few spins when I first bought it back in 2005 or 2006.
As I wrote in the last post I discovered this band back in 1989 with their first record ‘Alice in Hell’. Although that record got a ton of plays within my circle during my freshmen year in high school, I really didn’t pay that much attention to them beyond that record. When their second record ‘Never, Never Land’ dropped in 1990 I found my interest in them had already dwindled and I never owned or listened to that record. Even though my friend Rick had the tape and everything I heard on it I liked. For whatever reason, I just never bothered with it and sort of forgot about the band entirely by the time I graduated high school.
It wasn’t until 2005 when Annihilator came back on my radar in the oddest of ways. 2005 was 25th Anniversary of Road Runner Records and they put out this interesting compilation record of Road Runner artists, both past and present, collaborating on several original tunes. The CD came with a bonus DVD with a documentary on the making of the record. One segment shows Jeff Water’s laying down his solo for the opening track and I was completely blown away by his skills. I had totally forgot how amazing of a musician and song writer he was. I was sort going through a metal renaissance at the time trying to collect all my favorite record I grew up with, and seeing that doc and hearing Waters contributions to the record put Annihilator back on my radar.
Since this was back when the only way I got my hands on new music is when I went out and bought the CD, my options for exploring this bands catalog was limited to what I could find used. Money was tight back then, and I usually only bought CD’s used unless it was a band I really liked and ‘Alice in Hell’ was the only Annihilator album was willing pay full price for. But I did eventually come across this CD at a reasonable price so I went for it.
Now I wouldn’t say it was blown away by it by any means. But I find that is was pretty much what I remembered what I liked about Annihilators sound, even though it was an almost completely different line up from the ‘Alice in Hell’ line up. It sounded to me exactly what I would have expected them to sound like 11 years later. Tight thrashy guitar riffs, aggressive growly vocals but with catchy vocal melodies throughout, and killer solo’s that managed to shred yet be memorable. The album is primarily a thrash record, but there are a few straight forward metal songs and hard rock songs here and there. As I said before, though I wasn’t blown away by it, I was rather receptive to discovering new thrash metal at the time, so I dug it enough that it got many plays in my Discman as I was walking around take taking public transportation across Pittsburgh.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve moved back to my parent house in Colden, NY, where I grew up, and got my first computer and discovered the whole downloading thing. Annihilator was one of the first bands I whose discography I grabbed up. First thing that blew me away was how many albums they had put out in their 20 plus year history. Even though they’d fallen off my radar between 1991 and 2005, and despite endless lineup changes, Jeff Waters never gave up on this band and continued to release at least a dozen records throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Sadly, I found out quickly that not every record was as strong as their earlier albums, or this one for that matter. Apparently, Mr. Waters wasn’t afraid to explore his hard rock and early metal influences, or write a radio friendly song here or there. After checking bits and pieces of each record I found ‘Alice in Hell’ was the only record of theirs that held my attention and I lost interest in exploring Annihilators catalog any further. Eventually I deleted everything but the two albums I own physical copies of out of my iTunes library.
In preparation for writing this review I checked out the band’s Wikipedia page and read that they have a few records that are pure classic thrash metal albums that might be worth revisiting sometime down the road. But I find it unlikely that I will ever actually pay money for another Annihilator record anytime soon. So as far as this series is concern we’re going to have to leave this band here for now and move onto other bands. But it’s been fun listening to both ‘Alice in Hell’ and ‘Carnival Diablos’ over the last few days and look forward to continue listening to them in the days ahead.