Friday, March 29, 2013

Annihilator - Alice In Hell

When I stumbled across this album I had to have it. I loved the Bag Of Tricks album, that Drew introduced me to. Then when you factor in that Alice In Hell is supposed to be this group's masterpiece album, it was a no brainer for me to have to pick up. The album opens with the Instrumental Crystal Ann, which is this totally amazing Classically inspired guitar piece. It's sweet. I mean it's mental stimulation of the highly enjoyable kind.

Then it's on to the albums title track. I've covered this song before, and when I go back to read it I find that what I said pretty much covers the song. But that was based on a slightly different version of the song. So What I'll say here is that I find this song well written, arranged and performed. I find it sounds a bit dated, and to me it feels like a period piece. But considering the album was produced by guitarist Jeff Waters, which is pretty much to Annihilator what Steve Harris is to Iron Maiden, and it was released in 1990, you can't get too fussy.

One of the things I've always liked about W.T.Y.D. is the mix of musical sound. One minute it sounds all cliche with the vocalist screaming about death, during these rapid machine gun firing riffs, then it goes and gets all fancy, just to screw with you, before going back to the angry screaming. This is a fun song when you're in the mood for it.

Everything about Wicked Mystic is very typically Metal, in all the negative stereo types. But it's still a great song. I really wish Jeff's solo had been pushed further ahead in the mix.

Burns Like A Buzzsaw Blade would have been right at home with the Trash Metal bands if Annihilator could have busted out of the stigma of being a Canadian band. That's great if you want global success, but sucks if you were hoping to spend any time at home. Especially prior to Avril, Sum 41, and some of those other Pop acts opening the doors for other Canadian artists. Also Nickelback, before they went all Rock cliche.

Word Salad is one of those songs I was never big on when it came to Annihilator. I can understand why some people would dig on it, and when it get's to the all mellow instrumental section I find it enjoyable, but then it get's a bit predictable when the solo starts up. It's fucking awesome, and better than anything I would ever think of being able to do, but still predictable. Schizos (Are Never Alone) Parts I & II is a bit on the sad side. Some of the soloing lends it some redeeming qualities, but for the most part, not really that impressive.

After the last song Ligeia comes across as a continuation of a bunch of "noise" as the old people would call it. I find it really repetitive though, and would rather not have to listen to the two songs back to back.

I've alwaysed liked Human Insecticide. My only complaint about the song is the drumming. It's so basic and straight foward, that I find hurts the song. Other than that I find this song totally bitchin'. "Psychotic tendencies have put me here for life / Dreams of smashing little things before they ruin my life / Find means capable of smothering a flea / Extermination is their end, escaping not from me / Retaliate / Decapitate--I love to see them bleed / Annihilate / I am human insecticide / Creepy black mass, I see one down below / Prepare to strike, act quickly now, strike the fatal blow / Extinguishing the menace, they will know my name / Destroying these, the lives of waste, delivered now to pain / Retaliate / Decapitate--I love to see them bleed / Annihilate / I am human insecticide / Asphyxiate the flame of life / From hatred they will die / Power kept in my control / Their souls are caged with mine / Expelled from life, they cannot hide, I will find them out / Their game's lost, I hunt them down, their end without a doubt / Psychotic tendencies, my dreams are coming true / My plans are set without repent, I'm tightening the screw / Retaliate / Decapitate--I love to see them bleed / Annihilate / I am human insecticide". I really believe if the drums were changed out for some better work, and the general mix was tweaked a bit, this song would be killer.

I would say that to me this album is the prime example of why you don't let one specific musician produce the record by themself. It's not bad, but it could have been better. For starters the drums could have been more exciting, but a guitarist isn't going to think of that. Although the bass wasn't lost in the mix, I would have liked to have heard more low end in the album. The vocals are pretty much perfect for the style that the band tends to use. However, we all know it's the guitar work that's best portrayed on this album. I really think that if this album had been produced by an outsider it would have more appeal, and would sounds less dated.

7/10 - content

6/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

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