Annihilator Criteria For A Black Widow

For over ten years, Annihilator hasn't existed so much as a band, but as an outlet and stroke session for Jeff Waters' ego. It's always been his band, his songs, his lyrics. Actually, the other members have had limited input, but not nearly enough for something called a "band." So, it's all about Jeff and his look-at-how-well-I-play philosophy, but having something called "Jeff Waters Speaks" as a bonus track - in which the main man chatters about his life as of late and gives in depth insight to album tracks like, "This one's a typical ass-kicking Annihilator tune," - must be bordering on pathology. The songs proper mostly feature the Alice In Hell line-up and is actually a slight return to the band's earlier and better days. The best tracks, or at least the most listenable, are the up-tempo, thrashy numbers with hellacious soloing ("Bloodbath," "Punctured" and "Sonic Homicide"). The worst stuff is the overly involved musician wank. Waters is a good metal guitarist and a decent enough writer, but is a one-dimensional talent whose music falters when extra elements and anything other than semi-complex old school thrash rears its head. (CMC)