ANNIHILATOR, Double Live Annihilation (2003, AFM)
Animal skulls are generally frowned upon here at Big Dumb Skulls. The Council prefers that submissions depict only human or human-esque skulls. Take the horns away from this one and you’re pretty close to human, so we’ll let it slide. This bison-man skull thingy hovers above a sea (or puddle) of blood, one that is active and bubbling, indicating, mmm, maybe…Hell??? Whatever the case, wherever he hovers, he’s got “Double Live” etched into his forehead, and his eyes glow like fiery coals, presenting to you the word “Annihilation.” Skulls hover a lot, don’t they?
Isn’t it weird how “King of the Kill” could have been on those ’80s era Piledriver albums? How “Striker” is like Iron Maiden trying to play thrash (not a novel idea anymore, though), and “Murder” opens this album but is still as stinky as that whole Remains disaster? You get it all here, Annihilator fans. It was difficult for me to care about Annihilator past album #2, but if you’re a devotee, Double Live Annihilation will please, especially the career-spanning song selection, which is so career-spanning it hardly has any room for much from their first and best album. The sound is very good, the performances all totally pro. Vocalist Joe Comeau has a weird history: singer in Liege Lord, then became a guitarist in Overkill, formed Ramrod, then sang in Tad Morose for about three seconds, and he winds up as vocalist in Annihilator. (Although with the frequency of lineup changes in Annihilator, we’re all bound to be in Annihilator eventually.) Comeau has a flavorless delivery, but it’s less annoying than Randy Rampage, so hearing a song like “Alice in Hell” without Rampage is a pleasure, as it’s one of Jeff Waters’ best compositions. The rest is what Annihilator specializes in: lots of great riffs, very few great songs.
— Friar Wagner