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It takes quite some gumption to call your newest album simply METAL, but who's the wrangle with a guy with the resume and pedigree of Annihilator's mainman Jeff Waters? Just to be on the safe side though, Waters gets a little insurance in the form of some help from friends on this Canadian act's latest 10-track endeavor Everyone from Willie Adler (whose contribution to the frenetic "Chasing the High" is arguably the thrashiest part of the disc) to Anders Bjorler gets a turn on this star-studded affair, allowing the band to capture a wealth of diverse energies and styles while adding their own distinct metal spin, resulting in a challenging mixed bag of metal. "Clown Parade" (featuring Jeff Loomis) and "Downright Dominate" (with Alexi Laiho) keep the mood old school while "Couple Suicide" (a duet with Danko Jones and Angela Gossow) presents an intriguing departure for the veteran group. Even though the glimpses of past riches here are solid, the glory days of ALICE IN HELL have been usurped by the Love Boat all-star guest homage Annihilator exhibits on the novelty-esque METAL, yielding both a new found respect and a slew of interesting changes for the band.
- Mike SOS