Annihilator
Ballistic, Sadistic

So Jeff Waters is still slinging the crap out of his guitar?  I had no idea.  Canada’s speed metal veterans return with their 17th, yes you read that correctly, 17th full length album, Ballistic, Sadistic.  Of course you had the classic Alice in Hell album in 1989 and really after that I kind of lost interest, most likely due to me getting into harder and faster music and really trying to get the most brutal bands and Annihilator kind of were more of a tech speed metal band and in my youth I needed something heavier.

In prep for this review I perused their back catalog and not too shabby.  Some clunkers and uneven songs/albums, but for the majority of Ballistic, Sadistic, this is some damn good speed metal with some thrash parts thrown in.  Speed/Thrash, I guess.  10 songs in 46 minutes and Jeff also sings and plays some bass in addition to his guitar duties with Aaron Homma on guitars, Rich Hinks on bass and Fabio Alessandrini on drums.  Check out the drummers last part of his last name-no relation to me, at least I don’t think, but he is from Italy and I’m also Italian.  What the hell is going on here??

“Armed to the Teeth” opens the album with some nice guitar work and a nice mid-paced drum pattern.  Vocals are a bit too up front in the mix, should have been scaled back a bit.  The rhythm section with the chorus is nice with some killer double bass action and of course ripping guitar slides and solos.  The song remains mid-paced and has a bit too happy jumpiness to it, for my normal liking, but I am really digging the instrumentation production, especially the plucky bass guitar moments and the double bass is fucking thunderous.  The song picks up pace right at the end.  I also notice, the guitar sound, although not as heavy, has a very similar tone to Impact is Imminent from Exodus.

“The Attitude” has some terrific guitar work and great rhythm parts and the speed picks up towards the end again, like the various parts of this song.  I of course love the fast singing chorus at the 1.25 part “Fuck your Attitude” over and over and I just start swinging all over the place.  This is one of the best songs on the album and the fast parts really go full throttle.  I actually think because the fast part gets pretty fast if Fabio would have thrown in a little ditty of a blast beat, over the chorus, it actually would have worked quite nicely.

“I Am Warfare” should definitely have had a damn blast beat.  The song is super- fast speed/thrash with excellent vocals and instrumentation all over the place with a few cool vocal effects added for good measure to slice your head off your gross and disgusting stump of a body.  And I never thought I’d be doing a Holy Shit moment for this album, but sure enough the Holy Shit moment is at the 1.52 part with the drums pounding and guitars and then right into the mid-paced stop n start groove riffing with a bunch of pumped in war sound effects with tracer bullets, machine gun fire chain reaction shredded brains…ooops I veered off into Sodom territory, but yep this part is absolutely crushing.

The rest of Ballistic, Sadistic follows similar formulaic speed thrash patterns.  You get your groove numbers like “Dressed up for Evil” (with some nice little ditty bass solos) and then more speedier numbers such as “The End of the Lie”.  There maybe is a little too mid-paced moments on this, for my liking, but overall there still are enough speedier tracks for me.  Other than the vocals a tad too high in the mix, the production of all the instruments is excellent for this style of metal.  The album cover is a bit too bush league, c’mon Annihilator you can do better than this cover.  But at the end of the day Ballistic, Sadistic is catchy, well-played/written and a pretty damn fine speed metal album.  Get it now!

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
February 14th, 2020

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