Downright Dominate


Annihilator (feat. Alexi Laiho)

Annihilator backstory

Founded by Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Waters, Annihilator burst on to the metal scene with 1989’s Alice In Hell and followed it up with the dazzling Never Neverland the year after.

Fifteen studio albums (and many line-up changes) later, and Annihilator are arguably at another career peak, thanks to the exhilarating thrash attack of 2020’s Ballistic, Sadistic.

And this month, earMUSIC announced that it will be re-releasing (almost) the entire Annihilator catalogue.

This long term-series, which promises plenty of special material and unreleased tracks, will kick-off with a reimagining of the band’s 2007 album, Metal.

Entitled Metal II, the record has been given an overhaul with ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo manning the kit and lead vocals ‘reinvented’ by Into Eternity’s Stu Block.  

Featuring new versions of tracks such as Chasing The High and Smothered, Metal II boasts a lengthy guest list of rock and metal luminaries – including Danko Jones, Angela Gossow and Willie Adler.

Plus, there’s a cover of Van Halen’s Romeo Delight thrown in for good measure.

Waters passed over mixing duties to legendary engineer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Van Halen) for Metal II and it was re-mastered by Maor Appelbaum.

Downright Dominate – featuring the late, great Alexi Laiho – is the first song to be unveiled from the album.

In Jeff Waters’ own words

“One of greatest engineers/mixers on the planet, Mike Fraser, was my first choice to mix this one.

“It was a challenge as Mike was not brought in to make a record; he was simply there to mix a big mess of tracks that were recorded in 2006 and 2021 and with over 14 players on it.

“After this difficult mix, I promised Mike that I would do another record with him, from the ground up!

“Although Alexi Laiho’s shredding in Downright Dominate and the Van Halen song Romeo Delight were recorded a while back, adding Stu and Dave to these songs gave us all the feeling that Metal II is also a fitting tribute to our two fallen guitar heroes.

“Ed and Alexi, R.I.P.”

The verdict on Downright Dominate

Waters and Laiho trading licks over a vicious slab of adrenalized metal? We’ll take that.

This Canadian/Finnish soundclash is a celebration of all things heavy, with a Pantera-style groove weaved into Annihilator’s surging thrash.

The fretwork, as you’d perhaps expect, is scintillating.

And with Slayer, Dead Cross and Suicidal Tendencies legend Lombardo adding his percussive bombast and distinctive fills to the song – and Block’s searing vocals elevating it to new heights – Downright Dominate downright dominates.

Waters’ decision to give a new sheen to this noughties neck snapper has certainly paid off… and that bodes well for the rest of Metal II.

What’s next for Annihilator?

Metal II will be released on February 18, 2022 via earMusic, and will be followed by a slew of Annihilator re-releases over the next few years.

Main picture collage: Dean Karr / Kai Swillus.