Annihilator, Stu Block and Dave Lombardo – Metal II (earMUSIC)
Well it’s one hell of a show… as you might expect.
And the trio have come together again on this new version of 2007’s Metal, which launches earMUSIC’s Annihilator re-release marathon.
Not that Metal needed any more star quality.
The record’s original version was laden with talent from across heavy music’s global landscape. In Flames’ Jesper Strömblad, Danko Jones, the late, great Alexi Laiho and more guested on Annihilator’s 12th full length.
And their contributions remain on Metal II.
This time around, though, Lombardo’s kitwork has replaced that of Mike Mangini and Dave Padden’s vocals have been swapped for Block’s, while über-engineer Mike Fraser has lent his formidable skills to the mixing desk.
Admittedly, the album isn’t a radical reworking of Metal.
Don’t expect Army Of One – a call to arms featuring Anvil’s Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow – to have been turned into a ballad.
Or the precision attack of Kicked – graced by Trivium guitarist Corey Beaulieu – to have been given a dubstep makeover.
But with Into Eternity/ex-Iced Earth frontman Block let loose on tracks like Clown Parade (featuring a certain Jeff Loomis), the temperature has been raised a few notches, that’s for sure.
Versatile, commanding and bearing more of a classic metal lilt than Padden, the Canadian is an astute choice for Metal II.
He gives it his all.
Waters puts his pedal to the Metal
Opener Chasing The High sees Annihilator’s founder squaring off against Lamb Of God’s Willie Adler.
That signature, rapidfire picking, a double kick assault from Lombardo, those twisting, Never, Neverland-era leads… it’s thrash heaven.
The crushing, Pantera-style groove of Downright Dominate is another highlight. Featuring the stellar fretwork of much missed Children Of Bodom founder Laiho, it’s a poignant moment… as is a sunshine soaked cover of Van Halen’s Romeo Delight.
Waters’ love of EVH is no secret. And with Annihilator’s mainman having all kinds of fun across his fretboard, you can’t help raise a glass to Eddie’s memory.
Is this album one for the Annihilator diehards?
Aspiring shredders will also lap it up.
But it’s also a reminder of the strength of the heavy metal community… and of Waters’ place at the heart of it.