Annihilator - Ballistic, Sadistic (2020)Release ID: 16382

Annihilator - Ballistic, Sadistic (2020) Cover
UnhinderedbyTalent UnhinderedbyTalent / March 14, 2021 / Comments 0 / 0

In 2020’s episode of “Who’s Doing Vocals on This Record Then?”, Jeff Waters again steps up to the microphone, alongside his regular guitar and bass gig. Having only Fabio Alessandri to accompany him in the studio on the drums, Ballistic, Sadistic feels like most Annihilator albums do, very generic and everything we have heard before.

My love for Annihilator (as if the above sentence were not indication enough) is limited to Never, Neverland. I never really clicked entirely with them beyond that, and time has not seen much in the way of change for the band. Arguably what is present on Ballistic, Sadistic is groovier than the blunter guitar sound of the debut or the sophomore, but it is nowhere near as consistent as their earlier material.

I think it is clear from my first real listen through of anything they have done in 30 years that Water’s six string abilities are by far the highlight of the band. Whether I like the content of the album overall or not, Jeff knows how to play and treats us to his full array of sonic wizardry and biting riffs on this album. Sadly, his vocal capabilities are limited and are often hit and miss across the ten the tracks on here. They range from suitably sneering to over the top and just cringey at times. I think it is fair to say that the guitar work more than rescues them on so many occasions but even this aspect to the album feels showy and at times unnecessary. There are times on the record when the vocal delivery sounds more hard rock/hair metal, such are the levels of cheese applied to them and this just diminishes the quality of an album that is already struggling even further.

I think the band does need some more members in the studio who would have some different ideas to bring to the table as opposed to just Jeff churning out average thrash metal with impressive lead work that often outstays its welcome. I can’t fault the energy levels, but I just don’t see any exceptional tracks for all the work that goes into it. For a hi-octane thrash metal album it feels like it goes on far too long.