This Canadian thrash metal band is about to celebrate their 25th anniversary --- they came into being in 1989 --- and the aptly-titled 2-CD Feast set offers fans something new as well as a full disc of re-recorded favorites from throughout the band's career. Clearly influenced by their predecessors Metallica, Feast begins with "Deadlock," a speedy thrash number where the band channels Metallica right down to singer David Padden's mimicking of James Hetfield's gruff sing-song vocal delivery. But Annihilator are not anybody's clones; "Wrapped" is a modern, radio-ready hard rocker flavored with shades of '70s (and fellow Canuck) hard rock act Mahogany Rush, "Perfect Angel Eyes" is an atypical soft rocker featuring acoustic guitar and fluid harmony vocals and "Fight the World" begins with over a minute of prog-metal before exploding into a pounding thrash-happy number where guitarist Jeff Waters grinds away between melodic Satriani-like flourishes. Fans new to the Annihilator camp can get acquainted with some of the best of the band's back catalog through the Re-Kill bonus disc that includes new versions of "Fun Palace," "Never, Neverland" and "Stonewall" from second album Never, Neverland along with 11 other cuts. This UDR Records version of Feast comes in a book-style package with a lenticular cover.
Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness
It's been five years since Ephel Duath has popped with new material but fans will no doubt agree that Hemmed By Light, Shaped By Darkness makes the wait worthwhile. The four-piece is ostensibly a death metal act but that descriptor comes primarily from the fact that lead singer Karyn Crisis growls out her vocals in a somewhat tortured manner; musically though Ephel Duath work in a melodic prog-metal vein. And it's not like the band is without prog credentials; bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann have both spent time in Joe Satriani's band. So while the music beds don't sound particularly ominous Crisis drenches every song in bloody doom, even when singing about spiritual concerns, which she does here often. The two songs that give the album its name close this impressive outing; "Hemmed By Light" is a subdued two-minute instrumental while "Shaped By Darkness" is a long death prog tour de force.
Trash the Brand
This Tennessee-based three-piece has the rock charts squarely in their sites, aiming for the Top 10 with the Hollywood-style sleaze rock of "Social Call," the Guns N' Roses-influenced "Bad Bad Boy" and a few softer ballads like "1000 Songs." The guys also dig the blues and work the earthy tones into several songs including "Larry and the Blue Dog (Devil's Ride)" and "Damn Sho Talk About You." All the influences come together nicely on album highlight "Souls on My Shoes."
Several members of Roses Unread are credited with supplying "screams" and their music has a heavy, thumping bottom end but lead vocalist Allison Teague Purifoy has a pretty, melodic voice that makes songs like "Dislocate," the Pat Benatar-like "Just Like Me" and the vulnerability-soaked "Set You Free" simultaneously perfect for rock radio while sounding nothing like anything else on the airwaves at the moment.