Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Annihilator - Total Annihilation

0510 hours.  Near total darkness only broken when the low lying clouds part enough to allow a sliver of moonlight.  My combat team is currently reconnoitering any activity on the other side of the US/Canadian border from a fortified position located in Peace Arch State Park outside of Blaine, Washington.  Our mission is simple.  We are to prevent any incursion on US soil by enemy combatants intent on capturing the hearts and minds of our citizenry.  I lay my night vision goggles down to receive a new scouting report over my secure radio.

“Lieutenant Penfold, do you copy sir?”
“This is Penfold.  Did you see anything Sergeant?”
“No sir, it’s as quiet as a tomb out here.  I think we’re in the wrong spot.”
“Stow that talk Sergeant!  We know that they’re out there.  Keep on your toes.  They’ll make their presence felt soon enough.”
“Yes sir.”

Outside of my men themselves, two other battlefield monitoring systems were being utilized to ensure that we would not be taken by surprise.  Highly sensitive motion and noise detectors were staked out in a line along the border.  Also a predator drone circled in orbit high above our position ready to relay real-time visuals at a moments notice.  This is our turf, and we’re not giving it up without a fight.

Hold on a second.  You’re probably wondering what led to the deployment of troops along a previously peaceful border.  Understandable.  Exactly one week ago Intelligence discovered a download code included in a disturbingly titled email sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of unsuspecting Americans.  The email was ominously titled ‘Your Annihilation is Coming!’ and the included code provided access to a greatest hits package by the Canadian band Annihilator called Total Annihilation.  Upon listening to the contents of this music download, our highly trained intelligence specialists immediately understood the havoc these songs would wreak if let loose among this country’s metal loving population.  The President was briefed on the situation, the overall alert level was raised to Defcon 2, and my combat team was assembled and airlifted to the most likely combat zone; Washington state (the band calls neighboring Vancouver home).

Annihilator is a thrash metal band.  Wait, scratch that.  Annihilator is an exceptional thrash metal band.  When I first listened to Total Annihilation I was impressed by the variety of songs on offer.  While it is true that there were no ballads, indeed nothing even close (and would that really be appropriate for a band named Annihilator?), the song structures were different enough to easily tell the songs apart (something other thrash bands I’ve come across can’t claim).  More impressive however was the fact that I found myself fondly humming a couple of the tunes in my head after only two listens.  Yes sir, they certainly know how to churn out a memorable little ditty.

The album begins with two songs off of the band’s most recent album.  “The Trend” starts things off in the right way with an intricate instrumental introduction complete with ripping guitar solo that leads into the song proper.  “Ambush” on the other hand wastes no time before going for the jugular, with the band immediately hitting the hyper speed riffing button.  This song reminds of Slayer in all the right ways.  Other lightning fast songs such as “Battered”, “Ultra-Motion”, and “Ultraparanoia” that arrive later on in the compilation are guaranteed to give you whiplash with the fantastic guitar dexterity delivering all you can ask for in the notes per minute department.

If pure speed is not your thing however, fear not.  Annihilator also has a strong complement of songs that while also fast, don’t rely on that aspect to be memorable.  Take “Refresh the Demon” for instance.  Someone off the street would be forgiven if they thought they were listening to a lost Primus recording for the first thirty seconds before the thrash element kicks in.  “Back to the Palace” punctuates its modern thrash with passages that sound like they belong on a classic NWOBHM album.  Plumbing the same vein, “Second to None” at times sounds like an Iron Maiden recording.  “The Ritual”, perhaps my overall favorite song here, is built around the strongest groove on the album and features a fantastic sing-along chorus.

Look, I’ll be totally honest.  I’ve been listening to a lot of thrash metal recently, some of which quite frankly has been great.  Annihilator is the best band of the bunch, hands down.  Discovering bands like Annihilator that I was previously unaware of is the best and worst part of being associated with The Ripple Effect.  It’s the best in that I have found a new band I can be enthused about.  It’s the worst in that I am upset with myself for not knowing about this band till now.  Ah, well.  Time to order some albums.

0625 hours.  The light of dawn is just beginning to disseminate through the rural landscape.  Although the arrival of sunlight generally brings some measure of comfort with it, today was different.  An increasing sense of dread and paranoia falls over my team to go along with the increased visibility granted by the light.  At this point the message we were waiting for comes over the radio.  “Team Penfold, be advised.  The enemy is advancing on your position.  Estimate two minutes to first contact.”

One tense minute passes.  Something is very wrong.  The predator drone can not detect any incoming heat sources indicating an advancing human enemy.  A low din begins to build in the air.  My team and I see the tops of trees in the distance being ruffled as if by heavy vehicles brushing them aside while they pass.  Still no actual visuals and nothing from the drone feed.  The din grows louder.  What is happening?  Ear-piercing alarms begin going off on each and every detector.

“Lieutenant Penfold, what is this sir?  They should be right on top of us!”

Near panic sets in as I realize what is actually happening.  “Dear God, it’s riffs.  They’re attacking with a wall of riffs!?!?  Everybody get down!  Cover your ears!”

Unfortunately my orders did not reach everyone in time.  Too many good soldiers became Annihilator fans that day.  Too many.  If you think you can resist the allure of Total Annihilation, point your browser to http://www.earache.com/totalannihilation/ and download the album for free.  Good luck citizen.



-- Penfold



1 comment:

((( Headbang Here ))) said...

Band is sick! Pope, check out the Earache rerelease packages!

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