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Review: "Refresh the Demon" by Canadian Thrash Metal Band Annihilator

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Refresh the Demon shows that Annihilator is a special band

Canadian thrash metal legends Annihilator released their 5th studio album called Refresh the Demon. This album released in 1996 features the second album to have Jeff Waters behind the microphone. And he does a good job once again. The album was re-released in 2000 by CMC International with two-bonus tracks. These are The Box and Riff Raff. The Box is off of the band’s 1994 album called King of the Kill. Joining Jeff Waters on this album are Dave Scott Davis on guitar and Randy Black on drums. As we are now in 2020, this album is still one of the band’s most solid works even 24 years later. Annihilator had come off of a successful European tour for their album King of the Kill. Even though Waters himself said that his voice had been “fried” due to overwork, he and the band continue their mastery of terrific riffs and songwriting. For those fans of Annihilator that want to hear something heavy and hard hitting, they will love this album! Pantera please move over because you’ve got company! In fact, I will say that Annihilator is better than most American metal bands overall and I have heard enough of their albums to make this assessment. Annihilator was only getting stronger as a band when bands such as Pantera and Megadeth were declining. This album is heavy, melodic, and a rather enjoyable listen. It is the complete opposite kind of album compared to Set The World on Fire in 1993. I explained earlier why 1994 was one of the best years for Canada’s Annihilator and it would only get better for them even with the experimental album Remains in 1997. But here we go with Annihilator’s 5th album Refresh the Demon.

Refresh the Demon Songs List

  1. Refresh the Demon
  2. Syn Kill 1
  3. Awaken (short instrumental)
  4. Pastor of Disaster
  5. A Man Called Nothing
  6. Ultra-Paranoia
  7. City of Ice
  8. Anything for Money
  9. Hunger
  10. Voices and Victims
  11. Innocent Eyes
  12. The Box
  13. Riff Raff

Refresh the Demon Songs Refresh the Demon, Syn Kill 1 and Awaken

Right away with the start of the album you know this is going to be VERY heavy and hard hitting. The title track is a great upbeat metal song about fighting to rid the world of evil forces that may be surrounding us. The struggle is long, arduous, and stressful but each of us can make a difference if we really try to. "Syn Kill 1" is another very heavy song about someone that will go to great lengths to kill, steal, and rape others. This one has one of the best Annihilator riffs that I have heard and I hope you enjoy this song if you get a chance to hear it. "Awaken" is just a short track with some weird sounds leading into the next song called "Pastor of Disaster."

Refresh the Demon Alternate Album Cover

annihilator-refresh-the-demon-jeff-waters-behind-the-microphone-again-for-a-second-time-and-a-good-performance

The Songs Pastor of Disaster, A Man Called Nothing and Ultra Paranoia

This may be the heaviest song on the album and has terrific bass lines! "A Man Called Nothing" features an interesting dual guitar sound to start before getting heavy. Jeff Waters mentions in the album's booklet that the song is open to interpretation from the listener. The song also has some weird guitar sounds in it but the song is still pretty darn good! "Ultra-Paranoia" is about a person trying to get away from his troubled past. He knows that he is on the run and that if he is caught, he will be in big trouble.

"The Pastor of Disaster"

The Songs City of Ice and Anything for Money

As the second half of the album begins, we hear another good song called "City of Ice." The song is about someone who is fed up with the pace of city life. He is disillusioned because he realizes the big lie of moving into the city and being guaranteed of a better life. "Anything for Money" is just as the title implies. It is about a person that will do anything just to get as much money as he can. He will do all the things that an embezzler or a fraudulent person will do.


Favorite Annihilator album in the 1990's

A partial discography for the band Annihilator

Album TitleYear releasedMain (Lead Vocalist)

Alice in Hell

1989

Randy Rampage

Never Neverland

1990

Coburn Pharr

Set the World on Fire

1993

Aaron Randall

King of the Kill

1994

Jeff Waters

Refresh the Demon

1996

Jeff Waters

Remains

1997

Jeff Waters

"Hunger"

The Songs Hunger, Innocent Eyes, The Box and Riff Raff

"Hunger" is a good style blues song. "Innocent Eyes" is a ballad style song that Waters wrote for his son Alex when Alex was just a baby. This song is a good one for fathers around the world to listen to as the message is clear. This song is about a parent that will do anything for their child to make sure that their child will be protected and have a bright future. The album ends with a live performance of The Box and "Riff Raff," a song that is almost ten minutes long.

"The Box" (LIVE)

Final Thoughts About the Album Refresh the Demon

Other than the terrible song "Voices and Victims," Refresh The Demon is another very solid album from Canada’s best thrash metal band. This writer gives the album a solid 90 out of 100 points. Following the album would be Remains that has a kind of industrial sound to it and it is a good album. However, I would say that Refresh The Demon is superior to that one in terms of the songwriting and hence, that’s why I gave it a higher score.

Or is this one really better than Remains? It is a tough call because that one has the songs Never, Wind, Reaction, and Tricks and Traps which are excellent songs so it is tough to say which one of these two albums are better but thanks goes out to the band Annihilator for always finding a way to be awesome!

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

Comments

Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on August 28, 2018:

Good to know. Jeff Waters certainly deserves consideration for being one of the best heavy metal guitarists ever. The album that got me into this band is the one called Set the World On Fire. That one was a little bit more mainstream in the sound but it is still awesome. What is your favorite album by Annihilator?

Joey Smith from Atlanta on August 28, 2018:

Awesome. This is the album that introduced me to the band. Jeff Waters is still probably one of my favorite thrash guitarists!