Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
About the Album Ballistic, Sadistic and the Musical Style
Canada’s most premier thrash metal band Annihilator is back once again with a brand new album, this one called Ballistic, Sadistic and this one is the band’s 17th studio release. It is also an album that has Jeff Waters doing lead vocals, playing guitar, and the bass guitar. Joining Jeff Waters in the lineup for this album is Italian drummer Fabio Alessandrini who is 27 years old. I guess Waters wanted to have more of an international lineup to make it a little more diverse. Ballistic, Sadistic was released on January 24, 2020 just before Jeff Waters turned 54 years old. The guitar sound is rough, aggressive, fresh, and modern at the same time. Guitarist Aaron Homma provides lead guitar help on the song “Out With the Garbage.” The riffing is, well super-fast as the lyrics might as well be about trying to get rid of what has been an extremely toxic relationship and getting a fresh start. We can win and be successful without a person who does not value our self-worth.
"I Am Warfare"
At the initial listen to this new musical effort by Annihilator I had a feeling it was going to be good and it most definitely is. The thrash metal feel that Annihilator has been known for throughout most of their career is still present on the album and that should be a sigh of relief for the band’s older fans. I’m sure Jeff’s son Alex is going to enjoy this if he hasn’t already. The bass parts are well placed as the song “Dressed Up for Evil” switches from heavy to softer for a brief moment and then having melodic parts mixed in. In spite of the album’s title, there really isn’t something evil about this release but it isn’t too much different in terms of its style compared to the band’s newer albums such as Feast or Schizo Deluxe. In North America, Annihilator is on top of the list in terms of thrash metal along with Testament and Metallica.
Jeff Waters Deserves Much Credit for Making This New Album Possible
Jeff Waters is part of a very exclusive list of musicians that were born in the 1960s that are slowly but surely aging but for his part, Jeff is still rocking and rolling at the age of 54. Waters is like that baseball pitcher that knows that he can confidently pitch and throw his most quality pitches and still get the hitters out. Being born in February 1966, Waters is the only constant member of Annihilator and he has managed to create quite a career for himself in spite of the alcoholism issues that he has had and having been divorced before. Waters is one of the most resilient metal musicians out there along with James Hetfield of Metallica and Chuck Billy of Testament.
Ballistic, Sadistic was released almost 30 years after the band’s album Never Neverland which I have long maintained may be their best album in terms of the songs but this new effort isn’t too bad either.
Is Ballistic, Sadistic as good musically as Never Neverland? That is a really tough question to answer because that is really tough to top even if the production on this album is superior to that one.
Final Thoughts About the Album Ballistic, Sadistic
In terms of the melody, it is modern and there is an Iron Maiden influence in the song called “Lip Service.” The song is similar to the song "Knight Jumps Queen" and "Pastor of Disaster." The beginning riffing and bass line is similar to Knight Jumps Queen of you listen closely enough and you can hear it for yourself. In terms of the overall listenability if there is such a word, Ballistic, Sadistic is one of those albums that definitely fits into that category. The album definitely has that metal attitude in it and there is a song called “The Attitude” which is lyrically about someone who is really arrogant and has the potential to drag others down with him. The only con to the song is the amount of profanity that is in it but I guess Jeff Waters wanted to show the world that he still has that attitude in him that he is still very much in favor of playing fast thrash metal even in his 50s. “I Am Warfare” is a song that is about the fact that humans have been at war with each other since the dawn of time as disease is rampant in the world. It is a rather interesting thing that there is a song such as this one in the era of the current global pandemic. I don’t know for sure if Jeff Waters thought that there was going to be such a global pandemic that would have struck the world like it has. Nonetheless, the album ends with a blazing fast song called “The End of the Lie.” It is only fitting for Jeff Waters to do this as he has always done that such as the time when he ended the Carnival Diablos album with the song “Hunter Killer.” Tyrants who live their lives with lies and deception have to repent for their sins otherwise the people will rise up and take them down. Jeff Waters has seen that even in 2020 it is still possible to create quality thrash metal even with the kind of year that the world has experienced.
"Out With the Garbage"
"The End of the Lie"
© 2020 Ara Vahanian