Annihilator-All For You
AFM Records-AFM 4081-October 26, 2004
By Josh Phillips
All For You
is the 10th studio album from Annihilator
and my introduction to the band. On this release, two new members join the fold, Dave Padden on vocals and Mike Mangini on drums. Jeff Waters is the mastermind behind the band and on All For You
, he wrote every song personally to make sure he would be heard musically and lyrically.
Now, to move onto the music, I'll lay it on the table from the get go. This is an extremely frustrating album from the second it begins to the second it ends. So many highs and lows, a sporadic release that you will love one minute and absolutely despise the next. Annihilator
utilizes many different types of songs and styles, ranging from thrash to power to ballad to "nu" to what I would consider cheese metal. Just give a listen to "Demon Dance" and try not to ask yourself what this is and why it was ever recorded. New vocalist Dave Padden is as much of an enigma as the release itself, sounding incredible during the ballads and slower moments, which is what the band actually plays the best, and at other times sounding purely strange and out of place. Listen to "The One" for a great vocal performance and the aforementioned "Demon Dance" among others to find him at his worst. The music is a mixed bag, with soaring pieces that are just solid metal, to "horror metal" bits or nu-metal elements that just ruin a song. The title track is a great example of a mixing pot of sounds that in the end just comes out a big mess. I also usually put very little emphasis on lyrics, but what I can make out of these just had me laughing. (But I'm stronger and I got the balls, I ain't sticking around for it all.) The one major positive of the record as a whole is the bass performance, which undoubtedly shines through over the course of the release.
To highlight some of the best and worst songs, "The One" is perhaps the best track on the record, a pure ballad, surprisingly free from the cheesy elements that arrive whenever more aggression is thrown into the mix. "Bled", though not without its flaws, is another of the album's best songs with more groove and thrash oriented parts and a solid backing vocal performance. "Holding On" is another ballad in the vein of "The One" and confirms that the band should write nothing but this type of music. The first three songs are the worst, filled with the highest concentration of "horror/cheese" parts and lacking in the thrash/emotion department.
This release had me jamming along at some points and at other times just shaking my head wondering why they had to throw in these awkward cheesy moments and lyrics. "Both of Me" is a great example of a perplexing roller coaster of elements leading us on an 8 minute trek that reflects the album as a whole very well. This one is truly all over the place, which at times can be a good thing, but with this album just ends up being a little frustrating and something I won't find myself listening to very far into the future.
Official Annihilator Website
Official AFM Records Website