Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Annihilator - Live at the Islington Academy

Sunday night's are never really great are they so a night of pure classic Thrash was a no brainer really. I have seen Annihilator once before, quite a long time ago now. That was at the Underworld but this time they played the much larger Islington Academy although the venue was by no means full the crowd was pretty healthy for a Sunday night. Probably around the 400 mark or maybe a bit more. That in itself was quite good considering there was another thrash bill down in the Underworld with Xentrix playing with two other bands. To top off the competition Paradise Lost also played down the road. So metalheads had a lot of options for a Sunday that's for sure. I opted for the Canadian thrashers as the support band was Harlott whom I love and another band called Archer who I've never heard of.

So first up were the Aussies Harlott and their blistering brand of in your face thrash metal. Now on record they sound pretty damn intense but live it was just too much intensity than one can take. Plenty of Aussie chirpy Aussie banter from the stage though. Tee Wallabies knocked England out of the World Cup at Rugby so there was a bit of humour there to kick around. The music from the band was played at a frenetic pace and some of the riffing got lost in a blur of speed but the tightness of the band blew me away. I don't know how the singer remembers all the lyrics either they are spat forth with complete abandon. I was hoping to hear the song Civil Unrest from Proliferation but it wasn't to be but they opened with the title track and it was incendiary. A great warm up act for Annihilator indeed and the band deserves to be far bigger than they are.

Next up were a Cali band called Archer from Santa Cruz to be precise. I actually looked at their cd and talked to the merch guy and he tried to make a sale of their cd saying it was produced by the guy who produced Megadeth's stuff. I said well let's see if I like them live and if I did I promised I'd buy their cd on the way out. They came on as a three piece band led by a young looking dude who was obviously a huge fan of all things 'deth and he even looked like a young Dave with flowing golden mane etc. The band's music was pretty tight and clean melodic thrash metal with decent snarling vocals. The song writing maybe needs work but I was pretty impressed to be honest. They even threw in a cover of Tornado of Souls which was very cool indeed but I guess standing next to their own material made it sounded far superior to their own song writing abilities. Special mention for the bass player. The guy had a superb tone and a great finger playing style obviously influenced by Steve Harris. Archer were pretty good and as I promised I did actually buy their cd and shook hands with the singer on the way out.

At 9.15 or so the intro song to Annihilator's set started which happens to be Rock You Like a Hurricane which is a pretty cool way to get the crowd pumped up with a classic singalong anthem. Soon it ended and the band dove headlong into King of the Kill which is pretty stomping opener. Jeff sounded pretty good though his voice has no real quality to it live, it still sounds sharp and clear. Jeff even joked from the stage about being equal to Halford, Dickinson and Dio with a big smirk on his face!

Being the new album tour of course meant we'd be getting some cool new tunes such as Snap, the title track, Creepin' Again which all sounded very cool. One interesting fact little did I know that Rich Hinks from the UK prog metal band Aeon Zen actually plays bass for Annihilator. Quite odd but I guess it's cheaper to have a European based guy for a Euro tour. Both Jeff and the other guitarist were in shit hot form all night. Jeff's solos were a bit severe at times and I prefered the more melodic rendering of the other guitarist. The highlights of the night included Never, Neverland which was awesome, Brain Dance which was just bonkers and Phantasmagoria which was thrashtastic. Refresh the Demon is a song I've never liked but Jeff always plays it in Annihilaor sets. I'd have preferred another tune from Feast. The night of course ends with Alison Hell and gives the moshers one last chance to rock out to that classic set closer.

Annihilator are a fun band to watch live and Jeff's duck walking and guitar swinging acrobatics are quite cool to watch. I've never been the hugest Annhilator fan but I'd go see them live again in a heartbeat. I was gonna buy the album but it was too expensive and I'd already spent my dosh on the other two band's cds. Fun night overall and cool support. Made a good choice in not seeing those miserable Yorkshire bastards PL..hehe I've seen them enough!

1. King of the Kill
2. Snap
3. Suicide Society
4. Creepin' Again
5. No Way Out
6. Set The World On Fire
7. W.T.Y.D.
8. Never, Neverland
9. Tricks and Traps
10. Bliss
11. Second To None
12. Refresh the Demon
13. Drum Solo
14. Brain Dance
15. Phantasmagoria
16. Chicken and Corn/Kraf Dinner/21/Reduced to Ash
17. Alison Hell

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