Annihilator released a couple of quite good albums around 1990. Thrash metal that was quite technical, especially in the guitar parts. I never followed them much afterwards as they went more into groove metal style. During that time I never got to see them live, I did see them some time ago as a support act and they were quite good then. So I did want to check them out as a headliner. Unfortunately the tour they planned with the original singer Randy Rampage got postponed till this year as Randy passed away shortly before the start of the tour. So I drove to Alkmaar to see them. I had never been to this venue before, I think it is quite new still. And it was bigger than I expected for such a relatively small town.
One support slot was present in the form of Archer Nation from the USA. I had never heard of them and I missed half of it due to traffic delays. I didn’t think I missed much as the heavy metal they played wasn’t all that interesting. The guitar sound was quite thin, which made the bass and drum quite dominating in the sound. The vocals were quite generic. So the 15 minutes or so that I saw them was enough.
Then it was already time for the Canadians from Annihilator. Or at least the band was founded there as Jeff lives in the UK nowadays, the bass player is also English and the drummer is Italian. Nevertheless, most of the main set consisted of newer material, which is mostly a bit hit and miss. Half way through it got more interesting with Schizos are never Alone. Although Knight Jumps Queen is terrible, the very recent song Twisted Lobotomy is quite good, and fast. They played one new song from the forth coming album called Psycho Ward. Halfway through the song Jeff forgot his lyrics though. And they stopped the song, discussed what the lyrics were supposed to be and then restarted the song. Weird but it sort of worked. Anyway, Jeff was in a very good mood and having a lot of fun on stage. He made jokes in between and told some brief stories of the history of Annihilator, such as their tour with Pantera when they were still obscure, and the way Randy Rampage came to sing the album. The playing other that that was quite tight. The end of the set was more interesting with Phantasmagoria – which also had to be started over again now due to technical problems. And three more songs from Alice in Hell, Welcome to you Death, Burns Like a Buzzsaw Blade and the pseudo title-track Alison Hell. And it’s quite obvious that that material is far more inspired that most of the newer material. Anyway they promised to return next year with Coburn Pharr as a singer and playing entire Never Neverland album. That would be interesting. Anyway, a pretty solid gig, but some more early material would have been nice.