Annihilator – “Alice In Hell” (1989)

AnnihilatorAs you well know, the eighties gave birth to thrash metal.  Most of the thrash bands we now consider to be “classic” bands are from the eighties.  Arguably, the last truly “classic” thrash band to arrive before the sun set on The Magically Delicious Decade of Metal (and yes, I just made that up) was Annihilator– a band led by Canadian guitarist Jeff Waters.  Annihilator’s debut Alice In Hell appeared on Roadrunner Records in 1989.

Jeff Waters, it’s fair to say was a RIFF MACHINE!  Known for his incredibly precise playing, Waters put on a technical clinic here, sure to impress anyone with a working pair of ear holes.  Water’s choice for a vocalist was the wonderfully psychotic (and possibly drunk) Randy Rampage.  A great choice (IMO) because Randy’s rabid, off-the-chain vocals were a great counterpoint to Water’s highly disciplined, militant guitar style.  Tremendous cuts include the maniacal Alison Hell and the phenomenal Word Salad.  My personal favorite track (and one of my ten favorite thrash tunes EVER) is the album’s crushing finale Human Insecticide!  Waters’ riffage is just insane here, as is the bass playing (also by Waters I believe), and ol’ Randy Rampage sounds ridiculously deranged on this face melting thrashterpiece!  (Check it out here!)  I also should mention another cool song called Burns Like A Buzzsaw Blade because, coincidentally, that is what I say every time I urinate.  (I’m sure I’ll be fine.)  My score: A-


8 thoughts on “Annihilator – “Alice In Hell” (1989)

  1. Jeff Water is hands down one of the most under-rated or could it be unknown shredmeisters in Speed/Thrash/Heavy metal. I like him to Ted Nugent. He loves himself to death and can only be happy if he is switching people in and out of the band at neck break speed. Waters has alwasy been an RMEOF1; Uncle Ted would be proud. Check out his 2nd release Never, Neverland, many gems on this sophmore release. If you are savvy enough you’ll get your hands on a copy of his first Demo release Phantasmagoria. A rough little cassette, but it will shred some light on what was to come. It’s also included on a best of called Bag of Tricks. I was forturnate enough back in 86′ to be on the press release list to get this little gem along with all the press release goodies. Coburn Pharr drop kicks Randy Rampage IMO. Welcome to the fun palace. I’ve always found Jeff’s Albums should have started off with the last song first , just a random thought. He also found some humor in writing a little diddie on Kraft Mac’N cheese. It is the cheesey’ist.

  2. I’m not a huge thrash fan but this album is incredible and Jeff Waters is a MOTHERFUCKER! Ridiculously good guitar player AND songwriter! Makes you wonder why it took so long for him to get signed since the Annihilator demos were well circulated in underground circles at the time.

    And, yes, this is possibly the last great thrash album of the 80’s – and there wasn’t much after this into the early 90’s that was on par with the classics, with the possible exception of Megadeth’s – Rust In Peace’, Coroner – ‘No More Color’ and ‘Metal Vortex’ (which you should investigate if you like progressive thrash with great guitar playing), Forbidden’s ‘Distortion’ and a couple of others.

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