ANNIHILATOR - For The Demented
November 7, 2017, a month ago
Getting the obvious question out of the way first.... no, For The Demented is not the long-awaited begged-and-pleaded-for follow-up to Alice In Hell and Never, Neverland, although there are a few points of light hinting at Annihilator's legendary glory days. If anything the album shares airspace with Refresh The Demon from 1996, which isn't a bad thing when one considers some of frontman Jeff Waters' less interesting outings over his 30 year (give or take) career.
For The Demented is a nine-song + one throwaway instrumental-ish piece romp featuring Waters exploring various facets of his long-shredding / suffering Annihilator personality. "Twisted Lobotomy", "Phantom Asylum" and "Altering The Altar" are the requested / required thrash-oriented tracks, "Pieces Of You" is Waters' best "ballad" since "Sounds Good To Me" from Set The World On Fire, and "For The Demented" is one of those acrobatic Annihilator guitar groove songs that guarantee a headbanging crowd on any given night. Folks that enjoyed the Refresh The Demon era will get off on the full throttle charge of "One To Kill" and the oddball spoken word bits on "The Demon You Know", the latter being too much like "Pastor Of Disaster" for my taste. Ironically - perhaps even intentionally given Waters' sense of humour - "The Way" is the album's rock song featuring the lines "I don't care what the people say / I'm gonna do it my own way" and also happens to be the weakest track on the record.
Give For The Demented a chance (meaning more than two half-an-ear listens) and you'll find it's full of great moments (Mustaine wishes he could write a song like "Twisted Lobotomy"). The one hurdle to overcome may be Waters' mid-range vocals, which comes across as lacking in places. One can't help but wonder what songs like "Altering The Altar", "Phantom Asylum", "One To Kill" or the title track would sound like with Dave Padden or Coburn Pharr behing the microphone.
Definitely a half dozen steps up from Suicide Society from 2015, but if we're being honest For The Demented would have been better as six-song EP, or held back a little longer for some meatier, juicier tunes to fill the holes.