BravePicks 2020 - ANNIHILATOR's Ballistic, Sadistic #8
December 24, 2020, a year ago
If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December!
Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!
This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!
8) ANNIIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
Jeff Waters has been steering the Annihilator ship for over 35 years and with Alice In Hell and Never, Neverland being stone cold classics, Waters has always had to live up to those achievements, for better or worse. The barbaric Ballistic, Sadistic manages to live up to those high expectations and then some with a phenomenal release that has brought the band back to elite status. Waters finds himself more comfortable as a vocalist and the band delivers some of their meanest riffs to date.
An excerpt of a BraveWords feature: Being forced to postpone the 2018 European tour gave Waters the opportunity to build and nurture a new personal life, as well as rebuild Watersound Studios. All of this had a profound effect on how Ballistic, Sadistic turned out, although Waters didn't see it at first.
"Somebody said to me a while ago that this record ‘seems to have some inspiration to it.' I thought that was kind of weird and I wondered what he was trying to say. It sounds simple and stupid, but he tried to explain to me that the music sounds like there was a reason why I wanted to make this album as opposed to doing it as part of the (album / tour / album / tour) cycle. And he was right. There were certain Annihilator eras or years in the past where the album had to be done by a certain time because I had bills to pay. And when you have a label and distributors, there are deadlines that we have to follow. I think the inspiration for Ballistic, Sadistic came from moving over to the UK, figuring I could deal with everything... and there was one additional thing that was happening to the family from outside. Let's say there was someone from the past and in the present causing fear and stress to my wife and her kids, which eventually moved the target to me. I knew I didn't have anything to worry about, but some people are good at making people worry. I helped clean up the mess being fired into the family unit, all while I was trying to build the studio, have a new marriage, be a stepdad."
Which became the seed that spawned some of the most aggressive music to come out of Waters in years.
"You know why? It's a form of therapy for me. I was happy to get rid of the problem and the threat to my family, but music is a healthy way to get my aggressions out. I don't just go into the studio, do my parts and leave everything to the engineer and the producer. I'm involved in the making from start to finish, so there was always something to do for seven months, from writing to recording to photos to video shoots. Everybody has their stories of shitty things happening in their lives. I'm just able to write about it, and it came out of this new album. This is an honest form of music. I've had my hits and misses with songwriting like everyone does, but sometimes you get lucky."
BravePicks 2020 Top 30
8) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)
10) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
11) UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Abyss (Napalm)
12) BLACK STONE CHERRY - The Human Condition (Mascot)
13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)