Posts Tagged “Padden”

Alison Hell has apparently been thrust into the fashionable zombie age, judging by the gory chick clawing and gnawing on a heart in 3-D fashion for ANNIHILATOR‘s fourteenth album, “Feast”. At least Jeff Waters and company make the most of the moment, delivering a largely fast, well-entertaining ride.

Moving on past the ooh and ahh hologram cover spiffing up the ECO-book version to “Feast”, this album is by-and-large a serious ass-kicker. Stacked with heaps of thrash, killer shredding, smelted solos and superb drumming, “Feast” throws a few monkey wrenches into the scheme using the same exploratory spirit of “All For You” without dramatically altering the crunchy-yet-crisp feel of this record.

Kudos to Jeff Waters for keeping the criminally-overlooked Dave Padden on board all this time, especially now that his singer has of late been picking up rhythm guitar duties on the road. “Feast” was laid out with Waters fielding guitars and bass (Alberto Campuzano handles the latter outside of the studio), but it still feels more of a collaborative effort with Padden‘s trusty dynamics and fluid pounding from drummer Mike Harshaw.

Harshaw is terrific all over this album, as sharp as anyone Waters has corralled into the ANNIHILATOR compound. Harshaw has proven himself worthy of stepping onto Mike Mangini‘s pedals, laying down steady mosh and thrash pulses throughout “Demon Code” and “No Way Out”. He’s especially huge with his snub-nosed snare rolls on the shifty genre-collision of “No Surrender”.

“Feast” gets rowdy in a hurry with the thrashy “Deadlock” and “No Way Out”, while “Smear Campaign” alternates between mid-tempo power lines and stepped-up thrusts. “No Surrender” then presents one of the album’s curveballs, mingling some funky licks all over the verses ala LIVING COLOUR before walloping the song with massive metallic rivets on the choruses and bridges. Lifting “No Surrender” through a mosh-driven middle section and an out-of-nowhere gloom arc filled with the sounds of a presumed zombie attack, then a scorching solo from Waters, the left-of-center tinkering throughout “No Surrender” is flat-out weird. Yet it’s also a welcome sojourn back to the thrash-prog motifs of ANNIHILATOR‘s early years. Waters also loads “One Falls, Two Rise” at the end of the album with one of the busiest rounds of progression he’s ever attempted.

“Wrapped” struts out with dukes up on a mostly straightforward rawk jive that gets the benefit of some wicked top riffs and a fret-scratched solo. Then the murky anti-ballad “Perfect Angel Eyes” interrupts the headstrong chaos of “Feast”, keeping a strong slow pulse with a nifty bass loft and a subliminal static hiss lurking overtop the acoustic spiral of the song. After this point, “Feast” gets back on the gas with only a few noodlings scattered throughout “Demon Code” and the uppity “Fight the World” (which has a nifty slow fakeout intro before rumbling into speed mode) before the decorative signature swaps come all over “One Falls, Two Rise”. Padden‘s soaring vocals on “One Falls, Two Rise” hit new timbres on the opening verses than we normally hear out of him and they’re wonderful, even more so once the song blasts into a thrash arc and Padden dips into his trademark blend of clean-growl. The song takes a hundred directions from that point and Padden adjusts himself flawlessly as if by instinct.

The ECO-book version of “Feast” comes with the bonus disc “Re-Kill”, fifteen re-recordings from the back catalog, half culminated from ANNIHILATOR‘s celebrated couplet “Alison Hell” and “Never Neverland” and the rest spread throughout the non-Padden years. While the entire notion of heritage acts releasing bonus discs with redos has become passé, “Re-Kill” is harmless if perhaps a little insulting to Coburn Pharr and Randy Rampage. As much as it’s a joy listening to Dave Padden through ANNIHILATOR‘s last handful of studio albums, it’s more than enough for us to hear him take down “Alison Hell”, “Fun Palace” and “Word Salad” onstage. The man’s created his own legacy, modest though it may be, just like his benefactor, Jeff Waters.

That aside, “Feast” is still a hell of an enjoyable trip and Jeff Waters‘ enduring faith in Padden has paid off. From “Metal” to “Annihilator” and now “Feast”, Padden has forced Waters to raise his game, even if Padden sowed the seeds on “All for You” and “Schizo Deluxe”, two ANNIHILATOR albums that deserve more respect. “Feast” is a culmination of both of those albums while hearkening back to the early days in spots. All delivered with excellent production and a tasteful sense of style. The repeat and tweaked guitar intros to many of the cuts on the album reveals a return to songwriting fortitude in Waters‘ always-changing mindset. No need to gush about Waters‘ fret prowess on “Feast”. That comes as an automatic selling point. With much congratulations due, “Feast” is an album destined to keep a-rolling more than a few times simultaneously in your player.

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Raymond Westland of Ghost Cult Magazine recently conducted an interview with ANNIHILATOR mainman Jeff Waters. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Ghost Cult Magazine: “Feast” is a particularly inspired effort. Are you happy with it?

Waters: I certainly am. As an artist, you’re sometimes lucky when it all comes together, be it painting, singing or whatever. Sometimes you want to do something good and when you’re busy with it, you seem to hit the nail on the head. When you listen back, it doesn’t contain your best work. Sometimes it just works. Bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER and also we in ANNIHILATOR have great records and we have our share of not-so-good records. Different times, different places, you know. Maybe we were lucky with “Feast” and maybe we were inspired. A lot of it comes from that my partner in ANNIHILATOR, singer/guitarist Dave Padden, said that we should take a break for three years from writing music and focus on other things. We did a lot of touring, I worked in my studio, give guitar clinics for Gibson and Epiphone and we played the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, all these cool things. The break breathed a lot of new life in the ANNIHILATOR music and that’s probably where a lot of the inspiration came from. I’ve been writing music for the band since 1984.

Ghost Cult Magazine: With every ANNIHILATOR album, you take on many different roles, including the one of producer, mixer, main songwriter and guitarist. How do you prevent losing your mind?

Waters: That’s true, and the reason behind it is pretty simple. I have my own studio since 1994 and I got into gear, reading books from other producers and studio engineers, and as weird as it may sound, it turned into my hobby. It started out as something I had to do, because when metal music lost a lot of its commercial staying power back in the early Nineties, you had to start thinking about business just to survive. For most bands, it was already too late, but I was smart in the way that I invested in a house and my own studio. I produced all the ANNIHILATOR since 1994. I don’t particularly go nuts because I enjoy every aspect from the process, but there are some negatives as well. First of all, you get severe tendonitis because of all the guitar playing and spending so much time behind the computer. I had to deal with it six years ago and I luckily recovered from it. Another element is that’s hard for your ears to stay objective, because you’re listening to the same stuff over and over again for four months, and that’s where an outside producer or mixing engineer could certainly help. And thirdly, you really can get nuts because of the intensity of the whole process. [laughs] What I’m doing now is recording the albums and take a lot of breaks, you know taking a week off. The whole process becomes very efficient, because you have the get the same amount of work done in a smaller time frame. It keeps your brain and ears in good shape. Another aspect is that you’ll save a lot of money when you do everything yourself. It’s basic economics, really.

Ghost Cult Magazine: Dave Padden is your partner in everything ANNIHILATOR for quite some years now. How was your working relationship with him developed over the years?

Waters: When Dave came in 2004, he was just “another” singer. We had a lot of different singers and musicians in the band throughout the years. Looking back, every singer was good for the time they were in the band and without them things would have been much different. When Dave joined the band 10 years ago, things were different, because he was a guitar player and not really known as a singer. When he auditioned, I really liked the versatility of his voice, so I decided to give him a chance. I stuck with him and worked with him long enough to see him developing into a killer guitar player and singer live. He’s a very talented guy. He came from being scorned and criticized to becoming an integral part of some of our best albums. After four or five years, I realized he became more of a partner and I start phoning him to ask for his input on touring, equipment and endorsement deals. So we’re half a band nowadays; you get two out of four. [laughs]

Read the entire interview at Ghost Cult Magazine.

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Brazil’s Wikimetal podcast conducted an interview with guitarist Jeff Waters and vocalist/guitarist Dave Padden of Canadian thrash metal veterans ANNIHILATOR when the band played in Sao Paulo on June 2.

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Rockpages TV conducted an interview with Jeff Waters and Dave Padden of Canadian metallers ANNIHILATOR when the band played in Greece in November 2010.

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TERROR SYNDROME, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based band featuring THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND members Ryan Van Poederooyen (drums), Dave Young (guitar) and Mike Young (bass), along with ANNIHILATOR frontman Dave Padden, has written two new songs for the group’s forthcoming second album.

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AnnihilatorLive at Masters of Rock
2010 SPV/Steamhammer
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Welcome back, SPV!!!

Live documents are, for all intents and purposes, contract fillers. Yes, a true fan of an artist is going to want all the bootlegs and official live documents available…well, just because.

Some metal bands ride the live train harder than others, i.e. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ronnie James Dio, yet people are going to buy live recordings out of loyalty, but also because some bands are meant for the stage as much as they’re meant for the recording studio. Particularly in the video realm, you can nearly charge what you want if you’re that damned good onstage.

Had Jeff Waters kept his cool in the early years of Annihilator, there’s no telling how huge they might’ve become. They were on a hell of a roll in the beginning with Alice in Hell and Never Neverland. Of course, if you speak with Waters today (and this writer has twice, enjoying both conversations immensely), you’ll find a gentle guy who keeps the past to his back and veers towards an uncertain but optimistic future. It’s to the point Annihilator is coming forth with a new self-titled album later this month, a maneuver suggestive of a rebirthing process.

Fans and critics have torched the poor guy more than necessary in the 2000s, even if the 2007 Metal album was largely praised by the community. Criteria for a Black Widow, Carnival Diabolos, All for You and Schizo Deluxe have their share of rejecters as much as fans, yet the proof positive for Waters and particularly his saddle rider Dave Padden is past lessons are aced and Annihilator is as much a band today as they were in late eighties/early nineties.

Live at Masters of Rock is a combo DVD and CD pack, which is really the way to go in the modern age of music marketing. Used to be each were sold individually, but this is a hip trend which gives the buyer the best of both of worlds, particularly since the CD in this package doesn’t cheat by ommitting songs due to space constraints.

Expect a heavy lean of Alice in Hell and Never Neverland on this set as they dominate more than half of Live at Masters of Rock. What you’re craving is all there: “Fun Palace,” “Phantasmagoria,” “Wicked Mystic,” “I Am in Command,” “W.T.Y.D.” and of course Annihilator’s lauded masterpeice “Never Neverland.” Fielded vocally by Waters and Dave Padden, you really won’t miss Randy Rampage on “Alice in Hell,” no disrespect to the brother, who did leave an iconic imprint upon the entire Alice in Hell album. Annihilator’s back catalog is played deftly and Padden nails a smidge of Rampage’s falsetto shrieks on “Alice in Hell” without going over-the-top. Waters plucks a high-tweaked note to assist Padden on those choruses anyway, so the effect is right there.

Dave Padden’s been such a trusty helmsman for quite some time in Annihilator, and whether or not you like All for You, some of his most inventive and alluring chops are all over that album. Here on Live at Masters of Rock Padden also plays rhythm and shares solos with Waters and they’re magic together. Bassist Dave Sheldon and drummer Ryan Ahoff keep a tight rhythm themselves and you’ll marvel how relaxed Jeff Waters is because of the competence surrounding him.

Performed in the Czech Republic at the 2008 Masters of Rock festival, Annihilator pounds a sweaty set including “Shallow Grave” from Carnival Diabolos, the title tracks “Set the World On Fire” and “King of the Kill,” plus “Operation Annihilation” and “Clown Parade” from Metal.

By now most people are off Jeff Waters’ back about the past, which is fabulous, because he remains of the scene’s most charismatic-sounding guitarists (and he whips out a Tron-esque red neon guitar to further tantalize his audience) and Annihilator is playing like they have something to prove. Revolving doors or no, Waters and Padden are brothers in arms and Annihilator freaking rawks.

Rating: ****

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More-Metal.com conducted an interview with guitarist/mainman Jeff Waters and vocalist Dave Padden of Canadian thrashers ANNIHILATOR on April 6, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.

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Guitarist/vocalist Dave Padden of Canadian thrash metal veterans ANNIHILATOR recently answered a number of fan-submitted questions from the band’s official forum.

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