Oh boy! This is the second time Annihilator played in Serbia. This year’s event was in Novi sad. The show before was in Belgrade in 2016. And just to make it clear, no, Annihilator didn’t play in Belgrade in 1991 as Jeff Waters said in the show, but Annihilator did play 2 concerts with Judas Priest and Pantera in Zagreb and Ljubljana, at the time when Yugoslavia was still around. Just a quick fact check… Anyways, this time, Canadian thrash metal veterans played at Novi Sad’s Sajam, Hala 6. The venue was a bit tricky to find, ‘cause nobody knew where it is. The band that supports Annihilator on this tour are California-based thrash metal youngsters Archer Nation. This trio was really on-spot and the crowd liked them. They delivered fresh sounding thrash tunes and the bangers were banging their heads during their whole set. Personally, as a huge thrash metal fan, the thing that caught my ear were the lead guitar parts. Those scales sound as something out of Rick Hunolt’s or Gary Holt’s hat of tricks (not all the time, but some leads). And yeah, Archer Nation has proven that thrash metal is still alive and well, and they represented Bay Area thrash from the sunny California in the best possible way. What I noticed is that their drummer was headbanging from the beginning ‘till the end of their set. Gotta give him credit for that! These guys are pretty enjoyable to listen to. Full of energy… a band that’s worthy enough to be playing before Annihilator.
Now, let’s recollect the meat & potatoes of the event. Freakin’ Annihilator… The moment the band entered the stage, you could see the raw energy of their music surging along with the energy of a crowd hungry for some thrash metal! If I’m correct the very first song that the band played as „Betrayed“. The second song was „King of the Kill“, one of those songs that the audience was craving for from the start. And boy, everybody had a blast! You could see how the audience is fired up for these classic thrash metal anthems. The fans sang the lyrics from beginning ‘till the end! And after „Оne to Kill“, Annihilator played another clasic from their opus – „Set the World Afire“. That one was so damn heavy! That open string riff made me headbang like as if there was no tomorrow! I thought that this would be the best moment of the show but I was wrong. Gotta love that machine-gun sounding open string riff! Then, the bend proceeded with „Ultraparanoia“, another thrashy song that kept the moshes rolling! And I almost forgot, the sound at the venue was AWESOME! You could actually hear very well what the band was playing all the time! And man, Jeff Waters is such a thrash giant! He’s, like, 50+ years old and he shreds that guitar like a beast after all these years…He is such a character. Jeff was pretty enthusiastic to play in front of a Serbian crowd once again. And he was laughing and making jokes all the time. Such a positive dude! Present day lineup of Annihilator works like a charm. These young guys stepped up to the challenge challenge and delivered a killer show!
Annihilator also played some newer stuff, to be more precise „The Trend“ and then out of the blue, made a razor sharp cut and started playing pure thrash metal madness: „Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part 1 & 2“ That was some major pounding I must tell! SCHIZOS ARE NEVER ALONE! It was all 80s once again! And I almost forgot, Jeff Waters’ vocals are so damn on-spot! He is one of a few musicians that can actually play rhythm, leads and sing. After that, the band’s drummer gave the rest of the band a break by playing a neat drum solo. And man, the band played one of their classics – “Knight Jumps Queen“ right after that. Didn’t see that coming! I must say the bass should have been louder, just like on the studio version but what the hell… Gotta love that song! One of Annihilator’s finest! What followed next was “Twisted Lobotomy”. A new, but thrashy as fuck song that raised some hell for sure! Then, Jeff Waters played a new song called Psycho Ward from the upcoming Sadistic, Ballistic album. Jeff Waters announced that the new album will be in vein of Alison Hell and Never, Neverland (which means back to the THRASH roots). He also stated that the band will be playing a 30th anniversary tour with Coburn Pharr on vocals. And that is a milestone no one should miss!
The very first riff that I wrote on my guitar (at the time when I could only write power chord-based riffs) was pretty much a rip off of THE BEST Annihilator song. And no, it’s not “Allison Hell”, it’s not “Set the World Afire”, but PHANTASMAGORIA! Jesus! That is one of the best thrash metal songs of all time! And it was written way back in 1986 which makes it even better! The band ANNIHILATED the place while playing it! This is easilly the best moment of the concert if you ask me! From that moment onward, the band was playing pure thrash metal songs that made old school fans go nuts! The last three songs of the set were dedicated to Randy Rampage, the late singer of Annihilator who sang on the band’s classic album – Alice in Hell. Jeff Waters shared some stories about Randy and said that he hated the song „Alison Hell“ because it was „too comercial“ for him. Waters also told the crowd that Randy’s favorite song was „Burn Like a Buzzsaw Blade“ because the song is all about sex. Who would tell that the band would be playing such a classic tune from the debut album? The last time Annihilator was in Belgrade, they played „Human Insecticide“, but „Burn Like A Buzzsaw Blade“? Kickass! After that, we got to hear another classic thrashterpiece – „W.T.Y.D.“ And that’s one of Jeff Waters’ best ones! Pure old school in your face thrash anthem! And of course, the last song on the concert was „Alison Hell“.
So, let’s make it perfectly clear: the band DESTROYED the place! The crowd was fired up as much as the band. And the attendance was pretty decent. It was packed! The only „bad“ thing about the concert is the light show. I mean, after every song, all the lights were turned off. It is cool if you do it once, or twice, but the light guy was doing it constantly. However, the lights on the stage were perfect for making photos and our photographer Bojana made some really killler shots! You can see the whole photo gallery here! To sum it up, Annihilator’s show in Novi Sad, Serbia was surreal thrash metal phantasmagoria you shouldn’t have missed!
Check out the whole Photo Gallery here!
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