However, there is a hard core set of fans who remain devoted to the Canadian crew. And, they, as well as many more we hope, are set to be slayed by the latest release 'Suicide Society'.
Fans of classic thrash will suffer from neck ache when they play this album. Second track 'My Revenge' has echoes of 'Tallica's Whiplash: relentless riffing but also with a measured mid-section that slows down to offer an explanatory lyric and tight soloing.
And while the comparisons to thrash and later metal are obvious (at times Waters - back on lead vocal duties - sounds remarkably like Mustaine) it should be noted that this is the Canuck band's 15th studio album. They were there in the late 1980s and early 1990s when metal was allegedly being killed by dance, trance and grunge. It couldn't be killed.
That's not to say that Annihilator are just a one trick thrash pony. 'Snap' take the grunge template, does away with the over-blown angst and self reflection and turns it into a track about anger and rage about to be unleashed with melodic parts that will have even the most reluctant fan singing along.
Mike Harshaw has been in the band for four years, and he has real impact on this release. Waters always chooses the style of drumming he wants during pre-production as he has said in interviews with this site and others; using software to match styles to songs; but that means Harshaw has a challenge to interpret this. on 'Creeepin' Again' this is pulled off in remarkable fashion.
That track also showcases the real strength of this album. If you think of the likes of 'Escape' from 'Tallica's Ride the Lightning this album takes the thrash template, adds melodic choruses and then brings the whole sound kicking and screaming from the 1980s into 2015.
Album closer 'Every Minute' is the neo-classic thrash power ballad, with that subtle opening that is there to soften you up before the brutality is brought upon the listener.
On the surface it would be easy to take 'Suicide Society' as just 'another' release trying to regain the heady times when the burgeoning scene was taking metal and the mainstream in a drunken haze of aggression and angry teens; but the release is more than that...
This is a balanced exposition of metal performances and song writing; exemplary playing aside it is a cohesive release that should have heads nodding across the world.
Review by Jonny
Suicide Society is on UDR Music and is now available in all formats
Annihilator are today (September) embarking on a European tour with Aussie thrashers Harlot. They play Dublin tomorrow (October 1st) before a lengthy haul across the continent - make sure you catch this tour!