Written by Alex Stojanovic
Chasing The High
Army Of One
Heavy Metal Maniac (Exciter cover)
Romeo Delight (Van Halen cover)
Release Date: February 18, 2022
Jeff Waters - Guitars & bass / Stu Block - Vocals / Dave Lombardo - Drums
According to Jeff, one of the reasons he went to do an updated version of Metal, was the fact that he felt the record lacked feel and creativity due to distractions between himself, Dave Padden and Mike Mangini, so he wanted to give the album a fresh take with new drum and vocal performances, which is where Lombardo and Block come into the picture, and remix the album in the process. Another reason why he is focused on revisiting the catalog is that he felt that Ballistic, Sadistic was Annihilator at it's peak, and he alluded to the idea of having that record be the swansong of new material in the recording history of the band. That all might be a bit difficult for the fans to fathom, but then again, who knows better about when a band is at its peak than the band themselves. Could that change? Sure, but we'll see.
As amazing as the original vocal performance from Dave Padden is, I think Stu's vocals push these songs to another level in terms of intensity. You can hear some similarities in the vocal style between the two, however Stu manages to hit the higher notes that Dave was never able to do. The same goes for the original drum performance of Mike Mangini. It's hard to compare Mangini and Lombardo, because they're both monsters in their own right. However, being a drummer myself, to give my take on the differences, Mangini seems more compositional and all his performances seem to be more thought out, which is incredible. Lombardo on the other hand, seems more raw and off-the-cuff, and I love both approaches. You can also hear slight differences and nuances when comparing the drum performances from the original and the updated versions, like some extra fills, cymbal hits and double-bass.
You will also notice that the song running order is different. Plus, "Operation Annihilation" from the original album was replaced by their cover of Van Halen's "Romeo Delight". Part of me wonders how Michael Amott from Arch Enemy feels about the song he guested on being the only one to be replaced. While we're on the subject of "Romeo Delight", Stu does one impeccable job at doing his best metalized David Lee Roth. Speaking of covers, the band's cover of Exciter's "Heavy Metal Maniac" is now included as part of the main track listing, since it was initially a Japanese bonus track on the original. On top of all that, the tracks that were recorded by the special guests are all in tact.
The decision to re-record an album is always something that causes divide amongst fans, depending on the both the band and the album. However, when you have Dave Lombardo and Stu Block playing on your record, it's something that peaks the interest of everyone, given their statures. The re-release of Metal as a re-recording is only the first serving of what's going to be a very interesting collection of re-releases from Annihilator. We'll see what the re-releases of the other albums have to offer. However, Metal II truly elevates the songs from the original album to greater heights with a renewed sense of passion that Jeff claims was missing the first time around. Also personally, for me as a fan, this gives me a chance to review an album that came out when I was in high school that has a fresh take on it.