Annihilator (band)

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Annihilator Rockharz 2016 09.jpg
Annihilator at Rockharz Open Air 2016 in Germany. From left to right: Rich Hinks, Jeff Waters, and Aaron Homma.
Background information
Origin Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Years active1984–present
Associated acts
Members Jeff Waters
Aaron Homma
Rich Hinks
Fabio Alessandrini
Past members John Bates
Randy Rampage
Ray Hartmann
Coburn Pharr
Dave Scott Davis
Wayne Darley
Neil Goldberg
Mike Mangini
Aaron Randall
Randy Black
Joe Comeau
Dave Padden
Tony Chappelle
Ryan Ahoff
Mike Harshaw

Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by guitarist Jeff Waters and vocalist John Bates. They are the highest-selling thrash metal group from Canada in Canadian history, having sold more than three million albums worldwide, [1] although most of their sales have been generated outside the band's home country. Along with Sacrifice, Voivod and Razor, Annihilator is credited as one of the "Big 4" of Canadian thrash metal. [2] [3] [4]

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Jeff Waters Canadian musician

Jeff Waters is a Canadian guitarist and founder of the metal band Annihilator. He was born and resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Waters has owned Watersound Studios Inc. since 1994 and from 2003 until 2018, in Ottawa, Ontario, and now in the U.K.

Big John Bates Canadian musician

Big John Bates is a guitarist/vocalist known for his metal roots, Americana Noir guitar style and a long association with Gretsch guitars. His current group is the Big John Bates: Noirchestra - dark rock with roots and prog elements - whose dramatic performances and atmospheric sound have been described as "relentless, film noir-inspired, Dracula-awaking grooves". After hearing their first EP, 2012's "Headless Fowl", Jello Biafra stated the band was "extremely cool" and included the band in his Alternative Tentacles catalog.


Since its inception, Annihilator has released sixteen studio albums and has undergone many line-up changes. Waters is the only remaining original member left in the band, and usually assembles touring or session musicians to perform with him. Annihilator's first two studio albums— Alice in Hell (1989) and Never, Neverland (1990)—are considered to be influential Canadian heavy metal records. [5] Many of their later albums—including their third, and only major-label, album Set the World on Fire (1993)—also received high praise from critics, and enjoyed some success in Europe and Japan. [6] [7] Their recent studio album, For the Demented , was released on November 3, 2017. [8]

<i>Alice in Hell</i> 1989 studio album by Annihilator

Alice in Hell is the debut studio album by Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator, released on April 17, 1989 by Roadrunner Records. This album has sold over 1,250,000 copies worldwide.

<i>Never, Neverland</i> 1990 studio album by Annihilator

Never, Neverland is the second album by heavy metal band Annihilator. It was released on September 12, 1990 under the label Roadrunner. The album was re-released twice: 1998 with 3 demo tracks as bonus tracks and again on September 9, 2003 in a two-disc compilation set along with Alice in Hell, entitled Alice in Hell/Never Neverland.

<i>Set the World on Fire</i> (Annihilator album) 1993 studio album by Annihilator

Set the World on Fire is the third studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Annihilator, released on August 24, 1993 by Roadrunner and Epic Records. The album received mixed reviews, toning down the speed and thrash elements of 'Alice in Hell' and 'Never, Neverland'; in favour of a more radio friendly, hard rock sound. The title track, 'Knight Jumps Queen' and 'Brain Dance' are still setlist regulars - becoming fan favourites soon after the release of the album. The album was successful in Europe and Asia but failed to break America - leading to the band being dropped from Roadrunner in 1993. Bassist Wayne Darley left the band shortly after, as he was not able to enter Japan on tour in support of the album.


Early career (1984–1988)

Singer and guitarist Jeff Waters, who formed Annihilator in 1984, at Rockharz Open Air 2016 in Germany. Annihilator Rockharz 2016 21.jpg
Singer and guitarist Jeff Waters, who formed Annihilator in 1984, at Rockharz Open Air 2016 in Germany.

Annihilator was formed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada by Jeff Waters in 1984. Waters later wrote on his Facebook page that he named the band after the tank that Eddie Murphy's character rode on in the 1984 film Best Defense .[ citation needed ] Waters wrote and recorded the song Annihilator (not to be confused with the song of the same name released on the 1994 album, King of the Kill ) with singer John Bates. This original version of "Annihilator" was released on the special edition of the 2005 album Schizo Deluxe .

Ottawa Federal capital city in Ontario, Canada

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec; the two form the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 934,243 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth-largest city and the fifth-largest CMA in Canada. In June 2019, the City of Ottawa estimated it had surpassed a population of 1,000,000.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Eddie Murphy American stand-up comedian and actor

Edward Regan Murphy is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

Waters and Bates then recruited drummer Paul Malek and bassist Dave Scott. This lineup lasted a year, producing a demo titled "Welcome To Your Death" during their time together. The demo received worldwide recognition and became highly sought after. After John Bates and Dave Scott left the band before its release, citing "artistic differences" and "personality conflicts", Jeff Waters and drummer Paul Malek recorded another successful demo titled Phantasmagoria in 1986. This was said to be the third most-traded metal cassette tape in the 1980s, behind Metallica and Megadeth's demo tapes. Some songs written at this time, by Jeff Waters and John Bates, ended up on Annihilator's first two official studio albums (Alice In Hell and Never, Neverland).

Drummer percussionist who creates and accompanies music using drums

A drummer is a percussionist who creates music using drums.

Bassist musician who plays a bass instrument

A bassist or bass player, is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass has been the standard bass instrument for funk, R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most genres of jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.

A third demo was recorded by Waters and Malek in 1987 and was sent only to labels. It included more songs that would end up on the first two Annihilator studio albums. Waters relocated to Vancouver in 1987, where he assembled an entire line-up, including drummer Ray Hartmann and former D.O.A. bassist Randy Rampage on vocals. In 1988 and 1989, Waters was in and out of a recording studio recording guitar and bass tracks and producing what would become the band's debut album. Once the album was finished, he hired bassist Wayne Darley and guitarist Anthony Greenham.

Vancouver City in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city, up from 603,502 in 2011. The Greater Vancouver area had a population of 2,463,431 in 2016, making it the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre, which makes it the fifth-most densely populated city with over 250,000 residents in North America behind New York City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, and Mexico City according to the 2011 census. Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada according to that census; 52% of its residents have a first language other than English. Roughly 30% of the city's inhabitants are of Chinese heritage. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city.

D.O.A. (band) Canadian hardcore punk band

D.O.A. is a Canadian punk rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia. They are often referred to as the "founders" of hardcore punk along with Black Flag, Bad Brains, Angry Samoans, the Germs, Negative Trend, and Middle Class. Their second album Hardcore '81 was thought by many to have been the first actual reference to the second wave of the American punk sound as hardcore.

Randy Rampage Canadian singer

Randall Desmond Archibald, better known by stage name Randy Rampage, was a Canadian musician and founding member, bass player and vocalist of the Canadian hardcore band D.O.A., along with Joe Keithley and Chuck Biscuits. They are often referred to as the "founders" of hardcore punk along with Black Flag, Bad Brains, Angry Samoans, the Germs, Negative Trend, and Middle Class. Their second album Hardcore '81 was thought by many to have been the first actual reference to the second wave of the American punk sound as hardcore. Hardcore 81 included a fourth member of the lineup Dave Gregg.

Rise to fame (1989–1993)

Annihilator gained more recognition in the metal community with the release of their debut album, Alice in Hell , in 1989. They embarked on their first world tour, opening up for Onslaught in Europe on their In Search of Sanity tour, and along with Wrathchild America, they supported Testament in the United States and Canada on the latter's Practice What You Preach tour, after which singer Randy Rampage quit the band to retain his seniority at a job on the shipping docks in North Vancouver.

Onslaught (band) band

Onslaught are an English thrash metal band from Bristol, England. Initially active from 1982 to 1991, they reformed in 2005. The band initially drew influence from second wave hardcore punk bands such as Discharge and The Exploited, and then adopted a straightforward thrash metal sound. To date, Onslaught have released six studio albums, one compilation, four singles and two live recordings: a live album and a live DVD.

<i>In Search of Sanity</i> 1989 studio album by Onslaught

In Search of Sanity is the third studio album by English thrash metal band Onslaught, released in 1989. This album was originally recorded with Sy Keeler, but London Records were not impressed with the final product from a commercial point of view and enforced a re-mix and a complete re-recording of the vocals by Grim Reaper frontman Steve Grimmett, being the only album featuring him. It features their longest song to date "Welcome to Dying". The album contains a more polished sound than previous Onslaught albums, meeting mixed reviews by their fans. Despite this, In Search of Sanity was moderately successful, peaking at #46 on the UK charts while the single "Let There Be Rock" peaked at #50 in that country. It was also Onslaught's last album before disbanding in 1991, only to reform in 2004 and the release of their fourth album Killing Peace in 2007.

Wrathchild America is an American heavy metal band formed in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1978. Before settling on the Wrathchild America name in 1988, the band had performed under the names Atlantis, Tyrant, and Wrathchild. They released two studio albums through Atlantic Records, and gained charting success through the Billboard 200. In 1992, they changed their name to Souls at Zero. The band is also notable for including one-time Kix member Brad Divens, and a then-unknown Shannon Larkin, who went on to become the drummer for many bands such as Ugly Kid Joe, Candlebox, and Godsmack.

Without a singer, Jeff Waters found ex-Omen singer Coburn Pharr and the band released their second album, Never, Neverland , in 1990. The album's sales surpassed Alice in Hell, becoming the band's only album to chart in the UK at No. 48. After opening up for Judas Priest, and then little-known Pantera and headlining tours around the world, Hartmann and Pharr left the band and were replaced by Mike Mangini (though the band would find a more permanent replacement in Randy Black) and Aaron Randall, respectively. The band was signed to Sony USA by this point.

The band's third studio album, Set the World on Fire , distributed by Epic Records, was released in 1993 and was successful in Europe and Asia, but did poorly in the United States. Bassist Wayne Darley had to leave the band in August 1993 as he was unable to enter Japan, where the band was touring in support of the album. Annihilator was among the many metal bands dropped by Roadrunner Records (and most other labels) that year.

Brief hiatus and later years (1994–1998)

Annihilator temporarily dissolved, but Jeff Waters kept the band name going when he, along with drummer Randy Black, recorded and released King of the Kill in 1994. This album was more of a solo album for Waters, as it featured himself performing all instruments and writing most of the album's material apart from playing the drum tracks, which were recorded by Randy Black. Bassist Cam Dixon later joined the band followed by Lou Bujdoso from Meatwagon who went on to tour and perform during the King of the Kill and Refresh the Demon tours. Jeff Waters continued performing lead vocals until 1997. The band released Refresh the Demon , which was, for the most part, a return to the speed and technicality of the band's earlier days, in 1996 and Remains , a more industrial metal-oriented album which turned out to be the biggest flop of the band's career, in 1997.

By the time Remains was being recorded, Waters was the sole remaining band member. The album featured an electric drum machine (programmed by Jeff Waters, of course) and there was no tour in support of it. At the time of its recording, Waters was going through a rough divorce and a custody battle for his children which helped lead to Annihilator's hiatus.

Reunion with Randy Rampage and Joe Comeau era (1999–2002)

Inspired after seeing Slayer perform in Vancouver in the summer of 1998, Waters decided to reunite the Alice in Hell line-up to record another album. All members apart from Wayne Darley, who had health problems, agreed to reunite. Bassist Russ Bergquist joined the band in Darley's place. This lineup released Criteria for a Black Widow and toured successfully. However, Rampage was fired following the tour for his erratic and often drunken behaviour. Then-Overkill guitarist and former Liege Lord frontman Joe Comeau requested to replace him during the tour, while Curran Murphy replaced Davis on guitar and Randy Black rejoined on drums.

During the early 2000s, Annihilator released the albums Carnival Diablos (2001) and Waking the Fury (2002), both triumphant thrash metal masterpieces. After considerable success, the band's lineup once again dissolved.

The Dave Padden era (2003–2013)

Following years of line-up changes, Jeff Waters decided to work with a touring-only lineup so he recruited Dave Padden as a permanent vocalist/rhythm guitarist, while Waters recruited touring bassists and drummers. Annihilator's first two albums in this three-man band format as Waters played both bass and guitar, with Padden on vocals and a hired drummer were All for You (2004) and Schizo Deluxe (2005). Mike Mangini rejoined for the former album in 2004 and Tony Chappelle was hired for the latter's recording in 2005.

In 2007, Annihilator released their twelfth album Metal . It features several guest performers, such as Corey Beaulieu (Trivium), Willie Adler (Lamb of God) and Jeff Loomis (Nevermore). The band's self-titled thirteenth album was released in 2010, coming to be in a more modern thrash metal-styled sound.

Annihilator returned to Canada for two live shows, making it the first time since 1993 that the band had played live in North America. On July 10, 2011, Annihilator headlined the Quebec City Imperial Theatre to a sold-out crowd. They played the main stage (along with KISS and Motörhead) on July 24, 2011 at Montreal's Heavy MTL Festival.

Annihilator released their fourteenth studio album entitled Feast on 23 August 2013. [1]

Departure of Dave Padden and Suicide Society (2014–2016)

In the summer of 2014, Oscar Rangel replaced Al Campuzano, their bassist since 2010. Jeff Waters said on his Facebook that he had actually contacted Wayne Darley, the band's bassist from the classic early 1990s lineup, about having him rejoin, although once again he declined, in Jeff's words "Wayne wanted to do it but couldn't ... personal reasons." The band has continued their touring cycle since then.

Dave Padden left the band sometime in December 2014 via a phone call to Jeff Waters, informing him of his desire to step away from the constant touring in order to spend more time with his family. Waters unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Padden to remain in the band, offering him a pay rise. He later admitted in a German radio interview to being emotionally shaken by the departure. After a number of weeks searching for a replacement vocalist, Waters decided that he would handle vocals himself once again, in addition to doing everything but play drums in the studio. Padden's departure was not made public until six months later, in June 2015, when Waters made an announcement on Annihilator's Facebook page, but attaching a YouTube link directly below of audio snippets from various songs on the band's then-upcoming album, Suicide Society .

Never, Neverland singer, Coburn Pharr surprised audiences when he returned for a short time on 70000 Tons of Metal concert in January 2015. Pharr performed the songs Reduced to Ash, The Fun Palace, I Am In Command, Road to Ruin and Stonewall.

By April 2015, Annihilator had begun work on their fifteenth studio album. Waters stated that the album's musical direction would be "something quite different." [9] The album, titled Suicide Society , was released on September 18, 2015. [10]

Drummer Mike Harshaw announced via his Facebook page in May 2016 that he had parted ways with Annihilator amicably after four years in order to spend more time with his family as well as to pursue other musical interests as he continued work with his own band, Prismind. Fabio Alessandrini joined Annihilator shortly thereafter.

In September 2016, Annihilator played Calgary Metalfest alongside fellow Canadian speed/thrash metal pioneers Exciter, Razor, Sacrifice and a local band Gatekrashör.

In late November 2016, the band announced a compilation album, entitled Triple Threat, which was released through UDR Records on January 27, 2017. The album consists of three discs, including one containing Annihilator's Jeff Waters, Aaron Homma, and Rich Hinks along with other artists playing an acoustic set of the band's most well-known ballads and acoustic songs, all done in single takes. The second and third discs were released as Blu-Ray DVDs, one containing Annihilator's full set at Bang Your Head Festival in Germany, and the other containing a documentary profiling the band's extensive career. [11] [12]

For the Demented and next album (2017–present)

By the end of 2016, Annihilator had begun working on their sixteenth studio album. Waters stated, "On the next one, the changes I'm gonna make… I only said two things. I've got all these people telling me, 'You've gotta go back to this album,' or that album, or that album, or that album. 'You've gotta do this,' 'You've gotta do that.' So what I do is I block it out. But I've decided that I'm going to not worry about catchy, commercial choruses — 'commercial,' as in you remember it, where you intentionally make that chorus the most important part of the song and you want people to remember that one every time. That kind of is the opposite of what I used to do in the earlier days. In the earlier days, I would go, 'I don't care about the chorus being the main part; I want the whole song to be cool.' So therefore the choruses were not as commercial or catchy. And they remained heavy back then; the choruses would end up being heavy. Whereas on my Suicide Society record I just did, you could have a heavy song, but then you hit the chorus and you go, 'Woah, that's pretty mainstream stuff in the choruses.' And the other thing was, since I'm such a fan of so many bands, I let myself go a little bit on the last album with being too blatantly obvious with my influences and my musical loves as a fan. So you really heard a song that had a lot of the Master of Puppets era of music from Metallica, and you really heard a Megadeth-y song on there, and you really heard in my vocals some Hetfield and Mustaine-isms. And I think that was great, as a fan, to get it out, but I think I need to do more of my own thing on the next record." [13]

In February 2017, Jeff Waters said that the sixteenth Annihilator studio album was being co-produced and co-engineered by bassist Rich Hinks, making it the "first time I've actually had somebody else in the studio since 1990 (Never, Neverland) working with me on stuff." [14] On September 12, 2017, it was announced that the album, now titled For the Demented , would be released on November 3; [8] more details on the album, including track listing and artwork, and the music video for "Twisted Lobotomy" were released on the same day. [15] In support of For the Demented, Annihilator (along with Death Angel) opened for Testament on the European Brotherhood of the Snake tour, which took place in November and December 2017. [16] The band toured Europe twice in 2018; first with Testament and Vader in March and April, [17] [18] and toured there again from October to December. [19]

On August 14, 2018, former Annihilator vocalist Randy Rampage (who sang on the albums Alice in Hell and Criteria for a Black Widow ) died of an apparent heart attack, at the age of 58. [20] [21]

In September 2018, Waters reported that Annihilator will release their seventeenth studio album in 2019. [22]



Annihilator (band)


See also

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Annihilator discography

The following is the discography of Annihilator a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer Jeff Waters and former vocalist John Bates. They are the highest-selling heavy metal group from Canada in Canadian history, having sold more than three million albums worldwide, although most of their sales have been generated outside of the band's home country.

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<i>Suicide Society</i> 2015 studio album by Annihilator

Suicide Society is the fifteenth album by the Canadian heavy metal band Annihilator. It was released on September 18, 2015 by UDR Music, and is the first album to feature guitarist and bandleader Jeff Waters performing lead vocals on all tracks since 1997's Remains, due to the departure of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dave Padden in December 2014. It also marks the return of bassist Cam Dixon, who toured with the band from 1994 to 1995, as well as the addition of new guitarist Aaron Homma, both of whom are credited with providing backing vocals in the liner notes.

<i>For the Demented</i> 2017 studio album by Annihilator

For the Demented is the sixteenth studio album by Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator, released on November 3, 2017.


  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-06-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Sacrifice". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  3. "Sacrifice, Macabre, Goatwhore - Tickets - The Opera House - Toronto, ON - February 27th, 2016". Ticketfly. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
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  9. "Annihilator's Jeff Waters On Upcoming Album: 'It's Actually Gonna Be Something Quite Different'". . April 4, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  10. "Annihilator's Jeff Waters Returns To Lead Vocals On Band's New Album, 'Suicide Society'". . June 2, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  11. "Annihilator To Release 'Triple Threat' Three-Disc Set In January". . November 22, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  12. "Annihilator: Trailer For 'Triple Threat' Three-Disc Set". . November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  13. "Annihilator's Jeff Waters Won't Worry About Writing 'Catchy, Commercial Choruses' On Next Album". December 27, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  14. "'Snowy and cold but a beautiful day to hit the studio, working on studio cd 16 for ANNIHILATOR!!'". February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  15. "Annihilator Releases Video For New Song 'Twisted Lobotomy', Unveils 'For The Demented' Album Details". September 12, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  16. "Testament To Tour Europe With Annihilator, Death Angel". June 9, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  17. "Testament, Annihilator & Vader UK/Ireland Tour Announced". November 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  18. "Testament Announces Second Leg Of European Tour; Annihilator And Vader To Support". November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  19. "Annihilator Announce European Tour". September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  20. "RANDY RAMPAGE, Canadian Hardcore Legend And Former ANNIHILATOR Frontman, Dead At 58". August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
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