Track by track: Annihilator - Set the world on fire (1992)

I love this album. 
Jeff Waters, the band's genius and founder (a sort of Dave Mustaine, if you will), changes the formula of the first 2 albums, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland and put in Aaron Randall as the band's lead singer. The last piece is the unknown Mike Mangini, now a celebrity with the Dream Theater. The majority of Annihilator fans dislike or don't particularly enjoy this Set the Worlds on Fire; a little softer and melodic than the first two albums. I'm not really a fan of the band, yet this is my favourite album by them. A diverse album with a lot of catchy riffs and melodies, as well as vocals.

1. Set the World on Fire
A perfect opener/title track, it really sets you in the mood for the rest of the album, even with a slow start. This is a thrashy song but with very melodic vocals and the usual killer solo by Jeff Waters. The chorus will get stuck in your head. Guaranteed. 88/100

2. No Zone
It speeds and spices up a bit the album with a pure heavy metal approach. I love the pace and the mood of this one. Amazing performance by the band, Jeff Waters is super inspired. 85/100

3. Bats in the Belfry
A creepy intro and another good song. Not a big fan of the verses but the pre-chorus and the chorus are killers! 75/100

4. Snake in the Grass
The anti-love song. Usually the ballads are to express love to another person, this one is to express hate. "You're just a big disgrace, turn around, get out of my face, you've got no bloody class, reptile you're a snake in the grass". Masterpiece, this is one of my favourites (anti) ballads, ever. 100/100

5. Phoenix Rising
This one instead is a proper heavy metal ballad, with amazing melodies and an amazing vocal performance by Aaron Randall, a super arrangement and great guitars by the mastermind Jeff Waters. 95/100

6. Knight Jumps Queen
This album is very funny as well, have a look at the lyrics "Knight Jumps Queen if you know what I mean.. anticipation of the final scene...". The vocals are very theatrical and I also love the bass lines on this one. 90/100

7. Sounds Good to Me
Yes, another ballad (too many for the pure thrash fanbase of the band), a little faster than usual and probably less inspired than the previous ones but still very good with the usual great performance by Aaron Randall. I really like the verses. 80/100

8. The Edge
Not bad at all but, if I have to pick up my least favourite it's probably this one. I find it a little less inspired than the rest of the album, and it's more (melodic) Hard rock than Heavy Metal. 65/100

9. Don't Bother Me
Similar to "No Zone", I love the nervous vibes of this one (check out the initial riff!) and I also love the lyrics. I can't stand still listening to this one, my feet move without asking me for permission. 83/100

10. Brain Dance
Definitely one of the highlights of the album, a masterpiece, in my opinion. Mike Mangini practices prog metal (for his future with Dream Theater"), and the lyrics are completely nuts "this song is very silly and it makes no sense at all because it's weird" says the crazy part in the middle. Some horror parts, some Prog, some Hard rock and pure Heavy Metal. There is a world inside this one, definitely in my top 3. 100/100

Total Rating: 86/100

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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