Κυριακή 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2020

Metal Nerdism Vol. 7: Top-10 metal albums that are not albums.


... or compilations of recordings that are not exactly an "album" and definitely they are not a "best of" album. In a few cases they are demo recordings that the bands would love to have released as an album when they were recording them (no matter if they don't really believe it now) or compilation releases of specific recordings that mostly didn't make it to any official album or just represent each artist at the moment.

Some of those albums presented herein are considered as "compilations" (and that's correct) while others are considered as "albums" (might not be exactly correct) and one of them was an "album" sometime in the past but not now... Confusing? Might be. But it is also funny.

We don't include:

- "Best of", "Greatest Hits", "The Story So Far" etc. collections - compilations, even if they have an unreleased track or two. For example, Black Sabbath's We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'n' Roll and Iron Maiden's Best of the Beast.

- Re-recorded full albums. For example, Manowar's Battle Hymns MMXI and Twisted Sister's Still Hungry.

- Regular live albums recorded during touring, and live album compilations. For example Judas Priest's Priest... Live! and Saxon's The Eagle Has Landed.

- Unplugged, acoustic and orchestral albums or compilations. For example Blind Guardian's The Forgotten Tales.

- Albums including only cover songs from other artists. For example, Ozzy Osbourne's Under Cover and Six Feet Under's Graveyard Classics.

- Tape/Cassette-albums that were also released on CD and/or vinyl format in later years. For example Apollo Ra's Ra Pariah and Axis' No Man's Land. [There is going to be a feature for similar cases in the future]

In every case, there are people who consider that the specific releases of Warlord or Sorcerer listed below, as their best "albums". In a few of those cases, I am among those people. 

written by Andreas Andreou

1. VENOM - The Singles 80-86

If someone will ask me to offer three albums of what Venom were and what made them what they are, I would definitely offer Welcome to Hell, Black Metal and The Singles 80-86. A few of the very best songs of Newcastle's blasphemy appeared in singles only and you have them all here including "Warhead", "Seven Gates of Hell" and "Manitou".

Truth to be told, Venom is probably the metal band with the most compilations ever; we even can write an article like "Top-10 Venom Compilations" and there would be even more! They had already released the double record From Hell to the Unknown... in 1985 including the debut album on disc 1 and a collection of other tracks on disc 2, plus the famous ... Assault releases but the live releases and compilations that followed were so many! I still love a few of them and give them a spin over the years, mostly...

Check also: VENOM - In Memorium
Probably my favourite compilation album ever, including demo recordings, a few "best of" songs, single tracks, alternative versions and unreleased tracks that were first introduced to this release in 1991. The last (new, then) tracks with Tony Dolan on vocals ("If You Wanna War", "Surgery") are massive and never made it to a later album.

2. WARLORD - And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...

What a rare case of an album! The '80s recordings of Warlord were always confusing people, starting with Deliver Us. The debut mini LP that had the same running time with Saxon's debut album and more than Bathory's debut, still though, it was always advertised and considered as a mini-LP back then but nowadays most people consider it an EP. [Read more about Albums Vs Mini Albums Vs EPs].

And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun... is a very special case that was originally considered as a "live" album even if the band didn't perform any live shows in the '80s. The album included an intro, four songs from the debut mini LP and four new songs with two of them released as a single just a few months before ("Lost and Lonely Days", "Aliens").

In 2011, Crystal Logic presented the first interview of Bill Tsamis' return (even if he didn't really know it at that time) followed by the reissue of the Warlord and Lordian Guard catalogue, the new album The Holy Empire and live shows. In that interview, Bill Tsamis explains: "And the Cannons of Destruction was recorded in the studio and then presented as a live Warlord show (a showcase). Unfortunately, a couple of the cameras weren't working. We had the UCLA film school doing the filming as part of a school project. The vocals on the video were lip synced - there was no way Rick Cunningham could have pulled off that vocal performance live."

3. SORCERER - Sorcerer

The band was formed in Sweden in 1988 and recorded the demo tapes Sorcerer (1989), The Inquisition (1992) and then disbanded when bassist Johnny Hagel left to join Tiamat. It took three years until the moment when John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus formed BrainTicket Records and the first release of his label was a CD including nearly all of the demo recordings of Sorcerer. Those demo recordings remain until today as one of the greatest achievements underground epic doom metal ever offered, and those years  it was the closest thing to Candlemass' debut album.

Sorcerer's fame in the underground metal scene was highly respected thanks to that CD "album" (that's been re-released a couple of times) and during the '90s and '00s you could see their name mentioned every time someone would speak about the greatest bands of epic doom metal. The Swedish band was reformed a few years later with a different line-up, joined Metal Blade Records and kept releasing albums. The songs from the Sorcerer release were never re-recorded so far and never appeared in any of the Sorcerer albums.

4. REVEREND BIZARRE - Death Is Glory... Now

The album compilation to end all compilations is a collection of all the split, singles, EP recordings of the '00s masters of doom besides their three official albums and the two "EP-albums" (Harbinger of Metal, Return to the Rectory). Taking its place next to the albums, Death Is Glory... Now is a glorious release that a certain member of the band considers as Reverend's greatest release. A must-have release for all fans of doom metal, at least equally with many of the genre's greatest albums. The Finnish doom-an'-gloom mongers along with a few others, served as the gatekeepers of (true) doom metal in a period where the rites of Black Sabbath were claimed by the stoner-desert-sludge heavy music that ruled the media and festivals. In the end, Reverend Bizarre's life and death is a huge part of doom metal's soul.

5. SLAUTER XSTROYES - Free the Beast

Released for the first time in 1998 and widely considered as Slauter Xstroyes' second "album", this is actually a release including the recordings of the second Xstroyes' album that was supposed to be released in 1987, but the sessions were left incomplete. The Free the Beast release includes six tracks of that supposed second album and six more tracks recorded during 1981-1984. Chicago's underground metal legend was a unique band with a sick character and technical over-the-top songwriting and performance ahead of its time. When Free the Beast saw the light of day after a decade hidden in the catacombs, everything was changed. Still though and after all these years, the name of Slauter Xstroyes is always mentioned in conversations that will include bands from the '80s like WatchTower up to the bands of today, like Sacral Rage.

Check also: ENERGY VAMPIRES - Energy Vampires

6. JACOBS DREAM - Jacobs Dream

Nowadays known as Demo '96 or Demo, Jacobs Dream first release in 1996 was spread in the world of underground metal as a self-financed private album. There were already a few different pressings in 1996 since its impact was huge in the underground metal scene, and the one with the cover pictured here had also "Jacobs Dream Records" written in the back, bought from the author of this blog directly from the band those days. Four years later, Jacobs Dream joined Metal Blade Records releasing a self-titled album (the band's second release) and that was presented as the "first" album, so the previous release was "downgraded" to a demo and remained like this since then, even if we knew it in the late '90s, as an "album".

The 2000 Metal Blade release (the debut album as it is now considered) had only one song from the debut release but both of them stand among the best US power metal releases of their time and even more.

Check also: THYNN ICE - Thynn Ice

7. VIRGIN STEELE - The Book of Burning

Despite their iconic '80s albums like Guardians of the Flame (1983) and Noble Savage (1985), after the release of the melodic metal album Life Among the Ruins in 1993, started a period where Virgin Steele became one of the epic heavy metal rulers. After the two parts of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Invictus and the two acts of The House of Atreus, David DeFeis released The Book of Burning in 2002. Until then, he had already re-released Noble Savage and Age of Consent including new recorded songs enough for another album and few of them were better than the songs of the old albums. That's how good he was during the '90s but what about The Book of Burning? Well, it's considered as an album by many people but it is not really an "album". It includes a few new recordings of classic songs from the first two Virgin Steele albums when Jack Starr was the axeman but most important, you can find here the compositions DeFeis and Starr wrote together during a session in 1997  that didn't lead anywhere. Songs like "Rain of Fire", "Hellfire Woman" and "The Chosen Ones", plus a few more, everything re-arranged in order to make a proper sequence that can be presented as a "new album".

8. STEEL ASSASSIN - From the Vaults

While the first official album of Steel Assassin was released in 2007 under the title War of the Eight Saints, it was the From the Vaults compilation album that brought that name back in the underground metal fans' attention in 1997. The "Executioner" song was known from its appearance in the Metal Massacre VI compilation of Metal Blade Records released in 1985 but the name of Steel Assassin remained to obscurity. Rising from the vaults, this compilation album of Steel Assassin is the true spirit of the underground US epic power metal scene. Recorded in the first half of the '80s, that line-up also includes the steel lungs of Doni Escolas and it can only be matched by bands like Tyrant and Omen those years.

Check also: AXEHAMMER - Lord of the Realm

9. RAGE - Lingua Mortis

or Lingua Mortis - Rage and the Symphonic Orchestra Prague, since in 2013 there was also an album using the "band-performers" name Lingua Mortis Orchestra. The difference is that the 2013 release was produced and mostly written and arranged by guitarist Victor Smolski, consisting of new material, while the 1996 release presented here, consists of existing Rage compositions re-arranged with orchestra. It was a matter of time someone doing a metal album with orchestra and Rage managed to be written in the books of history as the first metal band that did it, in 1996. Lingua Mortis is mostly considered as an album and it definitely gave a breath of fresh air for a while, but talking for a release that actually has a "re-arrangement" of previously released songs, it might be something different.

10. MERCYFUL FATE - Return of the Vampire

Originally released in 1992, one year before the release of Mercyful Fate's reunion album In the Shadows, Return of the Vampire is an official release of early '80s demo material that has been bootlegged so much over the years. A few songs were lately re-worked and appeared in the albums, others less ("Curse of the Pharaohs"), others more ("Death Kiss" that became "A Dangerous Meeting), others remained to obscurity ("Burning the Cross"). A few of the sessions were from Michael Denner's band named Danger Zone, where King Diamond and Hank Shermann were helping and led Denner joining Mercyful Fate, along with bassist Timi Hansen and drummer "Old" Nick Smith who was later replaced by Kim Ruzz. The "Return of the Vampire" track was also re-worked and appeared in the 1993 reunion album with Lars Ulrich of Metallica performing drum duties.

Check also: SILVER MOUNTAIN - Before the Storm

What's your favourite "album" that's not really an "album"?

Τετάρτη 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 2020

Heavy Metal, Caviar and Meths: The formation of Judas Priest - Interview with Al Atkins.

The roots of Heavy Metal go deep somewhere around 1970. Maybe earlier, maybe later but if we must name just one band as the starting point, it has to be Black Sabbath. As it was written somewhere once and many people keep repeating it, "Black Sabbath created heavy and Judas Priest added metal", so next to Black Sabbath, there is Judas Priest. And if there are a few people that will have a debate between those two bands, in the end, it all comes back to Birmingham in England; the birthplace of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, the birthplace of Heavy Metal.

Located in the West Midlands, Birmingham, the City of a Thousand Trades, was a part of the industrial revolution and suffered a heavy bombing during World War II. During the mid to late '60s, Birmingham had a very important music scene with bands like The Moody Blues, Traffic and The Spencer Davis Group and when the '70s entered, there were already Electric Light Orchestra and Black Sabbath. Among those bands and people, there was a singer named Al Atkins who formed a band called Judas Priest. The story of Judas Priest is widely known but their roots are not so much...

Al Atkins never reached the top and Billboard charts, didn't headline major open air festivals and didn't sell millions of records. As he wrote in his book "Dawn of the Metal Gods", "at this point of my life, I never will, but I gave it a bloody good go". His story with Judas Priest started with the long road in pubs and clubs but ended the hard way. Maybe it was just meant to be, but Al Atkins was kind enough to offer an interview about those early years since we're celebrating 50 years of Judas Priest but you won't read many often about those early years. 

written by Andreas Andreou

In my opinion, there are actually two different Judas Priest bands. Let me be clear: the first one was your band (1969-1970) and the second  was the band formed by Kenneth Downing (guitar) and Ian Hill (bass) with John Ellis on drums, joined by you who also brought the name. What's your personal view in the formation of Judas Priest?

Al: Well I was in the 1969-70 and 1970-73 line-ups... and we got through four drummers in four years, so I think the link is there with me and they were both my bands. I was the main spokesman, singer and songwriter after all. The name Judas Priest is the main thing no matter who comes and goes along the way but in my opinion I think now, after 50 years together, it has nearly run it's course and if Rob (Halford) left again that would be the end of the story. The band first started in 1969 but with lots of bad luck like losing our record contract with Immediate Records and firing the drummer, our bass player Bruno Stapenhill decided to leave us for another band and to tour around Denmark... so that was that.


What's the origin of the "Judas Priest" name?

Al: Bruno, the bass player, came up with it. He took it from a song called "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" from the album John Wesley Harding by Bob Dylan.


Who registered the name?

Al: Our friend and manager David Corke at the time had it registered.


Kenny Downing also auditioned for "your" first Judas Priest, what was your first thought for each member of Judas Priest the first time you met them?

Al: Yes, Kenny (K.K.) came to the guitar auditions in 1969 after our first guitarist John Perry commited suicide at the age of 18. Kenny was very inexperienced at the time but had the looks with his long blonde hair. But at that point we decided to give the job to Ernie Chataway from Birmingham.

Sometime after the 1969-70 line-up split, I went looking for another band and listened in on a group who were rehearsing and it was K.K. who had formed a three piece with Ian Hill (bass) and John Ellis (drums). I don't remember what song they were playing, I think they were just jamming together but it sounded really good and I asked them if they wanted a vocalist and they said yes. I didn't like what they were called, which was Freight and suggested they use my old band's name "Judas Priest" and they all agreed so JP MK2 was born. They were a great bunch of guys and listened to what they told them, I was four years older than them and had a lot of experience playing through the '60s with various bands, They were very enthusiastic and couldn't wait to hit the road.


Later John Ellis left the band and was replaced by Alan Moore who in turn was replaced by Chris "Congo" Campbell. During that period did you write any original material and what kind of songs did you play in live shows?

Al: John Ellis had a breakdown so we hired Alan Moore who later left and joined a country type rock band for a much easier life because we were now playing any place anywhere doing over 150 gigs in 1972 alone. We played alongside some great bands at that time including Slade, Spirit, Status Quo and Thin Lizzy just to name a few. Drummer Chris "Congo" Campbell took Alan's place and I was writing all the songs which K.K. contributed too, songs like "Winter", "Never Satisfied", "Caviar and Meths", "Morpheus" and "Whiskey Woman" which eventually was called "Victim of Changes"... K.K. came up with his first song called "Run of the Mill" and many of these songs ended up on their first two albums. Alan Moore rejoined later to play on Sad Wings of Destiny.


Did Judas Priest ever cross ways with Black Sabbath during your years?

Al: I had met and spoke to Ozzy in a music store in town but no we never really crossed paths with Sabbath.


Do you really believe that Judas Priest was a "heavy metal" band in your years or just hard rock?

Al: We were all hard rock or progressive rock, the name "heavy metal" hadn't been invented back then not until a few years later.


At some time you also performed with Trapeze in 1972. What do you remember of your meeting with Glen Hughes and Dave Holland who later joined Judas Priest?

Al: I remember it well ,it was at Henry's Blues House in town. It was a very famous little venue with a reputation like  Liverpool's Cavern. You could go and see Robert Plant jamming with some band or other and Black Sabbath played there frequently too in their early days. Trapeze were a great little three piece rock/funk band who were a great bunch of guys.


Do you want to share your personal opinion on Dave Holland since you were friends, the accusations and his death?

Al: Well I couldn't believe or didn't want to believe in what happened to Dave... such a nice guy and great drummer. He played on my Victim of Changes solo album which took off with big sales and we decided to stay together and record another one. We had meetings in London with various record companies and things were looking up for us and then the bombshell... He spoke to me on the telephone saying he was being stitched up and not to talk to the press... I never saw him again. He got 10 years prison and court costs of around £10,000... Shame because after serving his time, he moved to northern Spain and died with cancer.


When did you leave the band and how did they continue using the Judas Priest name? Have you ever met Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton during that period?

Al: I left the band in May 1973. I was the only one married and now with a small child to feed, I decided to get a 9 to 5 job and support my family because we just couldn't get that big record deal we so wanted to give us some financial backing and although we were getting bigger, we had more overheads to go with it. Norman Hood at the agency helped me out sometimes with some cash but it wasn't enough.

A few months after leaving the band, K.K. and Ian came knocking on my door and asked me if they could use the name Judas Priest and if they could have the songs too and I said yes and best of luck... They said they had found a new vocalist to take my place, named Robert Halford, who I had never heard of but his band Hiroshima had been on our agency books too. They hit the road pretty soon and toured the UK and Europe and the following year they added Birmingham guitarist Glenn Tipton from The Flying Hat Band who were also in the same agency and we both played on the same bill together once at the Plaza Ballroom, B'ham. So now Judas Priest were a five piece for the first time.


In your years, Judas Priest were somehow managed by Norman Hood and Dave Corke, both of them related to Black Sabbath. However, we're already in 1973, Black Sabbath have released 5 studio albums and probably you don't have material ready even for an album. Do you believe there was any "missed chance", you just didn't have the proper material or contract, or it just happened this way?

Al: Tony Iommi  had formed an agency in Birmingham for up and coming bands and we signed a contract with them in early 1973 and that was the first time we had met Tony who was a really nice guy. Norman and Dave both worked for him in the agency and they started booking us into bigger venues and trying to secure us with a record deal. We had deals offered us but they were only small independent labels and I turned them down. We were good enough, no doubt, and we had enough material which I said earlier that some of my songs ended up on Priest's first two albums but it just never happened...  Don't forget The Beatles were turned down by every record label in Britain and look what happened to them... Sometimes it's just about the right time at the right place.


So, since you and K.K. Downing were obviously the writing team those early years, how did you feel when a few of your ideas ended in the first two Judas Priest albums that were already something different as a band by then?

Al: The only difference in both bands was the added guitar of Glenn Tipton which was a great idea by the independent label they eventually signed with (Gull Records). Dave Corke had left the agency in Birmingham and went to work for Gull in London and pushed the label to sign them but David Howells who owned the label, said only if they will add another guitarist like one of their other bands, Wishbone Ash and it worked brilliantly. Dave Corke worked tirelessly for the band, even getting them a spot  on the popular music programme The Old Grey Whistle Test and the band started to get bigger, especially after their second album Sad Wings of Destiny and top labels had eventually started to take an interest too.


And what was your last thought for each member the moment you were off the band?

Al: Everyone was great to work with over the years and I have remained friends with them all.


I am sure you've seen a couple of times Judas Priest live over the years. How was the feeling the first time and how was the last time?

Al: It was strange seeing Rob singing my songs after I had left them and I didn't like his high range vocal style at first but he got older and his voice matured. He was incredible especially during the eighties... really wicked.  I last saw them a few years back at Wolverhampton Civic Hall and they played a great set but I missed K.K. on guitar although Ritchie is a good guitarist.

I went to see K.K.,  Tim Owens and Les Binks last year at his new venue The Steel Mill and the band was just amazing. It was great to meet them all back stage later.


But life in heavy metal continued. And Al Atkins is still active.

Al: I have recorded six solo albums, one album with Holy Rage album and have played live all over including Florida, New York to California... Check out my new venture with guitarist Paul May, the Atkins / May Project, we have recorded four albums now and the latest is The Final Cut but will it be the final cut?  Who knows which way the wind blows. I will keep rocking as long as I can but I have had a great time and life no matter what. 


Al Atkins and Paul May

Photos provided by Al Atkins.

Σάββατο 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2020

"Oh won't you come with me?" – 30 years in Annihilator’s Never, Neverland.

30 years since the release of the best Annihilator album. 30 years of a room full of toys and things. "Toys and things" that are here forever: Jeff Waters' unmistakable guitar performance, THE songwriting, Coburn Pharr’s voice, THE songs, THE album; Never, Neverland.

written by Andreas Andreou


It was obvious in the late '80s, the decade where heavy metal took its final shape that things were going to change in the '90s. And when the late Warrel Dane was preaching "so ends a decade now what will the nineties hold" in Sanctuary's "Future Tense" that was released a few months before Annihilator's second album, another decade would turn the page to new things. New toys and things.

We're on the edge of things that ended and new things that begun. Annihilator stand somewhere in-between, faithful to the core of heavy metal music but with a talented guitarist-composer that presented something new in thrash metal. Or heavy-thrash metal if you prefer. I don't really know if Jeff Waters has taken the credit he deserves as a guitarist, mainly because his style isn't as influential as other major guitarists but he definitely is better than many of those "others".

...on a second thought, he is somehow influential, both as a guitarist and songwriter but you don't really "hear" that influence in traditional heavy and thrash metal bands. However, you can find this influence in later American bands, mostly the kind of bands that are more known in the United States or bands that the regular resident of Ozzfest might have seen a couple of times.

Born on February 13th of 1966 in Canada, Jeff Waters formed Annihilator in the year of Judas Priest's Defenders of the Faith, Iron Maiden's Powerslave, Slayer's Haunting the Chapel, Voivod's War and Pain and Van Halen's 1984. It took him years of practice, demo tapes, macaroni and cheddar cheese, a few parties and the meeting with John Bates, until the moment where an album was released in the April of 1989 with an acoustic intro leading to that terrific track with the massive guitars… Isn't it frightening?

"Sitting in the corner, you are naked and alone. No one listened to your fears, you've created me"… and he never looked back. Alice in Hell was a huge success. A debut album that came out of nowhere and became an instant classic that remained in the halls of eternity.

Jeff Waters already had songs written during the former years and the next album didn't take long and was released just a few days before Megadeth would unleash Rust in Peace with their new line-up including Marty Friedman. However, before Friedman joined Megadeth, Both Dave's were fans of Alice in Hell and Jeff Waters was even offered the guitarist position in Megadeth. And we're back on that "second thought" above: Jeff Waters is an influential guitarist and songwriter!


Jeff Waters, the man who knew the material better than anyone, co-produced Never, Neverland with Glen Robinson who also engineered and mixed the album that was recorded during February - April of 1990. Never, Neverland is a goldmine of amazing riffs and solos, harmonized guitar wizardry, memorable and catchy melodies and at the same time, it is fierce, black and wicked. Not in a Manowar way, but as an insane voyage to new territories for thrash metal.

Coburn Pharr's vocals offered a classic heavy and power metal touch to the songs that was very different from previous singer Randy Rampage's approach in Alice in Hell and probably better than Aaron Randall's nasally performance in the next album, Set the World on Fire. That was also a cool (heavy) metal album but in many moments it seemed that Aaron was fighting with the "s" letter. Coburn Pharr's performance in Never, Neverland is solid and I can't imagine this album with any other singer. He definitely deserves his own credit to the album’s timelessness.

The album's production is clear and clean. It lacks roughness and perhaps a random '80s German thrash metal fan might find it very polished for a thrash album, but you can hear everything perfectly... and that's perfect! I remember being in the high school sometime before the release of Annihilator's third album when a friend of mine that was deep in the Pearl Jam debut album and the first two Alice in Chains albums that were released in the same era, asked me to give him "thrash metal" to have a listen. I gave him the cassette version of Never, Neverland and just the next morning he told me, "I asked for thrash metal, this is lighter than Dirt". Oh well… "It’s definitely not dirt-y", I responded and the next day I gave him Bonded by Blood. He didn’t like Exodus but in the end he became a fan of Annihilator.

The songs? Oh my… Lyrically, you can find weird, mental and psychological issues ("The Fun Palace", "Never, Neverland", "Phantasmagoria"), man's greed and nature's poisoning ("Stonewall"), the fear of annihilation ("Imperiled Eyes"), even a macaroni and cheese dinner ("Kraf Dinner"). Jeff Waters used to get inspired by everything at every time. A certain mood, a walk in nature, the news, a dinner…

As for the music, I grew up listening to the cassette version, later the vinyl and from some moment and on, the CD version. I revisited the "analogue" formats while writing this article and somehow, with the album split in "Side A" and "Side B" it hit me like a maniac. Side A is more melodic, catchy and diverse with songs like the awesome opening of "The Fun Palace" with its panic riffage, the crystal clear bass and Pharr's "psychic house of horroaars!" line, "Stonewall" (a "sell-out" according to a few thrash metal fans back in the day), "Sixes and Sevens" and the same-titled track, while on Side B lies the glory of thrash metal with the technical thrash majesty of "Phantasmagoria" (one of the greatest Annihilator tracks ever) and the closing of "Reduced to Ash" and "I Am in Command", a pure thrashy holocaust.

Just like Melissa or Don’t Break the Oath? Crimson Glory or Transcendence? Alice in Hell or Never, Neverland is one of those difficult dilemmas in the history of metal music, even if the author of this blog prefers the second in all of these cases.


Back in those days, every great album must have an extended supporting tour and Annihilator were lucky enough to join one of those legendary tours. At the release of Never, Neverland, Annihilator already started touring in Europe during September, and from October until the end of 1990, Never, Neverland Tour was moved in the United States for an estimated number of 50 shows in total.

Then, just when 1991 entered, Annihilator joined Judas Priest in their Painkiller Tour in Europe, along with Pantera for an estimated number of 50 more shows, with a small break in the end of February to visit themselves alone Athens, Greece. Nearly 100 dates supporting Never, Neverland, and they played all over the United States and Europe. Half of the shows with Judas Priest and Pantera, meaning you have the bands that released Painkiller, Never, Neverland and Cowboys from Hell the same year, sharing the same stage.

I can’t imagine a better scenario for a new band, with a great new album just released and a label like Roadrunner supporting them. So, what happened?

Well, the '90s happened… verging on the edge of an age. And also, too many line-up changes in the Annihilator camp. Jeff Waters released a few more great albums over the years like King of the Kill and Carnival Diablos, he kept touring all over the world and then he built his Watersound Studios in Durham, UK.

Thirty (30) years later, Never, Neverland still remains the ultimate Annihilator album, a "once-in-a-lifetime record". Jeff Waters still remains as one of the greatest thrash metal guitarists and a dominator on stage; a guitarist-frontman.

You can visit the official Annihilator website HERE.