Annihilator – Criteria for a Black Widow – 1999

Criteria for a Black Widow

Fans of Annihilator are aware that Jeff Waters typically comments on either individual songs or the albums somewhere in the liner notes. Criteria for Black Widow is no exception, and one can read that he recently went through a personal family crisis. The details might not be of interest, but it’s evident that he has gone through it is reflected in the lyrics. There is, how should I say, considerably less aggression and more hatred than one is accustomed to from earlier albums.

Additionally, it’s once again a band playing on Criteria for a Black Widow, not just him doing everything. In fact, it’s essentially the same lineup as on the first album – Alice in Hell, a lineup that worked very well there. Unfortunately, the songs are not as melodic this time, and I find Randy Rampage’s vocals a bit bothersome. It becomes quite monotonous and almost a bit screechy with him behind the microphone.

Musically, Criteria for a Black Widow, especially in terms of guitar technique, I have nothing to complain about. Although I feel slightly less enthusiasm here than on several of the earlier albums. You can still recognize Annihilator’s special style in everything they do (almost). But it’s not quite as “Top Notch” as usual; a bit of the spirit is simply missing. This, together with the irritating vocals, must, of course, reflect on the rating…

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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