© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Words by Brian Boyle
Santa Cruz three piece metallers Archer may not be a band who are bouncing off everyone’s rock radar at the moment, but when you have the name of legendary producer Mike Clink on the back of your latest album, you can’t help but get the feeling there’s something pretty special brewing with these guys. That was rubber stamped when, after their heavily orchestrated intro tape, they rampaged through tracks from their latest album Culling Of The Weak, including Belief and Hurl The Cross to a generous reaction.
Vocalist and guitarist, Dylan Rose, cuts an impressive figure on stage, almost like watching a fresh faced Zakk Wylde with confidence by the bucket load. Their triumphant Irish debut was capped perfectly with a brave and ear splitting version of Megadeth’s Tornado Of Souls.
Remember the name – Archer
While Archers slot went off without a hitch, unfortunately the same can’t be said for Aussie thrashers Harlott. After their intro tape failed, singer and guitarist, Andy Hudson and drummer, Tim Joyce then exchanged a bit of verbal. As a pumped up Dublin crowd started to grow agitated, Hudson tried to calm the situation by asking the crowd to heckle up some Aussie stereotypes. To which, in typical Dublin style, one quick witted punter decided to shout the name up of shamed Aussie “entertainer” Rolf Harris, which drew mass laughter. And it’s a shame to say that this was one of the main highlights of their set.
While they put in a pretty robust shift banging out tenacious tracks like Origin and closer, Means To An End, Hudson’s constant comedic exchanges with the crowd did unfortunately leave you with the feeling that you just witnessed thrash metals answer to Spinal Tap.
I must admit I was stopped in my tracks before this show when I discovered it was twenty six years since I purchased Annihilator’s debut album Alice In Hell. Along with thrash kingpins Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax, the Canadian legends were mainstays on my battered Walkman. So tonight was about nostalgia more than anything else. This was their first Dublin show in six years, and when Scorpions Rock Your Like A Hurricane was blasted out of the PA, you could sense serious anticipation amongst the thrash thirsty gathering. Jeff Waters and co came tearing out of the traps to inflict an immediate assault with an old favourite, King Of The Kill. Although only minutes into the set, Waters looked genuinely chuffed at the crowds impeccable chanting of the chorus.
And he almost seemed apologetic telling the crowd that they were about to air some new songs off latest album Suicide Society, thus reassuring them the classics were on the way. Nevertheless, a trio of Snap, the title track and Creepin Again were venomously executed. Waters has now once again taken over lead vocal duties after the sudden departure of long time singer Dave Padden, and his performance at the mic tonight was powerful. Although this is a relatively new line up, with bass player Rich Hinks and guitarist Aaron Homma only joining the band this year, watching them unleash their ferocity on old gems like Tricks And Traps, Bliss and Second to None had you thinking they were doing this for years.
Having a back catalogue consisting of 15 studio albums must have made selecting a set list a virtual nightmare. But Annihilator fans are a knowledgeable lot, and watching them singing Refresh The Demon and City Of Ice word for word was pretty damn impressive.
But when the opening chords of 1993’s Brain Dance were released, the crowds already anarchic mood went into overdrive. Fans, some of which were only a twinkle in their fathers you know what when the song was released unashamedly jumped like lunatics to a song that is without doubt now an Annihilator classic. And they were rewarded for their efforts as one of the songs that helped start it all for the band, Alison Hell closed out the evening in sentimental but bestial fashion.
Annihilator may not be part of thrash metals “big four“, but when they’re delivering performances like this, and getting reactions like the one they received tonight, I doubt they give a rats ass.
Annihilator Set List:
King Of The Kill
No Way Out
Set The World On Fire
Tricks And Traps
Second To None
Refresh The Demon
City Of Ice