||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (December 2014)|
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|Origin||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Heavy metal, thrash metal, speed metal, progressive metal, groove metal|
|Labels||Roadrunner, Epic, Attic, Hypnotic, CMC International, Music for Nations, Metal-Is, SPV, AFM, Marquee Records|
|Associated acts||Stress Factor 9, D.O.A.|
|Past members||Former members|
Annihilator is a Canadian heavy metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, engineer, producer, mixer, mastering engineer Jeff Waters and vocalist John Bates. They are the highest-selling heavy metal group from Canada in Canadian history, having sold more than 3 million albums worldwide, although most of their sales have been generated outside of the band's home country. Their first 2 studio albums, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland, are considered to be influential Canadian heavy metal records.[by whom?]
Since its inception, Annihilator has released fourteen studio albums and has undergone many line-up changes. The band now consists of two official members, with Waters on both guitar and bass and Dave Padden, who joined in 2003, as a rhythm guitarist/vocalist. Since 2007, Waters and Padden have assembled touring musicians to perform with them. Their latest studio album, Feast, was released in 2013.
Early career (1984–1988)
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". Jeff 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.
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).
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. Between 1987 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.
Rise to fame (1989–1993)
The band gained more recognition within the metal community after releasing their debut album Alice in Hell, in 1989. Annihilator embarked on their first world tour, opening up for Testament along with Onslaught in the USA and Canada, after which singer Randy Rampage quit the band to retain his seniority at a job on the shipping docks in North Vancouver.
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 #48. After opening up for Judas Priest, and then little-known Pantera and headline 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 USA. 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)
The line-up then 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.
Continued career (1999–present)
Annihilator did not play again until 1999, when 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. Former Overkill guitarist and Liege Lord frontman Joe Comeau replaced him on vocals, 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. 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; the first time the band has played live in North America since 1993. On July 10, 2011, Annihilator headlined the Quebec City Imperial Theatre to a sold-out crowd. Annihilator played the main stage (along with KISS and Motorhead) on July 24, 2011 at Montreal's Heavy MTL Festival.
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 bands bassist from the classic early 90's 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.
- Current live members
- Coburn Pharr – vocals (1990–1992, 2014–present)
- Mike Harshaw – drums (2012–present)
- Oscar Rangel – bass (2014–present)
- John Bates – (1984–1985)
- Dennis Dubeau – (1987–1989)
- Randy Rampage – (1989, 1998–2000)
- Aaron Randall – (1992–1994)
- Joe Comeau – (2000–2003)
- K.C. Toews - (1987-1988)
- Anthony Greenham - (1988-1989)
- Dave Davis – (1989–1991, 1993–2001) (bass)
- Neil Goldberg – (1992–1993)
- Curran Murphy – (2002–2005)
- Dave Scott – (1984–1985)
- Wayne Darley – (1989–1993)
- Cam Dixon – (1994–1995)
- Lou Bujdoso – (1995–1997)
- Russell Bergquist – (1999–2003, 2005–2007)
- Sandor de Bretan – (2004)
- Brian Daemon – (2007)
- Alberto "Al" Campuzano – bass (2010–2014)
- Paul Malek – (1984–1985, 1986)
- Richard Death – (1985)
- Ray Hartmann – (1987–1992, 1999–2001)
- Mike Mangini – (1993, 2004–2005, 2007)
- Randy Black – (1993–1996, 2002–2003)
- Dave Machander – (1996)
- Rob Falzano – (2004)
- Tony Chappelle – (2005)
- Alex Landenburg – (2007)
- Carlos Cantatore - (2010)
- Former touring members
- Dave Sheldon – bass (2007–2008)
- Ryan Ahoff – drums (2007–2008)
- Carlos Cantatore - (2010)
- Flo Mournier – drums (2011)
- Alice in Hell (1989)
- Never, Neverland (1990)
- Set the World on Fire (1993)
- King of the Kill (1994)
- Refresh the Demon (1996)
- Remains (1997)
- Criteria for a Black Widow (1999)
- Carnival Diablos (2001)
- Waking the Fury (2002)
- All for You (2004)
- Schizo Deluxe (2005)
- Metal (2007)
- Annihilator (2010)
- Feast (2013)
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