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A Review of the album Criteria for a Black Widow by Annihilator the best Canadian thrash metal band

Updated on December 8, 2017

An Image of the CD Criteria For A Black Widow


Criteria For A Black Widow marks a turning point In the band's history

Criteria for a Black Widow is the 1999 metal album by Annihilator, the best thrash metal band in Canada. With this album, most of the original lineup from the band’s 1989 album Alice in Hell has been reunited. The only exception is bassist Wayne Darley who was unable to join the band due to ongoing personal problems. Taking his place on bass for this album is bassist Russell Bergquist. By this time in his life, guitarist and band founder Jeff Waters had done vocals for three consecutive albums, embarked on a major European tour for the band’s 1994 album King of the Kill, and even gone through a divorce. You get the sense that Waters and crew can enjoy their lives once again doing what they do best which is performing quality thrash metal.

Track Listing for Criteria For A Black Widow

  1. Bloodbath
  2. Back to the Palace
  3. Punctured
  4. Criteria for a Black Widow
  5. Schizos are Never Alone Part 3
  6. Nothing Left
  7. Loving the Sinner
  8. Double Dare
  9. Sonic Homicide
  10. Mending
  11. Loving the Sinner (Jeff Waters version)
  12. Comments from Jeff Waters about the album

Jeff Waters should have been more famous

The 2000 re-mastered version of this album has two bonus tracks, the Jeff Waters vocal version of the song Loving the Sinner and a track where Jeff Waters makes comments about the album. Move over Dave Mustaine because with Jeff Waters playing the guitar and using his creative genius you have company! Jeff Waters has never gotten the amount of fame that Mustaine has and that’s a shame because he is really talented! One thing is for sure, this album blows away the bad album Risk by a mile! I have sometimes thought that Criteria for a Black Widow was the band’s weakest album musically but I am starting to reconsider. The previous album Remains was a pretty good album in spite of what Jeff Waters was dealing with at the time. It is okay for a band to experiment with different styles and this is how they grow and mature as a band.

Criteria for a Black Widow: Songs 1-5

The first two songs Bloodbath and Back to the Palace are two very fast Annihilator songs full of speed and aggression that fans have been used to hearing. Punctured is described as a more commercial kind of thrash metal song but I would not classify it as such. I have never really liked the vocals of Randy Rampage but in this song he does a decent job. The song has some pretty stellar riffing as well. The title track Criteria for a Black Widow starts with a bass line however this may be the weakest song in the album. Next we have an instrumental song called Schizos Are Never Alone Part 3. The band once again uses a sort of twin guitar sound here and makes it melodic at the same time. The song then gets heavy and melodic before transitioning back to the soft part to end the song.

The song called Schizos Are Never Alone Part 3

Loving The Sinner: A great and special song In Annihilator's career

After the fast song called Nothing Left, we have Loving the Sinner, one of the best thrash metal songs that has a love them to it. The song is about a love relationship that has soured as the other person is told to get up off their you know what and get some class! The Jeff Waters version is superior to the one in which Randy Rampage sings. Waters is the better vocalist in the opinion of this writer. Waters himself mentions that the song is not about his ex-wife. Or is it? I guess we will never know for sure. Loving the Sinner may be a better song than the one called Snake in the Grass off of 1993’s Set the World on Fire album.

Loving The Sinner (the better version)

Why is Criteria for a Black Widow a special album?

Especially with this album, Annihilator shows that they can do it all. They can play with speed, melody, creativity, and they can even write ballads that keep the listener interested. Even the song Double Dare with its changes is pretty good. Next comes the super-fast song Sonic Homicide. The picking starts to kick in and the rest is history! I have always been a fan of the fast and heavy songs such as Reaction and Hunter Killer. These guys know how to play fast and make it sound awesome! We have another instrumental song in this album called Mending which once again starts out with some soft guitar. There are no bad songs in Criteria for a Black Widow and even the return of Randy Rampage does not ruin the quality of the songs. What we have here is another solid and enjoyable album from this elite thrash metal band. The final score for this album will be 95 out of 100 points for being solid all the way through.

The song called Punctured

Favorite Song on Criteria for a Black Widow

What is Your Favorite Song on Criteria for a Black Widow?

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