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A Review of the Album Set the World on Fire by Canadian Thrash Metal Band Annihilator

Updated on November 15, 2020
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


Set The World on Fire: mainstream heavy metal that has a winning formula!

Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator is known for releasing albums that are heavy, hard hitting, and melodic. However in 1993, they made a musical adjustment that would be likely to anger many of their loyal fans. Their 1993 album Set the World on Fire is an album that is more mainstream in its sound but let me say that the quality of the songwriting is very high and you will find this album to be a very enjoyable listen if you just give it a chance. I bought the album back in 2001. I had listened to this album for the first time while I was still in high school. The album is an example that mainstream heavy metal can be very good if it is well written. Following their 1990 album Never Neverland which I have said for the longest time is their best album, this one although it is different in style still should be in the CD collection of every heavy metal fan.

Track Listing for the album Set the World On Fire

1. Set the World on Fire

2. No Zone

3. Bats in the Belfry

4. Snake in the Grass

5. Phoenix Rising

6. Knight Jumps Queen

7. Sounds Good to Me

8. The Edge

9. Don't Bother Me

10. Brain Dance

Who plays on "Set the World On Fire" besides Jeff Waters?

Doing the vocals on this album is Aaron Randall, replacing Coburn Pharr who left the band following a 1992 tour. The other guitarist on this album is Neil Goldberg. This album would be the last album to feature bassist Wayne Darley. He was asked by guitarist and band founder Jeff Waters to rejoin the band. Waters was trying to reunite the original lineup that had been there for 1989’s Alice in Hell. However, Darley was unable to join citing personal problems that were none of anybody’s business. Playing the drums is Mike Mangini who would show his best talent and creative skills on the song Brain Dance.

An image of the CD Set the World on Fire

The first half of the album has the classic song Snake in the Grass

I was VERY impressed with the opening track "Set the World on Fire." The song has actual sounds of artillery fire used in the First Gulf War. Dictators will do what they can to stamp out any opposition and deny their people the kind of life that they deserve. It is only a matter of time before the world unites against these dictators and brings them down. After the fast "No Zone" and the catchy "Bats in the Belfry" comes the classic song "Snake in the Grass." The song is about a relationship that has run its course and gone totally wrong. The song goes through stages you could say. A person gets into a relationship with someone and at first, he means the world to her. He tells her that he would have climbed the highest mountain for her. However, she begins to manipulate him, telling him all sorts of lies as the relationship comes to a halt. Most of us can relate to being in a situation such as this. Annihilator would once again address this same subject years later for the album Criteria for a Black Widow with the song Loving the Sinner.

The song called "Snake in the Grass"

Analysis of the Songs Knight Jumps Queen and Sounds Good To Me

After the ballad song "Phoenix Rising" comes the song "Knight Jumps Queen." It has a terrific bass line. The song is about a gentleman that invites a lady over to his castle for a game of chess. He is surprised because she turns out to be a formidable opponent. As night comes and both players are exhausted, it looks like the game will be a draw. But it looks like they are both winners in the end. "Sounds Good To Me" is another soft song on this album. Daydreams are a way for us to drift away from the demands of the real world for a while. But we can also use this technique to set goals for our future. Waters himself said that when he was 13 years old, he dreamt about being a guitar player in a band. Some of us are still trying to figure out what we want to do with our lives, myself included.

Favorite song on the album Set the World On Fire

What is your favorite song on Set the World on Fire?

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"Set the World on Fire"

The Edge, Don't Bother Me and Brain Dance

As the album draws to a conclusion, "The Edge" is a short song about someone who is trying to get through his life and accomplish his goals and he won’t let anyone stop him. "Don’t Bother Me" is a song about what can happen to someone when they are an alcoholic. But it is written in a humorous way though. "Brain Dance" is one of the classic songs in Annihilator’s history. It features some excellent drumming by Mike Mangini. Even Waters himself says that the more that someone hears this song, the more that they will want to hear it. There are some silly and funny vocals by Waters in this song.

The song called "The Edge"

Why is this album so great? Four major reasons

Overall, Set the World on Fire is an excellent release by Canada’s best thrash metal band. There are no bad songs in this album and it is one of the best releases of the early 1990’s. If you really give this album a chance, you will see the brilliance of it for sure! This writer gives Set the World on Fire a solid 100 points out of 100 for its remarkable consistency, strong vocals, great drumming, and just an overall awesome album. Those are the 4 reasons why this album is so great.

"Brain Dance"

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


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