Review: "Alice in Hell" by Canadian Thrash Metal Band Annihilator
Crystal Ann and Alison Hell Set the Tone for the Album Alice in Hell
Alice in Hell is the famous debut album by Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator and was released in 1989 and it features the punk style vocals of Randy Rampage. Immediately, Jeff Waters shows his guitar excellence in the instrumental song called Crystal Ann which has a neoclassical influence and feel to it. Alison Hell is another famous song and this one is a song about a young girl named Alice who is terrified that some evil force or influence may be watching her. Is there really something out there that is watching her?
How Good Are the Vocals?
Randy Rampage is not a bad vocalist per se. it is just that he is different than the vocalists that would join the band after him. But it took me a long time to realize this because on the album called Criteria for a Black Widow I thought that he was a sub-par vocalist.
Alice in Hell Review Part 2: the Song Wicked Mystic
Wicked Mystic is a song with interesting lyrics in it. There is a reference to the idea that all of us have evil inside of us and those with weak minds can be manipulated from the inside. There is a riffing part that sounds like the song called The Fun Palace which would be on the band’s 1990 album called Never Neverland.
About the Album Cover for Alice In Hell
The cover art for this album is similar to the cover art of their next album. There is that young girl pictured standing on the steps with a bunch of dolls all around her. The other side of the album photo has a doll standing in the doorway with its shadow showing up. There is also a window up after the first flight of stairs and outside shows that the full moon is up and shining. The impression that I get from the album cover is that Alice is looking worried and despondent. Is she having nightmares? She is clearly afraid of something, similar to kids that are afraid of the dark.
Analysis of the Songs Schizos Are Never Alone Parts 1 and 2 & Human Insecticide
Schizos are Never Alone Parts 1 and 2 is a mostly instrumental two-part song that has fast leads, fast riffs that define the style of the era and some vocals in there as well. Human Insecticide is a song that may have started the tradition of the band covering the theme of psychological and mental illnesses. At the time, this song was the fastest song in the band's career. We can also hear the bass guitar in the mix. This song is also in a way about a serial killer that is intent on snuffing out human life. For the time that this album was written it is a decent debut but it is not as good as 1990's Never Neverland, an album that stands in my mind as the band's best album even now.
This Debut Album Was the Beginning of Greatness That Would Show Up Very Soon
The good news for Annihilator is that Alice in Hell was only the beginning of what would mark the excellence of this Canadian band. They would have a super successful decade in the 1990’s with Never Neverland, maybe their finest album followed by a series of other great albums especially 1993’s Set the World on Fire. What can these guys do right? The short answer is they can do it all musically and that’s why they are one of the best thrash metal bands in the world even more than 30 years in the music business.
The Songs "Crystal Ann" and "Alison Hell"
Rate Annihilator's Debut Album
© 2017 Ara Vahanian