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Review of the Album "King of the Kill" by Canadian Thrash Metal Band Annihilator & Why 1994 Was Significant for the Band

Updated on July 2, 2022
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Front Cover of the Album Called King of the Kill


The Band Annihilator and the Year 1994

What is presented here is a review of the 1994 album King of the Kill by Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator. But first, we will point out why the year 1994 was so significant for Canada’s best thrash metal band. In music, there are certain years that are significant for bands in any genre of music. For Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator, that year was 1994. Why was that year significant for them? Here are those reasons why:

First Lead Vocal Album for Guitarist Jeff Waters

  1. It was the first time that guitarist Jeff Waters started experimenting with vocals and he actually did lead vocals for the band’s 1994 album King of the Kill. Waters admitted later that this was the first time that he had done vocals on an album and it had left his voice fried. Even if he had used a vocal distortion device for the album, he did a pretty good job on the vocals. On the song called Bad Child, Jeff shows that he can do a pretty good shout but in this case, he does not overdo it.

"Bad Child"

Varied Lyrical Themes

2. The band’s 4th album addressed themes such as the influence of TV on people’s lives, the influence of the king of the jungle (the lion), rebellious children, the effects of prolonged warfare, and love. The song called The Box is the song that is about how TV can influence people’s lives especially negatively.

The picture of this lion symbolizes the lyrics of the title track called King of the Kill. The lion is considered the king of the jungle.
The picture of this lion symbolizes the lyrics of the title track called King of the Kill. The lion is considered the king of the jungle. | Source

The Increased Musical Maturity of the Band

3. This album shows a musical maturity for the band early on in their career as they returned to their roots while also experimenting with love ballads and instrumental songs. After releasing a very mainstream type of album the year before, the band does a superb job of returning to their thrash metal roots and making the formula work 100%. This formula especially works on the song called Hell is a War which should be ranked among their best songs of all time. The song starts with the sound of gunfire in the background as Jeff is singing softly. However, the song turns heavy and speeds up near the end. It is always a major tragedy when children are in the middle of a bloody war and they die. The band is trying to bring attention to the negative effects of warfare. Peace is always better than war but sometimes politicians don’t really grasp the importance of this. Those politicians that are sometimes so eager to start wars do not realize or care about the brutal effects of them. Peace is what we should all strive for.

This album starts a string of 8 consecutive solid albums in a row for Canada’s best thrash metal band. Which brings us to the next reason why 1994 was a significant year for Annihilator.

Favorite Annihilator Album of the 1990's

What is your favorite Annihilator album that the band released in the 1990's?

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The Song Called "21"

Change of Vocalists Does Not Affect the Band's Musical Quality

4. Even when they change vocalists their musical quality does not suffer. This is especially seen in the song called Annihilator, a song that Jeff said that fans in Europe and Japan liked a lot. However, for me that song is one of the weakest songs in the band’s career. But after that comes the catchy song called 21 that begins with some good bass. The song is about a person that is under debt and not having much fun. Eventually due to patience and persistence, he turns out to be an effective gambler as the dealer wonders why he is taking his time. However, gambling turns out to be a major addiction for many people.

"Hell is a War"

Final Thoughts about the Greatness of the Band Annihilator and Jeff Waters

The bottom line is that 1994 turned out to be one of the best years in the history of Annihilator and it was also their 10th anniversary. Jeff Waters has pretty much solidified his place in the history of heavy metal as one of the finest guitarists ever. If you need an example of his greatness as it pertains to this album, listen to the melodic riffing in the song Hell is a War. He can also write effective ballads. The ballad song in this album is called Only Be Lonely and it is a song about missing someone. Jeff Waters and his band still make King of the Kill a very respectable release even though it is not quite as good as the previous album.

It could be argued that King of the Kill is still an experimental album just like the band’s previous album was but that’s how a band grows right? This 4threlease is definitely not as mainstream sounding and it still has quite a few “metal” songs. Even though the beginning of the song Hell is a War is soft what comes after that is anything but soft. As the song ends, it shifts back to the beginning verse which may as well describe what goes on during a destructive war. Even back in 1994, Annihilator had the awareness of these social issues and they brought attention to them in this album.

We did not address the song “Bliss” which is a short instrumental song. This once again shows the versatility of the band and the album. This is followed by the intense song “Second to None” and this song is about the effects of illicit drug use. “Fiasco” is a song that is literally about the fact that a person’s life is in a total mess. The bass guitar is good too, showing a fast punk style. “Catch the Wind” is another instrumental song on this album and this one beats “Bliss” but if you like both of them you wouldn’t be surprising me. If this album did not have the weak self-titled song and Speed it may have been on par with the band’s previous work.

"Bad Child"

Favorite Song on the Album King of the Kill

What is your favorite song on King of the Kill?

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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