Annihilator's latest release features an exploration of their music that is unlike anything they've done before. Triple Threat sees the Canadian rockers recording some of their material acoustically, balancing this against their slot at Bang Your Head Festival and also a bonus DVD filled with interviews. The acoustic sessions were all recorded at Watersound Studios and all done in single takes; the result of this is a very relaxed almost demo quality to the work. The band can be heard throughout the tracks adding comments like “one more time,” “what was that like 1993?” and various other spontaneous remarks that would normally be at edited out. Lead songwriter Jeff Waters isn't paying his usual fastidious attention to detail, his entire purpose for this album was to produce something that had that live feel and was completely un-sanitised by post-production.
Tracks like Bad Child don't seem to translate as well to the acoustic arrangements, nevertheless, you can tell that the band are having a lot of fun revamping some of their most famous tracks. When Waters and co focus their energy and take things a little more seriously the result is tremendous; Snake In The Grass and In The Blood, make absolutely astonishing versions and Stonewall loses its punk protest element without the electric guitars, morphing into a folksong (well nearly.)
In some ways, it's very similar to the work that Slash and Myles Kennedy have previously done with rocks finest material. There's plenty of classy guitar technique along the way using harmonics and percussion to really bring out the best in these renditions. The acoustic sessions are also a chance for non-metal-heads to really appreciate the composition and artistry of Jeff Waters. It is an opportunity to see beyond the raucous, aggressive thrash sound and really hear the quality of the songs in their purest form.
The live recording offers a flipside to the Annihilator sound and sees the band doing what they do best in front of a captive audience. As with any live recording it's evident from the crowds reaction that Annihilator is still one of the most influential bands around; even if they haven't got the recognition that they deserve. However, for metal fans and musicians alike the genius of Jeff Waters cannot be denied and that has never been more clear than on this compilation.
Groupie Rating 4/5