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Annihilator - Carnival Diablos Print E-mail
Monday, 05 February 2001

Carnival Diablos
format: CD
label: Metal Is/Sanctuary Records
release year: 2000
performance: 8
sound 6
reviewed by: Bryan Dailey

ImageAlthough this album was recorded back in late 2000, it may win the prize for the most metal album of 2001. I know this is a bold statement to make in only the second month of the year, but Annihilator’s album Carnival Diablos is Slayer meets Iron Maiden for drinks at Geddy Lee from Rush’s house. Metallica quit playing tasty guitar riffs after their classic album And Justice For All and metal just hasn’t been the same since. It’s good that there are bands like Annihilator trying to carry the heavy metal torch through the current sea of syrupy pop music and whiny alternative rock.

We get quite a few random records here at and when Carnival Diablos arrived in the mailbox, the album cover was so "death metal" that I felt compelled to give this CD a spin. From the burning first track "Denied" to the hidden and hilarious track "Chicken and Corn," this record is a rollercoaster of hard-hitting styles shifting through all of the gears. It could be said that Annihilator’s style is not original at all. It’s as if, during the song writing sessions for this album, the band said, "Okay, this will be the Slayer song, this will be the AC/DC song and this other track will be the Judas Priest track." It could have been a disaster, but they pull off the various metal styles convincingly.

You’ve probably heard of the movie "The Perfect Storm" and the Nine-inch Nails song "The Perfect Drug." Well, Annihilator has gone one step further with the track "The Perfect Virus." It never really answers the question that I’m sure you are asking: "What exactly is the perfect virus?" It doesn’t really matter, though, because the music is so metal that the lyrics are just an afterthought. As the album progresses, you’ll hear the AC/DC influence in the track "Shallow Grave," some Iron Maiden with the dueling lead guitars on "Epic of War," and the Pantera-inspired riffs of "Denied," "Battered" and "Hunter Killer." Sonically, Carnival Diablos is all over the place. Some of the songs have guitar sounds that are low and present, while other have a grainy, screechy, or overdriven tone. It’s a few steps above garage band and could rupture an eardrum if you don’t watch the volume, but this record isn’t about sound, it’s about attitude.

I’m going to go out on a limb to make the prediction that this album won’t sell many copies, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up. This is one of those CDs that you’d see an ad for in the last few pages of Metal Maniacs or Hit Parade magazine. You’d probably never have the courage to shell out the $15 bucks to see if any of those records are worth buying. We’ve spun Carnival Diablos nearly ten times now in the office and chances are, unless Rob Zombie or Tool get their new albums out soon, Annihilator will be the kings of metal at for a while. Sure, metal isn’t currently considered cool, and mullets aren’t exactly the hair style in vogue, but if you like loud, hard metal, you can still kick back and listen to this album driving your Camaro and wearing your Ozzy t-shirt.

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