Annihilator

Criteria for a Black Widow

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With Criteria for a Black Widow, Jeff Waters reunites most of the original Annihilator lineup -- including vocalist Randy Rampage and drummer Ray Hartmann -- and keeps the '80s thrash-metal torch burning with surprising effectiveness. Having resolved various personal problems, and having scored a distribution deal in the U.S. for the first time since 1993, Waters sounds rejuvenated by the presence of his old bandmates, who turn in exciting performances. The lyrics aren't quite as personal as on some of the more recent Annihilator albums, but there's a sense of over-the-top fun instead, which makes it overall a triumphant return -- no matter how far out of style Waters' favorite music might be.

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