Live at Masters of Rock

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Annihilator's long history has taught us that there are two important things to keep in mind if you are going to see them live: (1) Annihilator have had so many lineup changes along the way that you never know for sure who is going to be joining Jeff Waters on-stage, and (2) Waters is such a strong bandleader that regardless of the lineup, you're likely to get an exciting, inspired dose of thrash metal/speed metal. On this live DVD/CD -- which was filmed/recorded at the Masters of Rock Festival in the Czech Republic on July 11, 2008 -- guitarist Waters (who occasionally sings lead) is joined by Dave Padden (who plays guitar and provides most of the lead vocals), Dave Sheldon (bass), and Ryan Ahoff (drums), and that lineup does, in fact, deliver an exciting, inspired dose of thrash metal. Waters sees to it that the sparks fly during a 72-minute set that is dominated by favorites from the late '80s or early '90s (among them "Alison Hell," "Never, Neverland," "Wicked Mystic," "W.T.Y.D.," and "I Am in Command") but also contains a few songs that Annihilator didn't unveil until the 2000s, including "Clown Parade" and "Shallow Grave." The latter, it should be noted, is the only thing on Live at Masters of Rock that isn't thrash at all; the infectious "Shallow Grave" is hard rock -- not thrash -- and has an AC/DC-meets-Dokken-meets-Krokus type of approach rather than the Metallica/Testament/Megadeth/Slayer type of perspective that Annihilator usually favor. And it should also be noted that apart from the visual element, there is little difference between the CD and the DVD; both of them contain the same songs performed in the same order. Some hardcore fans might be disappointed that the DVD doesn't offer any extras or bonus material -- no interviews with the band, no footage from another concert, no discography. But in the grand scheme of things, that lack of extras is a minor consideration -- and Annihilator's lineup is in excellent form during this Czech Republic appearance.

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