Merging thrash metal together with six-string pyrotechnics, Annihilator was one of the top metal exports from Canada, circa the late '80s and early '90s. But longtime leader/guitarist Jeff Waters has managed to keep the band afloat, as the early 21st century saw Annihilator issue an absolute onslaught of releases (averaging at least one per year). And despite Waters being the only constant member throughout the years (Annihilator is perhaps the best example of a band playing musical chairs with its members), the group continues to churn out incredibly intense albums, such as their 2005 outing, Schizo Deluxe. You can easily picture bodies (as well as long hair and black leather jackets) flailing away in a most pit to such airtight compositions as "Drive," in which impossible (for the average musician, anyway) guitar riffs and drum patterns do battle, as well as the Pantera-esque "Warbird." And the group certainly gets bonus points for titling a song "Maximum Satan" (can you get any more metal than that?). For lovers of highly technical thrash metal, Schizo Deluxe may just be the top contender for your favorite release of 2005. ~ Greg Prato
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