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Annihilator is a Canadian thrash metal band founded in 1984 by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Jeff Waters.
They are the highest selling heavy metal group in Canadian history, having sold 12 million albums worldwide, although most of their sales have been generated outside of the band's home country.
Their first two studio albums, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland, are considered to be influential Canadian heavy metal records.Since its inception, Annihilator has released fourteen studio albums and has undergone many line-up changes.
The band now consists of two official members, with Waters on both guitar and bass and Dave Padden, who joined in 2003, as a rhythm guitarist/vocalist.
Since 2007, Waters and Padden have assembled touring musicians to perform with them.
Their latest studio album, Feast, was released in 2013.Early career (1984–1988)Annihilator was formed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada by Jeff Waters in 1984.
He wrote and recorded the song "Annihilator" (not to be confused with the song of the same name released on the 1994 album, King of the Kill) with singer John Bates.
This original version of "Annihilator" was released on the special edition of the 2005 album Schizo Deluxe.Waters and Bates then recruited drummer Paul Malek and bassist Dave Scott.
This lineup lasted a year, producing a demo titled "Welcome To Your Death" during their time together.
The demo received worldwide recognition and became highly sought after.
After John Bates and Dave Scott left the band before its release, citing "artistic differences" and "personality conflicts", Jeff Waters and drummer Paul Malek recorded another successful demo titled "Phantasmagoria" in 1986.
This was said to be the third most-traded metal cassette tape in the 1980s, behind Metallica and Megadeth's demo tapes.
Some songs written at this time, by Jeff Waters and John Bates, ended up on Annihilator's first two official studio albums (Alice In Hell and Never, Neverland).A third demo was recorded by Waters and Malek in 1987 and was sent only to labels.
It included more songs that would end up on the first two Annihilator studio albums.
Waters relocated to Vancouver in 1987, where he assembled an entire line-up, including drummer Ray Hartmann and former D.O.A.
bassist Randy Rampage, on vocals.
Between 1987 and 1989, Waters was in and out of a recording studio recording guitar and bass tracks and producing what would become the band’s debut album.
Once the album was finished, he hired bassist Wayne Darley and guitarist Dave Davis.Rise to fame (1989–1993)The band gained more recognition within the metal community after releasing their debut album Alice in Hell, in 1989.
Annihilator embarked on their first world tour, playing alongside Testament in the USA and Canada, after which singer Randy Rampage quit the band to retain his seniority at a job on the shipping docks in North Vancouver.Without a singer, Jeff Waters found ex-Omen singer Coburn Pharr and the band released their second album, Never, Neverland, in 1990.
The album’s sales surpassed Alice In Hell, becoming the band’s only album in chart in the UK at #48.
After tours with Judas Priest, Pantera and headline tours around the world, Hartmann and Pharr left the band and were replaced by Mike Mangini (though the band would find a more permanent replacement in Randy Black) and Aaron Randall, respectively.
The band was signed to Sony USA by this point.The band’s third studio album, Set the World on Fire, was released in 1993 and was successful in Europe and Asia, but did poorly in the USA.
Bassist Wayne Darley had to leave the band in August 1993 as he was unable to enter Japan, where the band was touring in support of the album.
Annihilator was among the many metal bands dropped by Roadrunner Records (and most other labels) that year.Brief hiatus and later years (1994–1998)The line-up then dissolved, but Jeff Waters kept the band name going when he recorded and released King of the Kill in 1994.
This album was more of a solo album for Waters, as it featured himself performing all instruments excluding drums, which were recorded by Randy Black.
Bassist Cam Dixon later joined the band, while Jeff Waters continued performing lead vocals until 1997.
The band released Refresh the Demon in 1996 and Remains in 1997.By the time Remains was being recorded, Waters was the sole remaining band member.
The album featured an electric drum machine and there was no tour in support of it.Continued career (1999–present)Annihilator did not play again until 1999, when Waters decided to reunite the Alice in Hell line-up to record another album.
All members apart from Wayne Darley, who had health problems, agreed to reunite.
Bassist Russ Bergquist joined the band in Darley’s place.
This lineup released Criteria for a Black Widow and toured successfully.
However, Rampage was fired following the tour for his erratic behaviour.
Joe Comeau replaced him on vocals, while Curran Murphy replaced Davis on guitar and Randy Black rejoined on drums.During the early 2000s, Annihilator released the albums Carnival Diablos (2001) and Waking the Fury (2002).
After considerable success, the band’s lineup once again dissolved.
Following years of line-up changes, Jeff Waters decided to work with a touring-only lineup so he recruited Dave Padden as a permanent vocalist/rhythm guitarist, while Waters recruited touring bassists and drummers.
Annihilator's first two albums in this band format were All for You (2004) and Schizo Deluxe (2005).In 2007, Annihilator released their twelfth album Metal.
It features several guest performers, such as Corey Beaulieu (Trivium), Willie Adler (Lamb Of God) and Jeff Loomis (Nevermore).
The band’s self-titled thirteenth album was released in 2010.Annihilator returned to Canada for two live shows; the first time the band has played live in North America since 1993.
On July 10, 2011, Annihilator headlined the Quebec City Imperial Theatre to a sold-out crowd.
Annihilator played the main stage (along with KISS and Motorhead) on July 24, 2011 at Montreal's Heavy MTL Festival.Annihilator released their fourteenth studio album entitled Feast on 23 August 2013.