ANNIHILATOR — Never, Neverland (review)

ANNIHILATOR — Never, Neverland album cover Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
adg211288
A little while back I started a review series on hidden gems of metal. The album Never, Neverland (1990) by Canadian thrash metallers Annihilator could never be called such, so since the other review series is currently on hold (hidden gems being just that – hidden) this review will kick off a concurrent series from me: highly regarded albums that for one reason or another it took me hell of a long time to check out. Such a theme, of course, is pretty meaningless to anyone else but me, so alternately think of it as some motivation to get reviews up of some classics.

This was Annihilator’s second full-length. The band had recorded the debut Alice in Hell (1989) as a three-piece but here there is a full line up present. The vocalist has changed from Randy Rampage to Coburn Pharr, this being Pharr’s only album with the band. That’s definitely a shame, as Annihilator has had many vocalists during their career, and I think that Pharr was easily one of the strongest, featuring a varied style ranging from melodic clean singing on the album’s softer parts (such as the title track) to harsh thrash metal style vocals. There’s some real power there in his voice, albeit used in quite a rough style (see tracks such as The Fun Palace and Imperiled Eyes), which combined with some top notch musicianship from Jeff Waters and co results in one hell of a thrash metal album.

This isn’t the most technical sounding thrash metal album I’ve heard but it still gets up there at times, while also featuring some more speed metal orientated parts too. The songs are fantastic from start to finish. Sure, Kraf Dinner is the cheesiest thing you’ll ever hear, but otherwise this is quite a mature and serious album in the lyric department, sometimes dark too. Psychological illness, pollution of our planet, post-nuclear existence and the dangers of drinking and driving are just a few of the themes covered in these ten tracks.

I don't think that there's much to dislike about Never, Neverland even if you have only a passing interest in thrash metal. This is certainly one of the best albums I've heard from the genre. It's not only well written and thought provoking lyrically, but it's also really addictive. I've lost count of how many times I've played it since discovering it and it hasn't lost even a little impact yet. The year 1990 has some big competitors for the best metal album of the year, but even with Blind Guardian's Tales from the Twilight World and Judas Priest's Painkiller released the same year, I really do have to say that Never, Neverland is miles ahead of either. This may even be my favourite thrash metal album all told, though I'll confess that it is a genre that I still have a fair bit of exploring to do in.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I think that Carnival Diablos is an excellent album, but I agree it's not in the same league.
more than 2 years ago
The best Annihilator along with Alice in Hell. They've never even come close to this sort of standard since.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks for the comments everyone.

@Khaliq, I personally prefer Pharr but Rampage is great too. I like Joe Comeau from the Carnival Diablos album a lot as well. Not so impressed with Dave Padden on the self-titled though.

UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great album, and nice review.
more than 2 years ago
I've had this album on my "albums to review list" for the last few months. I enjoy just about any song I hear but still haven't found that angle from which to start my review. You have inspired me to listen to the whole thing through again.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Outstanding album and so is "ALice In Hell." After that they got a little more generic
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Macaroni maniac! ;)

I love this album too. I've only recently discovered it myself. I still need to listen to Alice in Hell though.

Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great review, I think I prefer Rampage's voice by a little bit, but Pharr is definitely an excellent vocalist. "Kraf Dinner is the cheesiest thing you'll ever here", I see what you did there. ;-)

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