Annihilator - Live At Masters Of Rock DVD (SPV/Riot)

Arguably being one of the biggest metal bands from Canada, Annihilator and founding mainman Jeff Waters have had a long, 25+ year career, with 12 studio albums, 2 live albums and a slew of other releases. One item that has been noticeably absent in their back catalogue is the release of a live DVD. Well, wait no longer.

Filmed at the 2008 Masters of Rock Festival in the Czech Republic, whilst Annihilator were on tour promoting their latest release Metal, this DVD shows the band playing to a rabid and insane festival crowd. The audience is hungry for every note and drum beat that emanates from the stage.

Right from the first note of the crushing King Of The Kill, everything goes insane. The band look absolutely stoked to bits to be there and the 30,000-strong crowd shows its appreciation by responding with a sea of horns, hair and headbanging.

The set-list is comprised of a bunch of old-school Annihilator material such as Set The World On Fire, Alison Hell, Never, Neverland, King Of The Kill and W.T.Y.D, alongside newer material such as Operation Annihilation, Clown Parade and Blackest Day, which all come to life in the live setting.

Being known for having somewhat of a revolving door of musicians over the years, the band is extremely tight. As mentioned above, you can feel the enthusiasm in the musical execution and by the smiles on the band's faces. The rhythm section of bassist Dave Sheldon and drummer Ryan Ahoff do justice to the many musicians who have preceded them, and perfectly play the parts that lay the path for the guitars and vocals. Having been in the band since 2003, lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Padden is an excellent partner in crime to Waters. Padden's vocal style fits very well and this DVD shows he is no slouch on the guitar as he gets a chance to throw down some lead work, alongside solid rhythm playing, backing Waters. Now, down to Mr Annihilator himself, Jeff Waters is really on fire on this DVD, with his insane fretwork and machine-like riffage. He plays with an everlasting smile on his face.

From a visual perspective, it looks quite decent. The film utilises a multi-camera setup, and the editing is a bit slower paced, which enables the viewer to embrace the image without the instant rapid-cut that is seen on a lot of music DVD releases.

The audio department is well taken care of with a punchy and vibrant stereo mix (courtesy of Waters himself) that has all of the instruments nicely balanced and very audible within the whole audio presentation. One thing that could have really sweetened the audio would have been the inclusion of a 5.1 Surround and/or a DTS mix, but beggars can't be choosers so the stereo mix does fine. The bonus audio CD of the concert is also a good inclusion for those who want to thrash out in their car.

As far as many music DVDs go, the Live At Masters Of Rock release comes from the meat and potatoes way of thinking: all you get is the concert and a menu, nothing more and nothing less. It is a bit of a shame because in comparison to many bands' DVD releases, which have so many extras and other related items, it really seems a bit low-budget. But it seems that Annihilator have subscribed to the "let the music do the talking" way of thinking when approaching Live At Masters Of Rock, good or bad. It is still quite an enjoyable show, and Annihilator and old-school metal fans will find themselves putting this DVD through quite a few viewings.

Annihilator's Live At Masters Of Rock is out now through SPV/Riot. Get your copy here.