|Classic Review: Cities - Annihilation Absolute|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1986
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: February 8, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4.28/5 (85.56%) (18 Votes)
The band Cities had a lot going against them in 1986. For starters, their name doesn't exactly scream "Heavy Metal." 1986 was also a time when a lot of American metal bands had been signed to major labels and Cities was stuck on Metal Blade. The most notable thing about them was their drummer, A.J. Pero, who used to be in (and would be in again) Twisted Sister. I remember a lot of people, including myself, who steered clear of Annihilation Absolute because they didn't want to hear "We're Not Gonna Take It" or "I Wanna Rock" for the millionth time.
Wow, what a colossal mistake. This album is NOTHING like Twisted Sister. Cities was in the Metal Church/Savatage/Armored Saint camp. Heavy, hook-filled riffs, a solid rhythm section (who thought Pero could play this aggressively?) and some great mid-range, powerful vocals from singer Ron Angell. Guitarist Steve Mironovich may not have been the most technically proficient axe slinger of his day, but he really let it all hang out on his solos. Just listen to him rip up the fret board during the extended solo beginning at the 4:01 mark of "Shades of Black." They don't write songs like that anymore. The rest of the album is full of pounding riffs from the opener "Stop the Race," which features a memorable screamed chorus, to the closer, "Deceiver," easily one of the best tracks on the album. There are NO BALLADS! "Cruel Sea" is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. All the band did was slow down the tempo from mid-paced, the tempo used on the majority of the album, while retaining all the heaviness.
Annihilation Absolute suffers from the usual production problems of the time, i.e. a somewhat muddy mix and the overuse of echo, neither of which takes much away from the overall listening experience. Some of the riffs are not as memorable as others, but Cities found a winning formula on Annihilation Absolute and worked it to near perfection. Recommended.
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