Annihilation Time

The collision of Seventies hard-rock riffs and Eighties hardcore aggression has long been a volatile combination, successfully mined by the likes of Zeke, Nashville Pussy, and the late-lamented REO Speedealer. Though quintet Annihilation Time doesn't careen through songs at the same maniacal tempos as those bands, its explosive third album delivers more blinding guitar fury and dirtbag rawk anthems than any recording in recent memory. After 30 seconds of what sounds like ominous, atonal violin scraping, opener "Splashback" kicks into what serves as the template for most of this blazing effort. Guitarists Graham Clise and Wes Warden unleash intricate twin six-string mayhem over the locomotive rhythm of bassist Chris Grande and drummer Noel Sullivan while singer Jimmy Rose howls over the neck-snapping racket. The album concentrates mostly on crass celebrations of overindulgence ("Germ Freak [I Ain't No]" and "Just Guzzlin'") and middle-finger ditties aimed at straight society ("About to Snap," "Get a Job"). But the band also shows some depth with "Flight into Forever," a punk ode to a deceased friend that rocks ferociously and pays poignant tribute with its stunning Skynyrd-meets-Maiden harmonized guitar break. Twisting elements of Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, and D.R.I. into a raw, pile-driving sound, Annihilation Time pulls off a remarkable distillation of all that is heavy.

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Dave Pehling