It is always a treat when a CD arrives in my mail box from seemingly out of nowhere and ends up surprising me with its metallic might. Such was the case with "Throne of the Annunaki" from New Jersey's ANNUNAKI. Thirteen songs of blistering blackened thrash with snippets of death metal, the band seeks not to awe with artistic trailblazing, but instead send a message that the roots the old school are still growing in places like Bayonne.The lineup of guitarist John Blicharz, drummer Kevin Kuzma (ex-BLOOD FEAST), vocalist Tony Stanziano, and bassist/backing vocalist Karl Odenwalder go to great lengths to rip your head right off its torso. There is a great deal of vintage evil woven into these songs, the likes of which reminds of early SLAYER, though more in overall feel than musical delivery. What you get is pedal-to-the-metal thrash ripping with Stanziano's violent and raspy style and Blicharz nasty riffs and screaming solos. At 50 minutes, the disc ends up running on a bit too long, particularly for this kind of album. Forty minutes or so would have been filling enough. Then again, it is not something with which most fans would take issue, "the more, the better" more than likely being the point of view taken. Songs such as "Torture", with its well-placed chorus growl, the alternately mid-paced and up-tempo black metal approach of "Dysphoria Delirium", and the full-on rage of album-opener "Through Chaos" is the stuff of leather clad long-hairs and spiky wrist bands. If I had to choose a highlight, it would most certainly be "March of the Militia of the Dead", its chorus a triumphant call to arms for metal warriors throughout the land. Those of a more traditional metal bent would surely call "Throne of the Annunaki" a much-need kick in the ass for a scene overpopulated with 'core pretenders and mix-and-match wannabe trend setters. Don't look to be bowled over with reinvention, just raise the horns and crank this puppy to 10. Two-word review: darn solid.
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