I’ve just been listening to the Anihilated album “Anti Social Engineering” album. It’s such a great album and you can tell the band put every ounce of energy into making it a ‘must have’ if you’re into heavy/thrash metal with a social/political edge.
It’s such a good album it has prompted me to write something about it and them.
But what do I write that hasn’t been written already?
Getting near perfect scores on all the metal pages that are out there in internet land?
Its been done!
Tearing up wherever they play?
It’s been done.
So I decided to write a little bit of history about them, me and our friendship.
I first heard and saw Anihilated in the dark and distant past. 1987 to be precise.,at was probably, no definitely, the best club in London at the time. Klubfoot at the Clarendon Ballroom in Hammersmith.
Anihilated were supporting Death Angel that night, September 16, and opening was a band called Chelsea
I must admit I have no recollection of Chelsea playing. I was probably at the bar (Shhh) or maybe they just weren’t my thing.
I do however remember Anihilated being bloody amazing and, as the saying goes, being right up my street! A perfect blend of early thrash metal with a punky element.
What’s not to like?
After they had played, and being a much more gregarious person back then, I approached guitarist Mark Beuchet (aka Bucket) and started chatting over a pint (Shhh)). After a while we were joined by drummer Paul ‘Bod’ Rodwell and I bought the 12 inch vinyl “Path To Destruction”.
I remember having a great time chatting to them and we all watched Death Angel together during which I was introduced to bassist Lee Hittman and the larger than life vocalist/guitarist Simon Cobb.
Back then there was no such things as mobile phones. No internet, no Facebook, Twitter and so on. How did we survive? More importantly, how did we stay in touch?
We exchanged telephone numbers. And if you didn’t have a telephone you swapped addresses and wrote to each other.
Well, Bucket and me swapped numbers and stayed in touch. He sent me an early demo of Anihilated, “The Speedwell Demo”, and you can certainly tell the difference between that and “Path To Destruction” and the progression from a punk band to a more Metal influence. Back then it was called ‘Crossover’, I don’t know if it still is.
Post gig at Hammersmith Train Station.
I saw Anihilated a few more times after that first encounter, staying in touch with Bucket, meeting at the bar (no more Shhh, I’d turned 18 now!), generally having a great time and, usually, getting completely wasted! How I made it home sometimes is beyond me but, hey, I’m here to tell the tale!
About April 1988 Bucket invited me to stay at his for a weekend. I’m not sure, or rather I can’t remember, if this was about the time that Anihilated released their first full length album “Created In Hate” or if it was before or after. I’ve tried to locate an exact release date but can’t find it, but it was released in 1988. Honest!
That weekend was absolutely nuts. That is the only word for it. I thought I could drink. But, bugger me, this lot could drink! Granted they were a few, and some a few more, years older than me but, bugger me, this lot could drink! So much so that I put that in twice!
In fact, that Friday night me and Bod, after an extremely heavy drinking session, sat up at Bucket’s after he had gone to bed (Lightweight!) and drank a bottle of Ouzo.
The next day was interesting.
Bod and me went into town as Bucket was working (I’ll forgive him for being a lightweight!) and everything was a daze.
We were both having periods where we would just ‘zone out’ and then come to, not knowing what had happened for the past few seconds. For example, “How did I get here? I don’t remember crossing the road. Do you?”
“Yes, but I don’t remember what you just said. What did you say?”
Needless to say, I’m not a fan of Ouzo now and looking back that was quite scary. But we were young. Well, I was! (Sorry Bod!)
“Created In Hate” is a good album that firmly placed Anihilated in the heavy/thrash metal genre lifting them out of the punk category yet keeping their ethical beliefs in the lyrical content. The only issue with it was the production. Technically, it’s brilliant and well executed but the sound, unfortunately, let it down.
Still, Anihilated kept gigging. I kept going to see them play and I made regular visits to Bucket’s home town getting to know a hell of a lot of people there.
I won’t name them in order to protect the innocent but, if they read this, they know who they are.
I wonder if there are any old photos of those times?
There wasn’t the technology of digital cameras, let alone a camera on your phone that connects to the world wide web and can be shared and seen by everyone in an instant.
If anyone has any photos please send them to me.
1989 saw Anihilated release their second full length album “The Ultimate Desecration”.
This time the production was much better. Perfect, in fact. So this should see them flying high with the rest of the bands touring and at least making a small wage from playing, right?
I always said if Anihilated had come from The States or, even, Germany they would have been huge but, coming from good ol’ Blighty, it just wasn’t to be and time waits for no man. Anihilated, unfortunately, went into hiatus.
Spring forward 20 years.
I’m speaking with Bucket on the telephone (yup, in touch still!) and he tells me that somewhere in a dusty attic or cellar the master tapes of “Created In Hate” were found.
With the technology now available he was able to clean up the sound with the exception of a small portion and re-release it on CD.
Did I mention that there was no CD’s back then also?
Anyway, “Created In Hate” was available again. Smart!
He also had the master tapes of “The Ultimate Desecration” and that was available again. Smart!
And both had bonus tracks on them. Smarter!
The Black Box Set incl the reissues of “Created In Hate” and “The Ultimate Desecration”.
So what about getting them distributed?
There was always a large Anihilated following in Europe and South America and the news of the reissues was widely welcomed there. But tackling the UK would be another matter.
What do you do to regain interest in your own country and get people to by CD’s?
You play gigs.
But the band hadn’t played in bloody years. And would they want to play even? After all, the years have gone by, people move on, have families and so on.
Surprisingly, after talks, all but Lee were up for it. So Si moved to playing bass and into the fold came Todd Manning on guitar.
This was nearing my 40th birthday and I had decided about 10 months earlier that I wanted to put on a gig to celebrate this coming of age.
My good friends in Denounce were happy to play. And I’d already secured Avenge Thee And Naime and grindmasters Victim Identified. But who could the 4th band be?
I was struggling.
Then, speaking with Bucket one evening I shyly asked if Anihilated was ready to gig and would they like to play at my birthday party. He said he would like to but he’d have to ask the rest of the band.
A few days later Bucket called me to say that Anihilated would be happy to play but they did not want to headline as it would be one of their first gigs in a VERY long time.
If anyone had seen my smiling during that conversation they surely would have thought I was having a clinical moment!
Needless to say my 40th birthday was amazing with a packed house at the venue I hired. Everyone had a great time and Anihilated showed they hadn’t lost it after all these years.
I was introduced to Todd pre gig and we got on immediately, as I had with the other guys in 1987.
The 5 years since then has seen Anihilated release 3 albums, play at the prestigious Beermageddon Festival, play live on Ipswich Community Radio and play at a little festival we like to call Bloodstock!
It also saw Bucket leave Anihilated and Danny B joining the ranks. Danny is a great guitarist and a bloody great bloke. A superb replacement for Bucket.
I have, of course, been to as many Anihilated gigs as possible, travelling up and down the country to do so, keeping up and building on a friendship with them that has lasted nearly 30 years.
They have been going from strength to strength with an ever growing following.
I refer to my earlier comment. If you want to get to the people of Britain, you’ve got to gig. And then some. It is at gigs where bands will sell CD’s and other merchandise to keep them going and to get the next CD recorded.
I’d like to thank Anihilated for being such great friends and for being there for me through thick and thin.
Here’s to many, many more years, gigs and beers. (Shhh!)
And by the way. Did I tell you? I’ve even got an Anihilated tattoo!
Tattoo by Andy Joss at K2 Body Art, Richmond.
Thanks to The Jules Throne Historical Re-enactment Society for the photos of the Death Angel ticket and post show photo on the train station. Can you guess which one is me?