Annihilator’s Jeff Waters Is Stepping Down as the Band’s Lead Vocalist

Annihilator co-founder Jeff Waters recently revealed he'll be stepping down as the longtime thrash metal band's lead vocalist for future performances, choosing instead to focus solely on guitar playing.

Last year, he uncovered his battle with COVID-19.

Waters, who formed Annihilator with original singer John Bates in Canada in 1984, has already announced a replacement vocalist for upcoming shows. It's the same musician who already sings on Annihilator's upcoming Metal II, a re-recorded version of the band's 2007 album, Metal.

That would be current Into Eternity vocalist and ex-Iced Earth member Stu Block. Metal II, out Feb. 18, also features contributions from ex-Slayer drummer and musical journeyman Dave Lombardo.

Ultimately, Waters said he decided, "I'm not singing anymore. I'm a guitar player."

As he explained to Blabbermouth in an interview from Thursday (Jan. 27), "I asked [Block] if he would do the reunion thing — because it's been 31 or 32 years or something for our first three Roadrunner [Records] albums. To North America, those are the only ones anyone has ever heard, especially the first two. We actually have another 14 albums."

Indeed, Annihilator has had a prolific career since their beginnings in Ottawa, Ontario. Five Annihilator albums sit between the original Metal and February's re-recorded effort. Waters did several stints on lead vocals over the years, often between other singers.

He continued, "When I talked to Stu Block and Dave Lombardo about doing this [album] — it's not a new record, but I consider it [a] 're-envisioning.' It's not meant to be some competitive thing. The drummer on the original, Mike Mangini, is probably one of the best drummers in the world. Dave Padden, our singer and guitar player, was great. It wasn't about that. It was, 'Let's release a second version.' Not stomp on the past."

In December 2021, Waters underscored the severity of symptoms he had with COVID and acknowledged the reality of long COVID, saying he no longer thinks the term for describing post-COVID conditions is a politically-driven lie as he once did.

Pre-order Annihilator's Metal II here.

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