"Bag of Tricks" is a compilation album by Canadian thrash metal band, Annihilator. Members on the album were Jeff Waters (vocals/guitar/bass), Randy Rampage (vocals), Coburn Pharr (vocals), Dave Scott Davis (guitar), Neil Goldberg (guitar), Wayne Darley (bass), Ray Hartmann (drums), Mike Mangini (drums) and Paul Malek (drums).
It is a bit strange for a band to release a compilation album after just three studio albums but I for one am very happy Annihilator chose to release this compilation. It is a mix of demo's, remastered songs and live tracks that first appeared on "Alice in Hell" (1989), "Never, Neverland" (1990) and "Set the World on Fire" (1993).
The demo's come from way back when the band was just first starting out. I say band, but what I mean is Jeff Waters on his own, as he played every instrument. He would do something similar on 1994's "King of the Kill", singing as well as playing guitars and bass.
The album is, as you would expect, a bit hit and miss. Sure, the songs on it are good; "Alison Hell" has always been a favourite of mine, but it's obviously lacking in quality production. The live songs are good to hear with "W.T.Y.D." enjoying a faster than studio version approach and a treat for fans of AC/DC, with Annihilator covering "Live Wire".
In summary, you'd probably only want this album if you were a hardcore fan of the band. Anything short of that and it's not really worth the money. It seems this was put out in order for the band to fulfil a record deal and record something new with another label. Thumbs down from me.
1. Alison Hell (remastered version)
2. Phantasmagoria (demo version)
3. Back to the Crypt
5. Human Insecticide (live)
6. The Fun Palace (extended mix)
7. W.T.Y.D. (live)
8. Word Salad (live)
9. Live Wire (live)
10. Knight Jumps Queen (demo version)
11. Fantastic Things
12. Bats in the Belfry
13. Evil Appetite
14. Gallery '86
15. Alison Hell '86
16. Phantasmagoria '86
My rating: 5/10