Cities - Annihilation Absolute

Cities - Annihilation Absolute

\r\nHeavy metal history, especially in the 80s, is full of examples of bands like Cities. That is, bands which released an amazing debut album but afterwards lacked the luck, the technical abilities or the skills to build a career based on their first success.
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\r\nCities were born and raised in New York City, where they were formed as a band in 1980. Their first and practically only line up was Ron Angel in vocals, Steve Mironovich in guitar and Sal Mayne in bass, while their first drummer was Greg D’Angelo (who later moved on to White Lion) and the second was A.J Pero. In 1982 Pero left Cities to become a member of Twisted Sister and in his place came Scott Dubois, who also was a member of Nuclear Assault (to sum up the drummer position in this band was starting to remind us something familiar with Spinal Tap!). During the years 1982 – 1985, Cities played all the time in New York city with bands like Joe Perry Project, Anvil, Manowar, Riot (who were also from New York City) and Metallica (let’s keep in mind that Metallica’s first record label, Ron Zazula’s Megaforce Records had it’s headquarters in New York city). During those years, Cities released 4 demos, from which lead up to a 6 song E.P. which was recorded in 1985 and was released through the british Metal Masters Records.
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\r\nThis E.P. is considered the first version of “Annihilation Absolute”, since the next year the band re-records the tracks from the E.P. along with three new ones (and with A.J. Pero in drums again since Scott Dubois had already left the band) and that is the final L.P. version of “Annihilation Absolute”, which was released through Metal Blade Records with a slightly different cover.
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\r\nAs long as the pure musical part is concerned, things are quite simple and do not require too much overthinking. That’s because the whole album can be described by two words: heavy metal! You know, Jag Panzer, Armored Saint, Exciter, Oliver Magnum.. do these names ring a bell? This is one of those albums that we would use to make someone understand what heavy metal is all about. Steve Mironovich gives an amazing performance with the guitars, creating incredible riffs and flawless solos, without over-playing in any case, and Ron Angel lives up to the spirit the songs demand in each case, like a heavy mid-tempo piece like “Stop The Race” or the crushing “Fight For Your Life”. In general, the album moves in mid tempo full of volume tones, but it also includes more speedy songs which leave more room for Mironovich to show off his skills in the performance but also in composing area. As long as the bass and drums are considered, they totally live up to the circumstances, with A.J. Pero playing more aggressive than we remember from Twisted Sister and Sal Mayne crucially contributing to the volume I mentioned before, because he practically owns the album. Surely, songs like “Stop The Race”, the explosive “Fight For Your Life” or the almost doom-ish “Cruel Sea”, grasp the attention of the listener, but it would be a true injustice for the rest of the songs if we were to pick those out, since this is one of those albums that you have to listen from start to end without any interruptions (and then go back and do it again and again!). It would also be pointless to try and find flaws in this album, since those are almost always overpowered by the overall quality of this album. I am sure, the production could be a little better, maybe even a bit clearer, but let’s not forget that this album was recorded in 1986 with a really small budget.
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\r\nThe course of time did not give Cities the attributes they deserved for the release of this amazingly good album. You see, they were not called Bon Jovi and they did not write lyrics about sex, drugs or rock n’ roll. The album was widely appreciated at it’s time by a large group of metalheads, but didn’t keep the band from splitting up one year after this album’s release. Of course, that does not mean that albums like this shouldn’t get the attention and advertising they deserve, and eventually get what they are worth, even after 23 years after their release. Aren’t true (metal) diamonds forever?
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\r\nLambros “Metalshock” Panetas\r\n

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\r\nTranslation: Iro Kapeloni
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