Sniper 66 Annihilator Review

Sniper 66 is a staple in the vibrant Austin punk scene. They were one of those bands I listened to, but never knew was from Austin until I moved to Austin. Their sound is a generous mix of Oi! and street punk with some melodic 90’s style punk and some hardcore punk thrown in for good measure. They have a sound that is familiar yet fresh. The energy and rawness in their music is matched by few punk bands I have seen in this day and age. Their sound also translates very well to their live performances. Most songs have all members of the band harmonizing and singing which again adds to the power of their sound and live show. It has been awhile since the band has put out an album and with their 3rd album they decided to loosely base it on the 1st documented serial killer in the US, the Servant Girl Annihilator who resided in Austin. With darker subject matter will the album follow suit? Red further as we unpack the latest offering from some of Austin’s finest.

  1. Annihilator – Sniper kicks their new album off with the title track of the album. After a nice little melodic build up the guitars let loose as their lead singer Dylan Close warns “There is an evil hidden in the shadows/please make sure your doors are locked and keep your windows closed”.  As you should know this song’s lyrical matter deals directly with The Servant Girl Annihilator. The song has a steady gallop to it with a lot of melody injected throughout the song. Leave it to these guys and gal to make an upbeat song with a sing a long chorus about a serial killer. The song never lets up and is a great way to kick off the album. From start to finish this song rips. I can see this song becoming a live staple of their set.
  2. Fight Together – Fight together follows the momentum of the first song and hits the ground running. As you can tell by the song title this song has a message of unity. I really dig the main melodic guitar riff that you hear towards the beginning of the song. It pops up a few more times in different parts. The song is very fast paced with just enough melody to be super catchy and uplifting. The solo towards the end of the track is pretty rad as well.
  3. When It’s Gone – When it’s gone is another straight forward track that starts up beat and never loses steam. I feel like this song has less melody than the first few and more of a straight up punk rock vibe to it. There are some really crunchy guitar parts on this song. The gang vocals on the chorus are a nice touch.
  4. Make It Mine- Make it Mine is probably one of the most uplifting and empowering songs on the album. It is all about living for the day and making your dreams become a reality. The song has a raw feel to it as Dylan’s vocals are front and center on this track more so than some of the others before. They again layer the aggressive sounding guitars with tinges of melody all over the track. Another one of my favorite songs on this album.
  5. It Died Today- They start this song off with a small guitar solo, fast paced guitars, and a chorus that has Dylan and company singing “It Died Today The American Dream”. This song’s lyrical content focuses more on the current state of our country and some of the horrible things that are on the news more often than they should be. Like the songs before it all parts of this band are firing on all cylinders. From drums to bass to guitars to everyone chipping in on vocals you can hear all the parts that make everything come together. It is the shortest song on the album but the instrumentation and lyrics are straight to the point.
  6. Not Perfect- Not perfect probably has the most light hearted feel to it of all the songs on the album. With lyrics like “I am not perfect but I got plenty of life to live”. It is somewhat of a love song and a very melodic song. The lyrics convey the idea that no one is perfect, but we all have time to grow and change. The guitar riffs are playful and upbeat. This is another song that will be a great sing along song.
  7. Grind Me Down- Halfway through the album and we have another pretty straight forward punk song that conveys the idea of fighting those that are trying to oppress and break you. The guitar keeps the main riff through most of the song. There are a few parts in the songs where they slow things down briefly to rock out, but for the most part they stick to the path the song started from the beginning.
  8. Servant Girl- This song revisits the serial killer theme with their drummer April singing most of the lyrics in the song. There is a lot of vocal harmonizing on this song and definitely one of their most impressive songs on the album. The lyrics follow the thoughts of a servant girl as she is getting killed by the serial killer. I really dig the melodic riffs that come in towards the halfway point of this song and show up in a few other parts.
  9. Psycho- This song seems to be written from the perspective of the killer and it is definitely one of the most aggressive songs on the album. The guitars are constantly churning as Dylan belts out lyrics describing the killer’s path of destruction. I can see this song being a good pit starter and once again they came up with a sing a long chorus to go with the darker lyrical content. This song is fast and in your face with all kinds of tasty guitar parts littered all over it.
  10. Never Turning Back- Never Turning Back scales back the tempo of the last song to bring us a slower rocker. It is the longest song on the album and a pretty straight forward affair. The lyrical theme is what is done is done and it’s time to move on as Dylan shouts “When I am gone you will try to follow me/Bridges Burning into the Sea”. The song is a little softer than the last few and has all the members helping out on singing the chorus. There is a lot of melody on this song which is not a bad thing.
  11. The Engineer- If I had to guess this song is about Dylan’s mom, but if not it is definitely about someone’s mom in the band. The song is another mid-paced song where the vocals are front and center most of the song. The lyrics talk about a woman who raised a man into the person he is today. It is definitely a tribute to a hardworking woman who sacrificed and fought to give him the best life she could. This is a very happy and uplifting song from the instrumentation to the lyrics.
  12. Epidemic- This song starts out with a really catchy riff as it picks up speed towards the beginning of the song. The song itself is another pretty straight forward melodic punk romp. There are a few cool little guitar parts added in for some variation. The line “This is an epidemic/It happens everyday/the thing that makes me sick is that it’s never going to change” sums up the political leaning lyrics of the song.
  13. Greedy Bastards- Greedy Bastards kicks off with some melodic guitars and Dylan shouting lyrics about the current people that run this world. The gang vocals on this song really kick ass. They keep the fast paced melodic sound going with some aggressive parts thrown in for good measure. This song definitely takes to task the 1% while talking about taking them down over some killer instrumentation.
  14. Why’d You Have to Die- The next to last song is a tribute to those that have died before their time. It is a pretty straight forward mid-paced punk tune with a good bit of melody injected. The song is definitely about a friend of the band and honoring their memory. They don’t really pull any tricks on this song. Just a very heartfelt tribute to someone close passing. The guitar is steady and catchy the whole way through the song until it slowly fades out.
  15. In His Grave- Sniper ends their album with a song about how the Servant Girl Annihilator will keep killing until he is lying in his grave. This song is another more mid paced song compared to most of the other songs on the album. I dig the melodic intro this song has as Dylan starts singing of the killer’s murderous ways and how the only way he will stop is when he is dead. The gang vocals on this song really add to it as well. Trading out more aggressive guitar sounds for a melodic song with dark lyrical content works really well for this song.I really enjoyed Sniper 66’s new album. I like that there was a loose concept, but that they covered a lot of other subjects in addition to the serial killer material. I would say this is definitely the most diverse sounding album they have put out. If you liked their first two records there is a lot of stuff you will like on this record. They seemed to have found a way to incorporate more melody and different tones and riffs on this record compared to their last two. This is definitely the most complete record they have ever released. I also really enjoy this record because even with them trying some new things it instantly sounds like a Sniper 66 record. From the catchy riffs and chorus’s, to all members sharing some vocal duties, and the mix of different punk styles there is very little to complain about if you are a punk rock fan. This album does exactly what the title says it Annihilates. If you love punk give these guys a spin and catch them in their element live.

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