ANNIHILATOR leader Jeff Waters has opened up about his battle with COVID-19, saying that was left "terrified" and feared for his life for more than half a year. The 55-year-old guitarist/vocalist, who moved to the United Kingdom from his native Canada back in 2018, discussed his recent health issues in a new interview with Bringin' It Backwards. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When we went to this COVID disaster, I took stock of a few things because I got COVID, my wife got it and the kids got it. And I got it really bad because I am older, I was an ex-smoker. I don't drink alcohol for three decades but I'm still not an exerciser. I didn't drink a lot of water. I intook a lot of fast foods. "Basically what it was was the pandemic hit [and] I got COVID bad," he continued. "I had the thing where the elephant was sitting on your chest for two weeks and I was wheezing like a crackling fire. That's how I explained it — whether it was in or out breath, it was a crackling fire. And you were told not to pop asthma medication 'cause that could make it worse." Waters added: "My oxygen level got tested and they said, 'You should probably be in the hospital. If your oxygen level gets any lower, you need to be in the hospital.' And my wife watched me all day and night in another room and made sure I was okay. I isolated 'cause I was scared — we were all terrified over here [in the U.K.], like everywhere. And I recovered partially in about two weeks. I woke up and the elephant was gone. So it was, like, 'Okay, he's not sitting on my chest anymore.' But it took six to seven months. And now I understood what I thought was such a goofy term — 'long COVID.' I was thinking, 'Oh, it's another political bunch of bullshit.' And then I understood it that that was real — COVID was real, but that was real. Because it took over six months. And then I woke up one morning and went, 'Oh, the other half of my lungs are back.' So I went through six and a half months of, 'Oh, shit. Did I just damage my lungs? And is my career, and maybe even life, done here.' And [then] I was back." earMusic recently announced a reissue series of (almost) the entire ANNIHILATOR catalog. Kicking off this extensive catalog campaign is "Metal II", which has been given an overhaul with Dave Lombardo (SLAYER) on drums and lead vocals "re-invented" by Stu Block (INTO ETERNITY, ICED EARTH). The guest list on the album iincludes: Willie Adler (LAMB OF GOD), Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM), Steve "Lips" Kudlow (ANVIL), Dan Beehler (EXCITER), Jesper Strömblad (IN FLAMES), Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY), Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY, NEVERMORE), Anders Björler (THE HAUNTED, AT THE GATES) and Corey Beaulieu (TRIVIUM). In total, 18 records are going to be released over the next few years, including the original 2007 version of the "Metal" album. Founded in 1984, ANNIHILATOR took the metal scene by storm with its debut 1989 release "Alice In Hell", upped the ante with 1990's "Never, Neverland" and has continued a non-stop career-pattern of releasing records and touring with many of the biggest bands in the metal genre (mostly outside North America) ever since; cementing ANNIHILATOR as the biggest-selling metal act in Canada's history.

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