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ANTHRAX – Anthems

| 23 May 2013 | Reply

Nuclear Blast
March 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Anthrax - Anthems EP

Anthrax prove that they and their thrash and speed metal cohorts (and thus, by extension, every extreme metal band ever) came from old heavy rock stock with this 7 track EP covering some of their favourite influential tracks from their youth.

The track listing doesn’t hold a lot of surprises to long-time fans of the band – Rush, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, Boston and Journey have long been cited as game changers for Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna and Co. What’s perhaps surprising is that there’s no Kiss or Pantera track featured knowing Ian’s penchant for those bands.

The biggest surprise, however, is hearing this massively influential thrash metal band play mostly by the rules on these classic tracks: there’s a little more crunch to the guitars and a little more weight behind the drumsticks, but mostly the renditions herein are pretty faithful to the originals. Belladonna’s vocals even partially mimic the originals.

Here’s a quick run through: Rush’s magnificent Anthem is first up, Belladonna taking honours with a faithful high-pitched vocal delivery that does great justice to the song, even if it does sound a little like Wolfmother in parts.

AC/DC’s T.N.T. shows the singer at his rawest, while again the band deliver on all cylinders but without standing out at all. Boston’s Smokin’ may be the finest track here, Anthrax sounding like they never have before with Fred Mandel laying down some great Hammond organ, and a fiery performance from the entire band.

Journey’s Keep On Runnin’ lets Belladonna off the leash to do his best Steve Perry impression, while Cheap Trick’s Big Eyes and Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak sound like above average pub covers, but don’t shine.

The album version and a remix of Crawl pad the time out and bring the EP to a close, just in time to go back and re-listen to those first clutch of songs again. There’s no radical rebooting of the music here, just the sound of Anthrax having some fun in the studio on songs they love, which in itself is well worth the price of admission.


Category: CD Reviews

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