EP Review: ANTHRAX Anthems
If their recent history is any guide, Anthrax has made a great comeback. After a string of mediocre albums and a some time spent in line-up hell, Anthrax emerged with Worship Music, an album by an older band that was actually worth listening to! With a successful album and a string of tours with their big 4 brethren, Anthrax has the momentum of a strong, relevant metal band. Their new EP, Anthems, presumably serves two purposes: keep the iron hot with their fans, and have some fun playing cover songs.
From recent interviews, this was what they had in mind, as singer Joey Belladonna remarked: "These are all bands I grew up with and have listened to forever. It's just great music. I had fun singing these songs and I was happy recording together with Anthrax, doing classic rock songs. Fun stuff!" I was particularly interested to see how the first four songs turned out, especially their covers of "Anthem" (Rush) and "Jailbreak" (Thin Lizzy).
And thus, those are my favorite tracks on this EP. Belladonna's voice is surprisingly well-suited to put a power-metalish spin on Geddy Lee's signature nasal pronouncements. It's also pretty cool to hear these songs with a meaty, heavy, Scott Ian-crunch added to them. Oftentimes, metal covers tend to be overblown and sometimes thoroughly embarrassing. Luckily enough, that is not the case here. Balladona actually carries the performances very well, belting out Boston's "Smokin'" and AC/DC's "TNT" with a good balance of using his own style while keeping close enough to the originals. From this recording and recent live footage, he's definitely aging better than many of his peers. And though I usually don't like Journey (if I hear "Don't Stop Believing" at the bar one more time I swear to god…), Anthrax did such a good job with this cover that it made me curious to hear the original, an accomplishment in itself.
Otherwise, there isn't much else to say about Anthems, other than the fact that the production is fantastic, making it one of the more crisp releases I've heard lately. But for the most part, this is one for Anthrax fanatics who want to have the full discography.
Favorite Songs: "Anthem", "Jailbreak", "Keep on Runnin"