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Sorry to be the odd one out. But just who are Anthrax anymore?
on 12 October 2011
Everytime they bring out a new album it's like listening to a new band (I guess because it often effectively IS a new band!).
This is COMPLETELY different to "We've come for you all", for example. Each time we buy a new Anthrax album it's like trying a new artist for the first time. The only added bonus is that it's unlikely to be awful. (Because at least, unlike some bands - Metallica, are you listening? - they are more consistent in quality.)
I just feel they've lost their identity so many times (not to mention band members) that does anybody care anymore that the name is still the same? It's great that bands change; but normally it's great if they progressed but retained their ID -- rather than swinging madly, like Poe's pendulum. (I defy anyone to play Anthrax's last handful of albums to someone who's never heard them, and have that person recognise that it's all the same band!)
Based on the other reviews here, I purchased this album with high expectations. Unfortunately, they were not met. It's not bad, it's not great and it's certainly not awesome. It's just, for me, mediocre. (I can't help feeling that reviewers here are putting on their rose tinted glasses - because 'Joey's back' and it's been a long, long time since the last album - and hearing what they want to hear.) In time, it will not be an album that comes to one's lips when speaking of "the greats".
Now, like others, I have been an Anthrax fan since the 80's. Along with Maiden, Deep Purple, Metallica etc. they were the kind of band that made me want to play the guitar (which I did, and joined a band with my school mates - good days!).
It's easy to see, in the early days of thrash (I am the Law, Indians, Among the Living, Master of Puppets, For Whom the Bell Tolls, etc. etc.) why anyone would want to be a metal guitarist. Awesome, unique, crunching riffs. Not just at the intros, but all the way through the songs. The golden era when one would be quite happy to be a rhthym guitarist (like James Hetfield) and leave the solos to others.
Has this album got ONE track that comes close? Not for me, I'm afraid:
* Not one single killer opening riff(s you'll never find yourself humming a riff to yourself from this album; humming a slayer-like open bottom e thrash rhythm isn't quite the same I'm afraid)
* No bone crunching rhythm riffs
* Mediocre solos (never a strong point anyway - sorry Dan!)
The most melodic it gets is Joey's vocals (to the point where it sounds like he wants to release a commercial single - but the thrash guitars in the background will never allow it).
I'm sorry, but if this didn't have Anthrax on the front, we'd all be saying, "it's OK - but it's really just another album lost in the sea of similar thrash".
Personally, I thought "We've come for you all" was so fresh, so different. It was like Sacred Reich (vocals) meets Anthrax (riffing). With this album, I thought Anthrax had finally turned a corner in a new direction that I was hoping they would stay on! (Even though I would have had no idea it was Anthrax, if someone else had played it to me for the first time.)
As for the much cried for (in some camps: I myself was in the "not bothered" catagory) "return Joey!" success: there's only a few times, in my opinion, that you'd notice that it IS Joey singing on this album; in much the same way that most people wouldn't recognise James Hetfield from the Black album compared to, say, his vocals on Kill 'Em All. People's vocals mature radically as they get (much!) older.
This isn't a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. Joey's vocals are very good but, for me, don't bring anything extra to the table as the underlying music didn't have the aforementioned qualities and, for me, didn't always gel that well with his voice.
It's just nothing GRABS you on this album. Not one single track makes your ears perk up with that, "Wow! Awesome!" feeling that, say, Among the Living had in abundance. (e.g everyone reading this can doubtless hum the I am the Law, Indians and Among the Living opening riffs; even, I would suspect, if you haven't listened to the album for over a decade.)
If you like Thrash/Metal then you'll find NOTHING to dislike here. However, if like me, after listening to metal/thrash for over 27 years (or even if you haven't), I suspect you'll find nothing to LOVE either.