Released in 1990 this was one of the last true thrash albums to impact on the mainstream market. Through out the mid to late 80's Anthrax with Metallica, had led Thrash and more importantly extreme (which it was for it's time) music into the public spotlight. By 1990 Thrash had reached it's commercial height, but was about to die a sad and premature death. While the album itself was never going to better Anthrax's masterpiece Among The Living released in 1987, it still continued Anthrax evolution from 1988 State Of Euphoria and managed to sound fresh and new unlike a lot of the other Thrash band such as Slayer who's album Seasons In The Abyss, also released in 1990 sounded as if they were simply repeating South Of Heaven from 2 years earlier. Persistence Of Time itself captured the sound of the time. While still firmly rooted in the old school sound they had made for themselves in the 80's there were hints of the new progressive sound the would use to reinvent for themselves in the 90's with John Bush. As usual with Anthrax the rhythm section of Ian, Benate and Bello out does any other Thrash outfit. Dan Spitz often over looked as a lead guitarist plays some of the best solos of his carer, while Joey Belladonna sings out of his skin epitomising the operatic style used by many Thrash bands of the 80's, on what would be his last studio album with the band. If you are a fan of any of Anthrax's albums during the 80's you really should by this album as it is not just a classic Anthrax album but a classic of the genre.
Without a doubt the best Anthrax album so far. Among the Living is a classic and is awesome and will always be thought of as superior (a la Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast), but technically it pales in comparison to Persistence. Everything came together for this release. State of Euphoria was great, not as great as Among, but lacked a certain edge. Persistence truly sounds like a band at the top of their game, making great music because they've got to get these songs out of their head. They gel perfectly and all sound comfortable, older, more seasoned. Yes it sounds like they're getting all serious and boring - serious yes, boring no - but age and experience is a great recipe for success. However there is still a playfulness that interweaves throughout, as on 'Got the Time', one of the most frenetic and truly bonkers and truly flawless metal songs written (think 'Chop Suey' by System of a Down ish) and the wonderfully thrashy closer, 'Discharge'.
The change here is the heaviness is ramped up and the thrash is toned down. They no longer can be called thrash (the same goes for Metallica, in my humble), just a damned good heavy metal outfit. Just take the opener, 'Time'. It does indeed take its time - which is another great aspect: they are not afraid to let the song grow and make its own way, not scared to put the listener off - but it almost feels like it creates itself as chunks of verse come building up to chunks of chorus, accompanied by a primal drumbeat throughout the entire duration of the track marking each milestone like a hammer knocking in rivets. 'Blood' is another behemoth, only in a more traditional sense. Great chorus, very chunky sound, everything seems tightened to the nth degree. 'Keep it in the Family'is a triumph of song-writing. For a 'thrash' band it is painfully plodding but the guitars sound so beautiful, round and deep and enveloping. It is one of their best. What follows is just more of the same excellence. 'In My World' is an epic sounding masterpiece, 'Gridlock' is a more thrashy (but in a thoughtful way) track, using repitition and simple structures, in much the same way as 'Time', to create a very interesting tone. 'Intro to Reality' leads beautifully into 'Belly of the Beast' - a true classic - which then cuts to the wonderful bass intro to 'Got the Time' - yet another true classic. 'H8Red' is probably the only below par track. 'One Man Stands' is much like 'In My World' and is just as good, and 'Discharge' tops it all off perfectly.
This was their pinnacle. What came before was definitely great, albeit flawed, and what came after is mainly flawed, albeit with some gems. Now they have reunited with Joey maybe there's room in the world for a follow up to this great record?
Genre defining? Slightly irrelevant now like all 80's "Thrash" reviews (I know this is a 1990 release) Metallica, Megadeth, testament, Exodus, Atheist, fook the name dropping this album rocks, it is great I love it, if you do too, then fookin A! Joey realises his vocal apex, (no Warblin). Interesting riffs, quite progressive (only because the tracks are more then 5 minutes long)
Try it, if you don't like it, it should have only cost you a fiver so sell it a a boot fair.
This was never my favourite Anthrax album, I bought it on vinyl at the time and maybe due to where I was in my life, the more complex, almost progressive nature of some of the songs did not sit right with me at the time.
In retrospect, "The Persistence of Time" is second only to "Among The Living". As much as I still like "State of Euphoria", sandwiched between "AtL" and "PoT", "State of Euphoria" now sounds rather empty and souless.
I always much preferred the Joey-era of Anthrax and Belladonna sounds mighty fine on "PoT"...darker and more menacing, rumbling with some of the heavyweight subject matter.
"Persistence of Time" still stands as a fine Anthrax album and certainly belies its age.
A really good album. All the way through it has quality songs. From the frantic first title track with it's great riff and grove change, "Mosh" is great track especially live, The great Judge Dred influenced "I am the law" is awesome, truly a classic. All the way through it is filled with great riffs and the drums are top notch. All in all it really is among their best.