Anthems review by Anthrax

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  • Released: Mar 19, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.4 (34 votes)
Anthrax: Anthems

Sound — 6
Anthrax aren't quite the dangerous, despicable thrash-peddlers they were thirty years ago. Despite all the lineup drama, they've grown and maintained a reputation as the loveable journeymen of heavy metal. They're friendly uncle who slips you some pocket money as he shakes your hand, and they've got the taste in music to prove it too. They cover Boston, Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick among others on "Anthems" as they pull some '70s classics from the archives and give them a going over with the stylings of a veteran metal band.

However, those stylings are mostly cosmetic; Ian and co. are so faithful to the originals that the crunch of a modern electric guitar is sometimes the only giveaway. Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes" gets quite the revamp after 35 years of progress in recording technology but AC/DC's "T.N.T." sounds much the same more to their credit than Anthrax's detraction. The tunes are uniformly good but there's only so much enjoyment to be gleaned from these sorts of covers, and most of it will be for big Anthrax fans who like hearing the familiar guitar tones and drum sounds applied a little differently. In truth the highlight is a remix of "Crawl", one of the band's own songs, which lathers the thing in "S&M"-style orchestral backing to rather dramatic effect and reminds us all that they can write something half-decent themselves.

Lyrics — 7
There's not much use in scrutinising the lyrics, especially when we're dealing with testosterone-fuelled classic rock. Joey Belladonna does a pretty reasonable job of imitating some unmistakable singers though, including Bon Scott, Phil Lynott and one of the toughest nuts to crack - Geddy Lee. It takes a pretty talented guy to handle all these styles (particularly after the beating Joey's given his throat and liver over the years) but you do wonder whether he's trying a little too hard to sound like Brad, Bon or Geddy and forgetting that the best covers redefine the originals.

Overall Impression — 7
It may sound a redundant thing to say but if you like Belladonna's Anthrax and you like some of the songs covered then you'll get a few listens out of this. If not then chances are you're only listening out of curiosity after their questionable cover of Refused and if that's you, I'd advise that their song selection is much improved and this is a competent, professional little package.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The drums on Anthem truly prove that Charlie is an amazing drummer
    I've been saying for years that Charlie Benante and Frank Bello are one of the most underrated rhythm sections in the world of metal. If Mike Portnoy thinks Charlie is awesome, who are we to argue?
    Amazed how well Belladonna sang like Geddy. That is talent.
    Those two tracks sounded pretty damn good to me. You kinda need to stay close to the source material or it just ends up sounding wrong. Surprised Joey could handle the Geddy Lee vocals but does a damn good job considering.
    im sorry belladonna does a shit job at geddys vocals. he thinks hes still this high flying cartoon character of a singer he was 20 years ago, but he just cant hit the notes he thinks he can. personally a fan of bush more than joey.
    I think you're being a bit harsh on your criticisms. If you were personally to do a cover of the classic rock songs, you would probably want to stay true to the original, while adding a bit of your style into it. That's exactly what Anthrax did and as this is a cover EP, I was quite satisfied. Not quite sure if everyone feels the same, though.
    There's something about Belladona's voice that just irritates me on these. I realise that technically he's a great singer, but for some reason it just grates with me.
    I thought the vocals in "athem" sounded flat most the way through the song. did do a nice job on Bostons Smokin.