02 March 2017

Sonic Chronicle - Anthrax.

11. Stomp 442 (1995). Bands like Korn were starting to gain popularity in the mid-’90s, and it sounds like Anthrax noticed. The sound of this album is dry and muddy and the riffs just aren’t there. Nothing about this one is very enjoyable. Killer tracks: Fueled.

10. Volume 8: The Threat is Real (1998). Once again, Anthrax just sound like a band that has run out of ideas. It sounds better than Stomp, but again nothing sticks. I want to like this one a little, but just have a hard time. Killer tracks: Catharsis.

9. State of Euphoria (1988). I know a lot of people like this one, but I just don’t enjoy it that much. It’s a little too vanilla and forgettable. Not bad, but not great. Killer tracks: Antisocial.

8. Worship Music (2011). This one marked the departure of John Bush and the return of Joey Belladonna on vocals. There was obviously a lot of hype for this album after an eight-year hiatus, and the results were pretty mixed. It has its moments, but it’s pretty clear the band still had to knock off some rust on this one. Killer tracks: Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t, The Devil You Know.

7. Fistful of Metal (1984). If you want to hear what a band with talent and ability but have no idea how to harness any of it effectively sounds like, check out this album. Anthrax’s debut is NWOBHM-infused American heavy metal in its rawest form, and while it’s not a masterpiece by any means, you can definitely hear there’s promise. Killer tracks: I’m Eighteen, Deathrider.

6. For All Kings (2016). After an almost average return album with Joey Belladonna on Worship Music, the band really got back into form on this one. The production is great and the riffs are catchy and heavy. Adding Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais makes a couple of the tracks sound like Anthrax covering Shadows Fall (like, how does “Suzerain” even sound like Anthrax at all?), but somehow it works great. Killer tracks: Breathing Lightning, Monster at the End, Suzerain.

5. We’ve Come for You All (2003). This was the second time John Bush-fronted Anthrax actually delivered, and boy, did they. This one came out of nowhere back in 2003 and stayed in my CD player for what felt like months. Almost every track is great, and we get some of Darrell Abbott’s last recorded works before his death on “Cadillac Rock Box” and “Taking the Music Back.” Killer Tracks: Safe Home, Think about an End, What Doesn’t Die, Cadillac Rock Box, Taking the Music Back.

4. Among the Living (1987). This one is the thrash classic that everyone remembers for its percussively rhythmic riffs and the ease with which hip hop legends Public Enemy teamed up with Anthrax for the “Bring the Noise” crossover. I like this album a lot, but it’s faster and more aggressive than the band’s other work from the ’80s. Killer tracks: Among the Living, Indians, I Am the Law, Caught in a Mosh.

3. Sound of White Noise (1993). Here’s a shocker at number 3. This was actually my first foray into the world of Anthrax. I got this one from the BMG mail-order catalog when I was in the 8th grade. I’m a huge fan of John Bush’s vocals in Armored Saint and Anthrax, and at times, I even prefer him over Joey Belladonna. This album has a very ’90s feel to it. It’s a little dark and pretty edgy, and some of the hooks stick like glue. Killer tracks: Only, Potters Field, C11 H17 N2 O2 S Na, Hy Pro Glo, Invisible.

2. Persistence of Time (1990). This album sounds like a somewhat angry band who is attempting to validate themselves as more than just another thrash metal band by actively trying to write a masterpiece. The time changes are impressive and sometimes hilariously insane, but the tracks have an inescapable groove. This is heavy thrash metal for the thinking man. Killer tracks: Keep it in the Family, Belly of the Beast, Time, Got the Time, Blood.

1. Spreading the Disease (1985). This album is a 10 in my book. It’s not as much thrash as it is an Americanization of the first couple of Iron Maiden albums with more than enough NWOBHM influences to go around. Every track on this album is exciting, and I can listen to this one anytime and anywhere. Killer tracks: A.I.R., Madhouse, The Enemy, Medusa.