When you get to the position and standing in the industry that Anthrax are in as a band you’re allowed certain indulgences. Their latest album, EP, collection, call it what you will is most definitely an indulgence for the guys. It’s also a good look into some of the artists that you may be surprised to hear have shaped Anthrax as a band too.
It’s another side to them when you listen to some of the rock giants that are on this album and in stark contrast to some of their previous collaborations. It’s also quite clear that with this album Anthrax are just kicking back and having fun recording covers. There’s nothing new in the manner in which they’ve done these covers. They’re not trying to re-write them or put their own stamp on them, truth be told this could be any band recording classic rock covers and putting them on an album. The production is naturally far clearer than the originals thanks to modern technology, the guitars a little bit heavier thanks to Anthrax’s leanings but it’s still the same songs.
It’s also an album that’s very very hard to score because of what it is. If you’re an Anthrax die-hard who lives, eats and breathes the band then this will of course be a must buy for you but to anyone else out there it’s more of a curiosity than anything else and will be unlikely to do anything for you. For me it was cool to hear them pull out covers of TNT and Jailbreak in particular, while the tracks from RUSH, Boston, Cheap Trick and Journey were new to my ears and more interesting listening than anything else.
I suppose the most interesting inclusion on this album is two versions of the track Crawl from recent release Worship Music. Its flavour and styling sit well with these covers and you can see the influences coming through on it to a degree. The remix of the track goes down the tried and trusted route of adding orchestration in place of the guitar work and turns the track into a very cinematic experience, in fact it’s almost Nine Inch Nails like. You could see it closing out a movie as the credits roll.
What to make of this album indeed… to me it’s more curio than must-buy and that’s no sleight on Anthrax, it’s just an indulgent release from the band that you can either take or leave.
Anthems is released on 19 March 2013 in the US and March 22 in Europe via Nuclear Blast
Rating: 7/10 (8/10 for those Anthrax die-hards!)
1. Anthem (RUSH cover)
2. TNT (AC/DC cover)
3. Smokin’ (Boston cover)
4. Keep on Runnin’ (Journey cover)
5. Big Eyes (Cheap Trick cover)
6. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)
8. Crawl (remix)
Joey Belladonna – Vocals
Scott Ian – Guitar
Rob Caggiano – Guitar
Frank Bello – Bass
Charlie Benante – Drums
Fred Mandel – Keyboards (on “Smokin'”)