Anthrax – Anthems, EP (2013)

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My love for Anthrax started back in the mid 80’s with their murderous second album “Spreading the Disease”. Few years later, their killer “I’m the Man” (1987) literally changed my life and determined my taste in music. Anthrax is not a band, but an institution. Scott Ian is one of the Gods of Riffs while Charlie Benante is one of the Metal masterminds.
Now, honestly, back in 2010 when chief Joey Belladonna returned to Anthrax, I was pretty disappointed. On one hand I really love John Bush – great voice, great musician and contributed seriousely to the Anthrax machinery -, on the other hand, after all the ugly things Scott Ian and Charlie Benante revealed about Belladonna, I thought they will never sit in the same room again. But well, this is show-business, never say never, anything can happen. Belladonna was not so convincing throughout the Sonisphere Festival series where Anthrax performed along with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, but the 2011’s “Worship Music” was a 101% Anthrax album with a not bright, but fair Belladonna singing as back in the old days.
“Anthems” consist in 6 cover songs and the original album version, respectively a new remix of “Crawl” from their latest album. We’ve got here Rush, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Boston, Cheap Trick and Journey. Kind of surprisingly, no KISS track. But trust me, they did a killer job!

I was qurious how Belladonna will manage to sing on the voices of Geddy Lee (Rush), Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Bon Scott (AC/DC), Brad Delp (Boston), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) and Steve Perry (Journey), but quite frankly, he did an awesome job!
I fall in love with Rush after I heard their killer double live album “All the World’s a Stage” released in 1976 and “Anthem” was the song which nailed me to the ground. (I listen it almost a decade away, kind of simultaneously with Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease”… 🙂 ). Althrough, it’s the opening track of their also killer second album, “Fly by Night” released only one year earlier. Written by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart it’s a genuine heavy metal anthem.
On the whole EP, Anthrax sound raw, healthy and powerful, and this have a genuine rehearsal recording feel and vibe, which is actually awesome.
“Jailbreak” originally appeared as the title track on their 1976 album “Jailbreak”, it was written by Phil Lynott and several bands already cover it, just to metion a few Six Feet Under, Dropkick Murphys, Master, Bon Jovi, Supersuckers, etc. Belladonna sounds exactly like Phil Lynott, it’s just great to listen it!
Written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and the one and only Bon Scott, “T.N.T.” is a single released in 1976 by AC/DC and if you did not bang on this, you’re in a very wrong place dude. Anthrax gave to this a few tones heavier sounding riffs, but it’s just the same killer track as the original.
“Smokin'” is a staple of classic rock and in 2009 it was named the 39th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. Written by Tom Scholz and first released by Boston as the lead single from their self-titled debut album in September 1976. Canadian session musician, Fred Mandel recorded some killer keyboards for this Anthrax cover.
“Big Eyes” was the second track of Cheap Trick’s 77’s “In Color” album, album considered a classic of the power pop genre as well as one of the best rock albums ever recorded. In 2003, the album was also ranked number 443 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. So, this is another pure classic and Anthrax only made it sound even wickeder.
“Keep On Runnin'” it’s the only cover a little bit out of the 70’s, it was released on Journey’s seventh studio album, “E5C4P3” in 1981. The album was a massive success, being certified nine times platinum by the RIAA and sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Anthrax play it with respect this one as well, but make that old hard rock sound fatter and heavier then ever.
“Crawl” it’s a modern Anthrax epic with dark vibe and cutting to the bone, slow grinding riffs, the new orchestral flavoured remix it’s ok, but not really outstanding, the original album version it’s still better.

Tracklist:

1. Anthem (Rush cover)
2. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)
3. TNT (AC/DC cover)
4. Smokin (Boston cover)
5. Big Eyes (Cheap Trick cover)
6. Keep On Runnin (Journey cover)
7. Crawl (Album version)
8. Crawl (Special remix)

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