Anthrax “Anthems” - EP Review - OurVinyl
anthrax anthems review

Anthrax “Anthems” – EP Review

Album Reviews

Anthrax is a name that has long been synonymous with thrash metal. Their name has often been spoken of in the same breath as bands like Boston, Cheap Trick, and Journey. Wait, what did you just say? That cannot be right. Yes, you heard that correctly. While Anthrax is actually not usually spoken of in the same breath as the bands mentioned, this time, that is not the case.

anthrax anthems reviewAnthrax has just released “Anthems”, an EP that pays tribute to some of Anthrax’s favorite classic songs from the 1970’s. The EP will feature eight tracks that includes Rush’s Anthem, AC/DC’s T.N.T., Boston’s Smokin’, Journey’s Keep On Runnin’, Cheap Trick’s Big Eyes, Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak, as well as the album version and a remix of Crawl from their 2011 album “Worship Music”.

Preparing oneself to hear a thrash metal band do a cover of a Journey song proved not to be as difficult as originally thought. Upon hearing the first guitar riffs and the initial onset of vocals, one realizes that the band has managed to capture the same power and energy of the original track. As Scott Ian stated, “On paper, Anthrax covering Journey may seem weird, but the reality is far from it. The song just fucking rocks. When Joey first auditioned for us back in 1984, he sang some Steve Perry stuff and he blew us away. Twenty-eight years later and he’s still blowing us away. His take on this song kills. He really soars on it.”

In all truth though, it is not just the Journey song that Belladonna soars on. When listening through each cover, it becomes apparent that Belladonna is not just putting his spin on the vocals; he is embodying the voice of each of the original singers. After listening to each track for the first time, the covers came across a bit generic because Belladonna embodies the original singers so well. But after multiple listens, you hear that it is far from generic and a true testament to Belladonna’s talent as a singer.

Anthrax’s Big Eyes

And of course, what rock tribute to songs of the 70’s would be complete without paying homage to AC/DC. According to drummer Charlie Benante, “Back in the day, when we would do encores we would play AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie.’ We never recorded it back then, but when we were in the studio making ‘Worship Music,’ we decided we wanted to. But Belladonna really wanted to do ‘T.N.T.’ He felt it was more in his style, and he knew the song backwards and forwards, so we recorded that, and it’s great. The thing about ‘T.N.T.’ for me is that there’s not a lot of drumming on it. So the challenge for me was to not go crazy with fills, but to pay tribute to the original recording, and keep it AC/DC.”  While listening to Anthrax’s version of the song, one can hear the essence of the original, but with Benante’s heavy drum beat and Scott Ian’s added crunch on the guitars, this cover is undeniably Anthrax.

anthrax anthems reviewEach of the covers has been given the special Anthrax treatment, but it is their version of Cheap Trick’s Big Eyes that really comes out ahead of the rest. The band has taken an already hard rocking track and given it a shot of adrenalin. This track is tough, meaty and full of grit. You just can’t help clenching your teeth and bobbing your head to this track.

In combination with the “Anthems” cover art, drummer Charlie Benante and artist Stephen Thompson have redesigned each of the tracks original album art. The EP will first be inserted into one of the “re-imagined” covers and then put into the main CD sleeve. The main CD sleeve has been designed so that fans will be able to see which of the six “re-imagined” album covers is inside.

On February 16th, Anthrax began their tour in support of “Anthems” with tour dates in Australia, India, and then back to the U.S. to headline the Metal Alliance Tour that starts on March 22nd.

For more information on Anthrax and the tour, please visit http://anthrax.com/

Written By Tim Lawler

OurVinyl | Contributor