Sunday, June 16, 2013

Anthrax: Anthems

Reviewed by Rob Acocella

Anthrax, like many Metal bands, are no strangers to paying homage to their inspirations in the form of cover songs. This is why when Anthrax announced Anthems, it was no surprise that it would be a collection of cover songs, though some may find the bands they cover to be a surprise.

The first track is their cover of Rush's "Anthem"which is done solidly and is a testament to the drumming abilities of Charlie Benante. The middle of the album is my favorite, though, featuring covers of AC/DC's "TNT," Boston's "Smokin'," and Journey's "Keep On Runnin." Having grown up on a steady diet of Classic Rock that included Journey, Boston, Styx, AC/DC, Foreigner, and the like, it's easy to see why these 3 songs got me the most excited. "TNT" and "Smokin" are done so true to the originals that you almost can't believe these are covers. The band does inject their own signature vibe into them, but they are just so well done that it kinda blows your mind a little. The band also brought in keyboardist Fred Mandel (Alice Cooper, Queen, Elton John, Cheap Trick, Supertramp) to handle keys on "Smokin'," and I believe this is a big part of nailing that signature Boston sound on here.

Their cover of Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" is another standout track. The only thing I wasn't crazy about on Anthems was the inclusion of 2 versions of the song "Crawl" which was previously released on the band's last studio release Worship Music. I know that this was probably done as a B-side tactic, but most Anthrax fans already have the original song, and I feel like the remix is good, but it really didn't need its own release. Don't get me wrong, "Crawl" is a good song, but an album that is meant to be all covers should have remained all covers. What they could have done was cover one of their own songs and have Joey lend his vocals to a track that had been previously recorded with John Bush. That, of course, is just my own 2-cents. Speaking of Joey, he nails every song on Anthems, which is proof of what an amazing range he has as a singer.

Overall, though, this is a great album of tunes made famous by other bands, and made slightly Thrash-ey by Anthrax.

Rating: 4/5

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