Review Summary: Anthrax gets SERIOUS on the last album with Joey.
Ask anyone what their favorite Anthrax album is, and the answer will usually be either Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, or Persistence of Time. Some will choose Spreading the Disease, as it is the least thrash of the three. Most will choose Among the Living, for its balls-out thrash style, in which every song is designed to mosh to. And then some will choose Persistence of Time, as it is the least playful of the bunch. It's a pretty serious thrash album. Gone are the comic book-based lyrics and songs about John Belushi. But that doesn't mean the fun is gone.
Persistence of Time is the last album with Joey Belladonna, and he gives it his all on this album. His vocals are loud and high-pitched; just the way I like them. His falsetto vocals made Anthrax stand out from the other thrash bands at the time, as most other thrash vocalists sang with that gruffy, MANly voice, like Tom Araya. Belladonna hits some great, high notes on this album, and his vocals are fun to sing along to. The smartest thing he could ever do now is rejoin Anthrax.
What about the actual musicianship? Anthrax was always incredibly underrated in this area. These guys can play their ***ing instruments like crazy. Scott Ian and Dan Spitz were two of the finest axemen in metal back in the day. Their riffs are awesome enough to obliterate mountains and crush sky-scrapers, and Dan Spitz may be the most underrated guitarist in metal history when it comes to solos. Just listen to the guitar solo in the opening song, "Time", and you will see what I mean. Frank Bello is also underrated. He's no Cliff Burton, but he was certainly one of the best bassists in thrash. Unlike many other thrash bands at the time, you can actually hear
Bello's bass, which is quite something. His basslines make that trademark Anthrax sound. You know what I'm talking about. And Charlie Benante is an insane drummer. He drums like a madman on this album, closely following the guitars, which is also part of that trademark Anthrax sound.
So I'm over here raving about the musicianship on this album, like it's perfect or something. So what is
wrong with Persistence of Time? Let me tell you, this album is far from perfect, and it's because of the actual songs. Anthrax was trying to be serious on this album, and it worked, but I think they were trying to be a bit too
serious. Some of the songs repeats riffs for minutes on end and never seem to end. While most of the songs are great, a select few just drag on far too long. I'd say, in 1990, it would've been best to leave the long thrash songs to Metallica. You know something is wrong when one of the best songs on the album is their cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time", which is sort of a joke anyway.
Persistence of Time is most certainly a kickass album, but it's just not the best Anthrax album out there. Among the Living is the best combination of light-hearted, funny Anthrax with serious Anthrax. Persistence of Time seems to try and recreate Metallica's ...And Justice For All, not with political lyrical themes, but long song lengths and serious lyrical themes, and that's just not the Anthrax I love.