Review Summary: Anthrax makes a commercially successful record, but a musically average one.An Anthrax Story:
Episode VI: Sound of White Noise
Anthrax, when we last saw them, had released the epic, if slightly overstretched, Persistence of Time. They had achieved status as one of the definitive thrash metal acts in terms of influence; this is why they stand historically amongst the Big Four of Thrash. But tensions were straining the band, specifically between Scott Ian and Joey Belladonna. Belladonna, who had struggled with alcoholism, somehow got on the wrong side of Ian, and eventually he would be fired from the band. Inevitably, there would be consequences.
John Bush, lead vocalist for the lesser known thrash metal act Armored Saint, was promptly recruited to fill Belladonna's shoes. But nothing could remove the fact that Belladonna was irreplaceable, and while Bush possessed his own credentials as a skilled vocalist, the tall shadow of Belladonna would always look down on him.
And so, we find the lineup at this time to be:
Scott Ian: Rythm Guitars
Dan Spitz: Lead Guitars
Frank Bello: Bass
Charlie Benante: Drums
John Bush: Vocals
Now, as I said, Bush wasn't at all a bad vocalist. Quite the contrary, he possessed a good vocal range, and his chops could compete well with those of many other greats in the rock genre. However, as I also mentioned, he was still in Belladonna's shadow; so he could never aspire to reach the great heights of his predecessor.
There's more to this record than just a change in vocals, however. The band has opted for a more radio-friendly style, and while the riffs still sound heavy, they lack catchyness, and they lack the headbangeable quality of the four earlier Anthrax recordings. They drums barely make the cut, and they certainly don't get your blood pumping; and the bass doesn't do much either. All this make for an interesting record on the surface, but a dull one in the end.
There are redeeming qualities however: songs like "Only", "Room for One More" and "Potter's Field" catch your ear for a while, but the record as a whole just fails to deliver the goods. A mediocre record at best.
-Room for One More
Episode VII: Stomp 442