Review Summary: An embarrassing misstep from the once great thrash metal legends.
Of the big four thrash metal bands, Anthrax is the one that gets the least amount of attention. Still being part of the big four warrants enough notoriety, with Anthrax being the most unique of them all specifically in the vocal department. Joey Belladonna was an excellent singer and his eccentric performances on their first albums are what gave Anthrax their charm, along with their relentless thrash metal riffs and intense double bass heavy drumming backing him up.
Unfortunately after Persistence of Time
, Joey left the band and was replaced by ex-Armored Saint vocalist John Bush. Bush isn’t necessarily a bad singer - in a hard rock or groove metal band he would fit right in, but Anthrax isn’t a hard rock band; at least they weren’t until he joined the band. Sound of White Noise
saw the band abandon their thrash metal roots and focusing on a very hard rock oriented sound. It was a solid album, far from their best but for the first album with a new singer it was a forgivable slip in their discography. With Stomp 442
they continue down the same path except they throw in some groove metal, almost nu-metal elements into the mix. Sounds harmless, right?
Wrong. This album has some of the most boring song writing on any Anthrax record, and is arguably the worst album out of any of the big four’s detrimental releases (not counting Lulu
). The first two tracks start the album off on a fairly positive note – they’re fun songs with catchy choruses, and while they bring nothing new to the table, they’re harmless and all-around decent hard rock songs. Sadly the rest of the album isn’t as forgivable. “Riding Shotgun” starts off with a promising riff but quickly throws away its potential as soon as the vocals come in with some of the worst lyrics on the album.
Do it, drive it, drink it, smoke it
Two steps forward
One hundred steps back
We're going the wrong way
It's backwards, it's backwards
Cuffed and branded
I can't stand it
Just awful, and the rest of the lyrics aren’t much better. Plus it doesn’t help that John Bush has possibly the most mundane vocals in all of metal. Honestly, he pretty much sings the exact same melodies on every song sans “Bare,” the acoustic album closer, which is a welcome change of pace but doesn’t hold a candle to some of the great rock ballads. Combine an insipid vocal performance with one-dimensional riffs by Scott Ian, inaudible bass, and a standard drum performance and you have Stomp 442
– an embarrassing misstep from the once great thrash metal legends.
- Random Acts of Senseless Violence