Review Summary: Anthrax say thank you.
A well-established metal act takes on some of the bigger hits in the form of a cover EP. It’s not so surprising that the ideology of “money-grabbing” is often met with harsh remarks from fans. Featuring covers of the legendary Rush, Auzzie hard rockers AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Boston, Cheap Trick and Journey with an emphasis on the band’s favourite tracks of the 70s Anthems
is a surprisingly solid tribute to some memorable tunes. With six covers and two versions of Anthax’s ‘Crawl’ (Worship Music
is a brief foray, culminating in the band’s own hit and in turn - displays just what these so-called vintage acts still mean to some of the biggest metal bands on the planet, because influences need influences too.
As for the EP itself, well it is clear Anthrax can play each song down to the smallest of detail and nail it! This is as much of a down point for the recording as it is the EP’s height. For example, the band gets everything right, the guitar lines are spot on, held together by a tight rhythm bass and drum section, but there’s no substance to the tracks other than what these 70s bands have already presented. This collection of covers show no new flair from Anthrax, no signature stamp or twist that would define this as ‘Anthrax covering such and such’ instead, these quality tracks only gain a nostalgic quality, rendering the EP useless in any other way, conveying the same quality as a high school band covering your favourite AC/DC tune. Rest assured Anthrax’s 2013 EP does have its moments. Take vocalist Joey Belladonna’s versatility between tracks; From the crystal clear smooth Rush soundscape to the slightly gritty rendition of AC/DC’s Bon Scott, providing the necessary gravel to master the “Oi Oi Oi’s” of ‘T.N.T.’ Whilst metaphorically drawing in the lines throughout this thirty-five minute effort, there are the occasional missteps, but the fault isn’t really Anthrax’s. Take Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’ for example; it’s a difficult task when trying to emulate Philip Lynott whose vocals even all those years ago, still have an edge over that of Mr. Belladonna.
What this record has, is some solid tracks backed by Anthrax’s personal pinpoint accuracy. For those looking for a fresh take on old classics, they may just need to look elsewhere. Anthrax say thank you, keeping very much to the formula set all the years ago. A subtle difference in crystal clear production allows for the experience to sink into the modern day listener, but at the cost at the warmth those artists like Rush and Thin Lizzy presented back in the day. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks are perfectly fine but they lack a certain flair that Anthrax could have easily added to each and every track. Overall, Anthems
is a collection of overly solid covers, even with the band’s own tracks at the latter end of the record it still makes for a great listen, even if somewhat tame.