ANTHRAX - Anthems

REALEASE DATE: 22.03.2013
RECORD COMPANY: Nuclear Blast Records
USERS RATING: 12 votes

Top 2013: #216
Anthrax more
Joey Belladonna - voce
Scott Ian - chitara, voce
Rob Caggiano - chitara
Frank Bello - bas
Charlie Benante - tobe, percutie


Phil Campbell - chitara (2)
Fred Mandel - clape (4)

01. Anthem (Rush cover)02. Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover)03. TNT (AC/DC cover)04. Smokin' (Boston cover)05. Big Eyes (Cheap Trick cover)06. Keep on Runnin' (Journey cover)07. Crawl (album version)08. Crawl (special remix)

I must confess that I’m a sucker for cover versions, as long as they’re done well. I’m not looking for perfect reproductions of the original, I expect them to be different, I expect the artist or the band making them to leave their mark on the songs. And I believe this should be the purpose of a cover song. There’s no point in playing another band’s song exactly like that band and not manage to add anything of yours to it.

Listening to this record, I can say that Anthrax have managed to do this just right and give us a very nice release. The first song is Anthem, a cover version of a song by Rush. The Canadians’ song was released in 1975 on the album Fly by Night (don’t you think that Deftones - Diamond Eyes have a strikingly similar cover with this record?). Anthrax managed to turn a song into a different dynamic, and the one to blame for this is mainly Charlie Benante who plays a more meaty drum track than the original by Neil Peart, coming from the 70s progressive rock. I like both versions a lot, but I was thinking how this song would sound if it were a bit more lively. Anthrax have done this very successfully, and as Charlie adds to it, Joey Belladonna rises up to the challenge and sings very close to the voice of Geddy Lee seemingly without effort and without losing his charisma.

The second track is Jailbreak, after Thin Lizzy, a song that was also included by Iris on their EP Casino(1999) . Well, Joey Belladonna is no Phil Lynott. Here Anthrax has Phil Campbell (Motorhead) as special guest. The song is rather unremarkable. Good performance, but nothing that would tip the balance in Anthrax’s favour.


And then there’s the third song: T.N.T. by AC/DC. I think this one needs no further introduction. It was released by the Australians on High Voltage (1976). Scott Ian & Rob Caggiano bring an interesting guitar duel, and Frank Bello and Charlie Benante got the rhythm parts covered. Overall, OK but nothing spectacular.


The fourth is Smokin', a cover after... Boston! I’m sure most Anthrax fans don’t usually listen to Boston, who, to be honest, is a band playing rather nice rock and has a lot of platinum records, while not mind blowing. However, Scott Ian & Co are, with this cover version. Anthrax managed to turn a semi-boring rock song to a pretty cool hard rock one. 


Coming up at number 5, Big Eyes is a cover after Cheap Trick, released by the Americans in 1977 on In Color. Like the previous song, Anthrax brings a new energy to the song. It’s not that Cheap Trick is a dusty old band, but Anthrax give the song a metal attitude.


The last track of the record is a song written by the band Journey. More precisely, Keep on Runnin' from the album Escape released in 1981. Unfortunately Keep on Runnin' was not as promoted as Don't Stop Believin' or Who's Crying Now, but is as good a song as those two. I will not go into details and long stories about Journey and their Escape. I’ll say that it’s an essential band for that time’s hard rock, a band that is unfortunately less appreciated that some poser bands that got more fans by their makeup than with their music. Back to Anthrax, though. Joey Belladonna is the man! He has energy, he is alive and is a great match for the instrumental part played by his colleagues. This performance is an honour for the band (if hard rock is among your preferences). Probably the best cover version on this record.


In the end, we have two Anthrax songs, or in fact one song with two versions. Crawl, also included on the album Worship Music released by the band in 2011. When I was writing the review for that record, I was comparing Joey Belladona with Paul Stanley of Kiss, and I was saying about Crawl that it would fit perfectly on Psycho Circus released by Kiss in 1998. And that’s what I say now, and the remix is a good one and brings out another side of this song, a cleaner one.


I would like to end that without going overboard with a thrash approach to the songs, Anthrax compel  with their sincere approach to songs from their favourite bands. And I say it’s better this way. It would make no sense to try and sound different than the last years’ Anthrax and especially than the Anthrax on Worship Music (their best record after many years of drought). It’s also better because it allows new generations of fans to discover other styles and bands that deserve more attention. Anthems are 35 minutes of fun, Anthrax style.

H. more Nota: 7.5

Posted at 11:04 |  28 Ianuarie 2013  | 4 Comments  | 2636 Views

Comment on: Anthems

  • Pe mine m-a dezamagit EP-ul. Din pacate, Anthrax nu reusesc altceva decat sa reproduca fidel piesele originale. Felicitari lui Belladonna pentru modul in care trece de la Phil Lynott la Bon Scott, dar ma asteptam la ceva mai original din partea lor... Cand ma gandesc la cover-uri, imi vine in minte Hendrix cu "All along the watchtower"; din pacate, Anthrax nu reusesc sa faca aici nici macar ce a facut Pantera cu "Cat scratch fever"!

    1. Posted by gedi | 12 Aprilie 2013 01:27
  • da cind a reusit Anthrax sa faca ceva, ever?

    2. Posted by Geralt de Rivia | 12 Aprilie 2013 09:28
  • @klawz: :)) nu-i chiar asa! probabil tie nu ti-au placut pentru ca aveau influente hardcore si nu power.

    3. Posted by gedi | 12 Aprilie 2013 20:04
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