What does it mean that I am still listening to “metal”, “hard rock”, or loud music at my age? — gasp, Peter Pan has nothing on me, and perhaps I have the all the taste capability of a tongueless squirrel. Perhaps I should re-dedicate myself to finding musical truth, genius, and listenability by increasing my listenership of Radiohead, or perhaps “tune-in” with some MTV artists
Then again, maybe not!
Six weeks ago, we in the North American region managed to get our grubby metal hands on Anthrax’s new one, “We’ve Come For You All”. A quite long two months after Europe got theirs, and all comments about the practicality of file sharing with my European counterparts aside, the delay did buzzkill some of the initial excitement that I had over getting this CD
I first found out about Anthrax while in the 9th grade, one of my classmates had — surprise, surprise, a well beat up denim jacket (well converted “vest”) with the sleeves roughly chopped off and fraying. And of the many rock patches he had, on the back was a full sized one of the Anthrax Fistful of Metal logo. I saw it and was like, wow, that looks so damn brutal. Twenty some odd years later, the art looks a bit dated and goofy, but that’s my first experience of knowing about Anthrax, besides looking it up and identifying properly as a cattle borne respiratory disease which is largely fatal to humans
I never got “Fistful”, though at times I thought about it while in high school, I was into the two of the Original 4 — Metallica and Slayer, not so much familiar with Megadeth or Anthrax. Although I would grow increasingly familiar with Anthrax from my buddies in college and seeing them live a few times in Los Angeles, but I would hardly consider myself to be the premier Anthrax afficionado.
My collection of Anthrax is far from complete, and focuses largely on the middle portion of their catalog, or the Joey Belladonna ex-vocalist years. So, I’m not a humongous fan, but I do feel they are an essential part of my metal collection. I had fallen off with following them after John Bush came on to be their vocalist, in fact, the last album I have from them is “The Sound of White Noise” in 1993 (I believe), which I really liked but most fans are in the middle about or down, and they have had two releases since that time and WCFYA
So enough babble, on to our review:
I don’t usually talk cover art, but with this disc, you get a pretty interesting looking cover, done by infamous comic book guy, Alex Ross, which is a really neato, kind of nice to look at art concept with reaching hands and the band members. Oh and that pentagram Satan thing, keeping it old school and campy, no complaints from me
I apologize that I have made you read so far, and have yet to tell you what it sounds like. So, what the heck does it sound like? That’s an interesting question to ponder, it definitely sounds like the John Bush era Anthrax. In other words, you’re not going to mistake this for “Among the Living”, as there is some dabbling with different rock styles (outside of purist 80s style thrash) albeit with that traditional Anthrax crush
Not to engage you with a track by track account, it all begins with an intro — how many bands are employing this technique nowadays? — I can think of more than a few — this one sounds like maybe the dissonant noise aliens would hear in our atmosphere as they came to invade the Earth … now, I don’t know if that’s what they intended, that’s what it struck me as
The middle section of this CD really stood out to me, so let’s start from the middle. “Refuse to be denied” creates a nice intense vibe with a slower heavy cruncher of a riff and nice vocal work by John Bush. “Safe Home”, what a change of pace track for Anthrax — it has all the stomp you’d ever want in the verse, and a great bridge and audience singalong chorus — very radio friendly, accessible, and the outro picks up the pace to let you know Anthrax did this — nice song, one of the best on the album, even though its not that typical Thrax sound. “Any Place but Here” — this is the song that I couldn’t help playing like 3-4x in a row when I first got the CD —this song paces so well, from the ominous acoustic opening which picks up the pace into the most complete compelling thick sludgey riff from Thrax in a while — put together from the grooving verse, to the singable bridge and chorus — more hard rocking than metal in style, but excellent song
If you like the sound of the post-Belladonna era, “What doesn’t die” and “Nobody knows anything” (and “Superhero”) are straightforward examples of what the Bush era Anthrax’s current sound is. “WDD” has a machine gun opening that compares well with Metallica’s “Frantic”, and more old A-style verse thrash-chug to it, but the start-stop choppy style of the post-Belladonna era. “NKA” has the first of the Charlie Benante really outstanding drum work, and the song is really a compact cruncher, under 3 mins., no meander, almost like a song that accompanied a drum solo —odd but that’s how I would describe it
So what about if you are old school in your hard rock/metal tastes?
Anthrax takes care of you here with “Strap it on”, which is a SERIOUS homage to Priest Defenders era, good old fashioned heavy metal —I’m not much for Pantera, but Dimebag Darrell can play a damn thick HEAVY riff with the best of them — this song is about the classic metal era, and at the end you hear a tribute riff from Priest if you listen close. “Cadillac Rock Box”, nice little 70s style hard rocker, reminds of Desmond Child era KISS (who does a voice message in this one) — just damn groovy stuff, really interesting song choice on this album — Dimebag plays a great lead here too
Is Anthrax capable of laying out underground sounding stuff for the current metal kids? “Black Dahlia” — Charlie plays unbelievably fast Blast Beats and the band turns it up doing the Slayer-style vocal aggro/Death Metal groove — not the most listenable song, but it gives some underground sounding juice to Anthrax
Overall, “We’ve come for you All” is a pretty compact feeling set of tracks that gives you all you want of Bush era Anthrax stomp, and a sound that is mostly heavy rock, but the metal portions are tasty. For me, it’s a nice intro back into the state of current Anthrax. It’s not really a classic compared to some of the albums of the Belladonna era, but it is a fun listen. And I find that it is one of those CDs that kind of stick out to me, and get more than cursory plays — I can’t really say why I like it, but it’s a fun listen and a recommend if you like your music (like I do) taste-free and loud
Anthrax – We’ve Come For You All: B
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