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End of an era - 90%

Vim_Fuego, August 6th, 2004

Opinion was often divided on Anthrax, even in their heyday. Many a serious metal fan could not take the band seriously — Their crimes against metaldom? They wore surf shorts. They recorded a rap song. They were friends with punks. And perhaps most shockingly, they had a sense of humour. How's a serious grim looking metal head supposed to stay serious and grim when a band is having fun making music? It just isn't cricket.

I say fuck 'em! Anthrax were metal as fuck. All you have to do is listen. Close your eyes and the surf shorts disappear. They recorded a grand total of two rap tracks, and they'd be some of the heaviest rap songs you'll ever hear. Much of the punk fixation was played out in SOD. The sense of fun is inescapable though. Nowhere is it more evident than on this EP.

A 44–minute romp through punk covers, live tracks and comedy piss takes, for thrash fans this is the most fun on record this side of Lawnmower Deth. It kicks off with a romp through SOD's inherently silly but fucking heavy ode to breakfast cereal "Milk".

Thrash did not get much heavier than Anthrax live, and "Keep It In The Family" and "Belly Of The Beast" are utterly crushed into submission by Scott Ian's rhythm guitar. The live tracks also show off Joey Belladonna's undoubted vocal talents. The covers of Discharge's "Protest And Survive" and Trust's "Sects" are also bollock–breaking stunners, showing off 'Thrax's hardcore side.

Two highlights of the album are the tongue in cheek pisstakes of the delightful country and western flavoured "Startin' Up A Posse" and the faux–emo power ballad "N.F.B. (Dallabnikufesin)”. Scott Ian took over vocals for "…Posse", spitting out possibly the angriest lyrics Anthrax had recorded to that point. The country verses and hardcore choruses — compete with "Bonanza" refrains — has to be heard to be believed. The "swearing for swearing's sake" lyrics are utterly childish, and a lot of fun. Try to resist figuring out the seven words mentioned in the song. "N.F.B." is one of those lame assed, puke inducing ballads bands like Extreme, White Lion and Poison used to endlessly churn out. Anthrax showed how pathetic those bands were by whipping this up in a matter of minutes. You know the formula– jangly acoustic guitars, "Ooo–ooo"s in the chorus, boy meets girl, boy shags girl's friends, girl forgives boy, girl dies in grisly accident etc. Mr. Big and Skid Row got endless airplay from crap like this. It's a pity Anthrax didn't!

The infamous "I'm The Man" gets an unnecessary remix, pretty much fucking up all that was good about it. "Bring The Noise" is infinitely better as a rap/metal collaboration.

This album was a welcome addition to many a fan's collection, because it brought together the fun (most of the album) and the hard–to–find (the three cover tracks from Penikufesin). Although we weren't to know it at the time, Anthrax were having internal problems and label trouble at around this time. Joey Belladonna left the band soon after this release. A godawful record label knock off contractual obligation live album followed this too. This was the beginnings of Anthrax cleaning out their closet in preparation for the more mature sound they developed in the later 1990s. Spring–cleaning was never so much fun.