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A mixed bag - 58%

radiohater, January 7th, 2004

This album is just a collection of B-sides put out by Anthrax during the downtime between Persistence Of Time and Sound Of White Noise. This also marks the final appearance by Joey Belladonna, after which he was fired due to personal and musical differences.

You can definitely tell this is a collection of B-sides, because there is little to no coherence to the order, with Anthrax playing a wide variety of styles here. We have two reworked S.O.D. tunes (Milk, Chromatic Death), a couple of live tracks from Persistence Of Time (Keep It In The Family, Belly Of The Beast), a collaboration with Public Enemy (Bring The Noise), a multitude of covers (Pipeline, Parasite, Sects, Protest And Survive) and finally two completely silly tracks, one written to annoy the PMRC (Startin' Up A Posse) and the other as a pisstake on power ballads (N.F.B).

The Cast

Joey Belladonna (vocals) - Joey doesn't contribute much to this record, foreshadowing his imminent departure from the band. However, his vocals are as good as they ever were here.

Scott Ian (guitars, vocals) - Scott Ian's trademark rhythm playing is all over the place here. He takes care of most of the vocals here, favouring a hoarse shout on some tracks (Protest And Survive, Starting Up A Posse), while employing a straight rapping style on others.

Dan Spitz (guitars) - Dan doesn't really do that much on this album either, as there's only a few leads on the album.

Frank Bello (bass) - What the hell did he do to his bass on Milk?! That is one absolutely monstrous tone that I haven't heard anywhere else. His playing is still vintage Frank Bello as always.

Charlie Benante (drums) - Charlie here is the one that gets to go off the most. His better moments are in Pipeline and in the two rap songs, with those songs being more precussively driven.

Production was handled by a whole host of people, and most of the tracks come out sounding clear and heavy. The live tracks in particular are very well handled. My only beef here is in the rap songs the guitars sometimes get a little buried (this is more apparent in Bring The Noise).

Choice Cuts

Milk - This one is a nasty thrasher originally performed by S.O.D. Frank's bass sounds MONSTROUS here (a product of a heavily distorted 12-string bass.), and Charlie sneaking in a couple of blast beats, but playing it safer than the S.O.D. version. They have added a mid-tempo section in the middle of the song along with a solo.

Keep It In The Family - This sounds similar to the album version, but here they've sped it up a fair bit. The result is that the track now comes across more aggressive and heavier than the album version.

Protest And Survive - A rather aggressive cut that seems a little out of place here, featuring a Scott Ian lead vocal. The most aggressive of the covers (considering it's a Discharge cover, it's not really surprising).

Belly Of The Beast - Another cut that's translated well into the live setting. This isn't much different from the album version though.

Off Cuts

I'm The Man 91 - This one isn't done as well as Bring The Noise, and that high-pitched guy rapping along with Scott Ian gets annoying after a while (one of the Beastie Boys maybe?)

Raw Sewage

Nothing here is totally shit, but N.F.B. does come damn close. It's only real saving grace is that it is a joke.

Closing Comments

Not really worth the money, as there seems to be some good stuff, and some stuff that really isn't worth your time. Only check it out if you can't find anything else.