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Basically, half way through the 'Among the Living' tour, Anthrax (kitted out in Adidas tracksuits) decided to give their fans an EP as a small thank you for their support during the year of 1987. Since its release, this fun little disc has raised many a metalhead's eyebrow. People who didn't really get Anthrax hated it, saw it as selling out... just couldn't tell it was a joke. The previous review (by morbert) has summed that kind of person up perfectly, so I won't waste space saying virtually the same thing.
What you get is 3 different versions of the rap metal song 'I'm The Man' - the originial, a censored version and a live performance. 'I'm The Man' is basically a light-hearted band biography, but the rappers constantly get the words wrong ("This sound you hear is what we like/and I'll steal your pop tarts like I stole your..." "socks!" "Yo man what's the matter with you?" "I'll get it the next time I promise!"), with a crazy chorus of 'I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm so bad I should be in detention, I'm the maaan!!' all backed by Dan Spitz playing 'Hava Nagila'. The live performance is just as hilarious, and you really get a sense of the connection between Anthrax and their fans: having the fans scream 'JOEY FUCKED UP!!' halfway through the song, and then call them mean for saying so. The censored version is really unnecessary, but makes sense to have played on the radio or at clubs.
Considering it's just a quickly recorded EP, the cover of 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' is really good, and it makes me think how awesome it would have been to hear Anthrax do a 'Garage Days' type covers album. With a bit more money and longer time in the studio, they could have made atleast a kickass EP of great covers.
The live tracks are great, 'Caught In A Mosh' being the best. It is definately one of my favourite live versions of the song, because it really demonstrates their energy and tightness live, fronted by an on-top-form Joey. I think I find the snare too distracting in 'I Am The Law', but that's down to the recording, and it is still a fine performance.
It's essential for a true Anthrax fan to get this EP, even if just for the title track and the Sabbath cover, even if to prove to you that rap metal can be good. This was an awesome statement to make in a time when rap and metal seemed destined to hate eachother, and for that Anthrax deserve much respect from both sides.
Two years after the successful crossover album with their side project S.O.D., Ian & Benante released another outing for their own fun without even thinking about the consequences. This time they mixed metal with rap. Over the years this funny EP has become one of the focal points of Anthrax-bashers or should I say excuse? Well, some just bash ‘Thrax for the weak regular studio albums they released during the nineties with John Bush on vocals but most trolls focus on this little EP trying to point out that anthrax have always sucked. Even if this EP had really been bad, this would not have had any influences on the majesty of their Spreading & Living albums.
No, there was nothing commercial about the I’m The Man EP. Only a true idiot could think Anthrax would release a joke like this for world fame. This was pure for the fun. We have a simple beat, one guitar playing Hava Nagila and the rest of the band rapping juvenile rhymes. On top of that a band picture which points out clearly that posing in a sport outfit with long hair makes you look like members of the Andre Agassi fanclub. Yeah, they really made this EP to sell out. Right…
How do you take your heavy metal?
Black as midnight on a moonless night.
During the second half of the eighties and also now in the 21st century there are (thrash) metal fundamentalists. People who are convinced a real thrash metal band should wear leather, spikes and sing about either Satan, Nuclear Holocausts, Violence or just beer and women. Often these are the people who are also complaining when a retro band brings nothing new to the table. These people were often born without humour and especially shat onto this earth just to remain unhappy. It’s exactly for that kind of people an EP like this is the ultimate statement. A big fuck you! to all middleclass ‘keep-metal-brutal’ preachers out there who take themselves to seriously and persist in projecting their own dogma’s on others.
This is Anthrax, eager for fun. They wear a smile. Everybody run! Now, to make this EP worth getting, apart from the three version of the title track, are the Black Sabbath cover ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ which is surprisingly brilliant, heavy and features a top performance by Joey Belladonna and possibly the best live version ever of ‘Caught in a Mosh’.
The question of how one ends up being “THE MAN!!” all boils down to one’s superior mastery of the fine art of novelty. In this respect, one has to hand the cheese wiz award to Anthrax for successfully parodying the novelty of rap as embodied in Run D MC’s “King of Rock” and the rock/rap party-till-you-puke craziness of the Beastie Boys. So now that all the homeboys are down with the plan, let’s get right to analyzing this collection of beats and bangs.
The boys give us 3 versions of the same jam, the only one being worth your time being the uncensored version as one hardly needs to be bothered with all of that Tipper Gore bleep out action going on in the censored version, let alone the needless crowd noise accompanying the live one. Suffice to say, this song is pretty damned funny, particularly if you keep the subject of parody at the time in context. The overly reverb drenched “Ow, Ows” and the kooky verses somehow manage to mesh themselves with the irregular beat changeups that synthesize the record scratches peculiar to the Old School rap sound and the happy mid tempo punk riffs. The real punch line in this epic joke of a song is that 10 years or so after this was concocted empty headed dumb asses like Kid Rock and Fred Durst thought they were being original by creating the same thing, only actually being serious in the process, which is doubly amusing.
But the joke doesn’t end with these 5 New York thrashers shouting from a mountain top that they are the man. Oh no, it’s time we cover some poor hapless Black Sabbath tunes, craft them in a fairly original and quality fashion, and then fart ourselves another greasy, queef loving joke to try and get the listener back in stitches. Unfortunately, in the case of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, which is actually pretty well done considering they turned it into a slightly faster, all electric rocker; the joke leaves the realms of good taste. I mean putting in a little fade out reference to ‘Sweet Leaf” is one thing, but then just blasting out a bunch of random profanity and essentially goofing up a decent cover is the equivalent of prescribing a used douche as a treatment. I’m not talking about simply putting new water into an already discharged unit, but actually taking the time to collect all the spilled water from the previous douching and somehow putting it back in the same unit, which would likely not be funny to whoever was your next hapless patient. Thankfully we have some decent live versions of two classics from “Among the Living” to make up for it, but I nearly was of a mind to yank Anthrax’s hard won cheese wiz award after that one.
If you like your metal/rap hilariously funny and pure 100% original grade, I say it’s time to part with some of those portraits of long since deceased presidents in the name of being the man. And if you really want to be the man, break the truth to all of your Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit worshipping friends that the music they love is an unoriginal attempt at turning an obvious spoof into a style of music. You may find that the nu-metal poser spirit that has possessed them will die away, shrieking in agony and a true metal newbie could well emerge in its absence.
Back in 1987 Anthrax was still hailed as a speed metal band. They had just released their swansong Among the Living. The tour was obviously long, because the band released this during it. But what the hell? Rap? On Anthrax record? Vital for these fellas, the history has shown it, but was this completely necessary? I mean, should the metal band go to the rap territory, where it doesn't belong?
I don't mind rap, to some point at least. So I consider half of ep's material pure crap. The title is here three times! We have censored radio version, uncensored version and the live version. "I'm the man" two times in a row starts this ep. The distorted guitar(s) is/are still here, but it/they could have been louder. These tracks are not a full torment, they/it dont't fit into Top 20 Anthrax songs. There are no differences between the tracks, expects few words. Every band has covered Black Sabbath, and here's the Anthrax's performance. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is chosen to be the song. The song is a bit modified by the band. Joey Belladonna's vocals sound rather funny here, they don't fit. It seems that Anthrax wanted to do second cover, because the track ends with the "Sweet Leaf" guitar riff.
What about the "I'm the Man"'s live version. I better say nothing. Except that you might get sick of "I'm the Man" even before the ep ends. Three times playing it will ensure it. I personally think that the highlights of the ep are still ahead. "Caught in a Mosh" is so funny as always. The song hasn't suffered too much in live conditions, but it still sounds a bit anonymous compared with studio version. The Judge Dredd tribute "I am the Law" suffers from the same problems. Guitar riff demolished as always, but it would crush better if it wouldn't sound like it's buried six feet under.
This ep gives very inconsistent feelings. You can't listen some of the ep's material no more than three times at maximum. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is average cover and the live versions of "Caught in a Mosh" and "I am the Law" are good songs, but with some technical problems. Anthrax has made much better cross-over songs (eg "Bring the Noize") than this. This is strange.