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It’s a foregone conclusion that Anthrax’s “State of Euphoria” doesn’t get as much respect as its predecessor. But regardless to the various arguments for or against the album as a whole, “Make me Laugh” is definitely a thrashing bad ass of a song that rivals anything that the band has done beforehand. Like most of this band’s other singles, they take the opportunity during the B-sides to clown around and remind us of the satirical punk rock origins that the thrash genre takes much of its character from.
Our featured A-side is definitely a force to be reckoned with, bring out most of the Anthrax arsenal in full force. It’s structured in the similar thrash epic style of “Among the Living”, but ratchets up the riff machine significantly. There are a couple of moments where a close variation of that crazy dual triplet riff at lightning speed that made up the faster half of Metallica’s “One”. Benante’s drum work dwarfs anything that Lars Urlich has ever done, no pun intended, and delivers the rapid paced double bass goods with frightful precision. The only thing negative I can say about this amazing work of thrash art is that the reverb on the vocal track is way too high, and every tiny little imperfection in Belladonna’s otherwise solid vocal performance sticks out like a sore thumb.
As far as the other two songs on here, it can be plainly said that 1988 was the year for thrash to start covering classic 1977 punk rock. The sex pistols was probably meant as a sort of profane satire in it’s original version rather than mindless slapstick, but it can’t help but sound that way with all of the goofy attempts at matching Johnny Rotten’s accent. Much of the song uses the same tune as that of the American patriotic song Yankee Doodle, only to some damn filthy lyrics, even by the standards of the roughest pubs in Soho. The “Trust” cover listens a little less like a goofy British drinking song and more like classic, fast paced, angst driven hard rock. The guitar solo is probably a little fancier than what was on the original, and the song likely didn’t sound this heavy, but judging from Ian’s sensibilities towards the old guard rock scene (punk or not), this is something that would be well received by the pre-Thrash crowd.
This is definitely a worthy collection of songs that did well to advertise what would become Anthrax’s 4th and most underrated album. Two of these can be found on the “State of Euphoria” release, while the Sex Pistols remake will probably require a download. It could be argued that this was the beginning of the era where a rift was beginning to form between Ian and Belladonna, as the direction of the vocal work was drifting away from what Joey did best on “Spreading the Disease”, which was 80s style power metal vocals. But although his work gets a little rough, the entire package is definitely something that the band could be proud of, which is more than I can say for where they ended up after Belladonna left.