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I’m pretty confident part of the reason the members of the “Big 4” got singled out among the rest of the 80’s thrash movement was largely to do with the bands in question all having their own distinct flavors. Metallica were the innovators, bringing the style to forefront with their monolithic early releases. Megadeth were the flashiest, coming up with songs far more complex and intricate than the average Bay-area outfit. Slayer were the most vicious, stealing the spotlight through shock value and sheer speed. So where does that leave Anthrax? Well, for the first part of their career I’d say they were the band that failed to make the full leap from the genre’s NWOBHM roots, which made for a nice sound that had one foot in each camp and great crossover appeal. Of course, they couldn’t just teeter on the border forever, and it was only a matter of time before they stepped over the line and joined up with their California buddies full-time. And it worked out pretty well for a couple of releases, to be sure. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as trying too hard to play catch-up, and losing what made your band special in the process.
Persistence of Time sees Anthrax trading in their fun-loving attitude and vigor and making a bold foray into a darker realm of “epic” and “progressive” thrash metal. I use those terms very loosely, as few of these songs truly progress to any real degree, nor are they epic as much as unnecessarily long-winded. I can only imagine Ian must have heard ...And Justice For All and instantly decided the heavier and more drawn out, the better. With an average runtime of about 6 minutes, songs like “Blood” and “In My World” simply focus way too much on sheer repetition of riffs, and don’t seem to go anywhere. The chorus guitar lead in the former is average at best, and by the time the song is over it’s been beaten into the ground so far that you’d need a full-fledged excavation team to get it back out, while the latter is content to just keep riding the same 3 mid-tempo riffs over and over with little variation. “Keep it in the Family” at least tries at putting up a front of intricacy with its constant alteration between down and up-tempo, but still comes off as meandering with no clear direction rather than building to some sort of climax. The muddled production quality doesn’t exactly bring forward the hard-hitting nature of the riffs either, to the point where many of the songs seem to coast by, minding their own business rather than commanding one’s attention.
Even worse than the unflattering production and arrangement is hearing what has become of the once mighty Joey Belladonna’s vocal prowess. The first time I popped this album in, I actually had to check the booklet over to be sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up one of the John Bush-era albums instead. Because there was just no way this could possibly be the man that belted out “Armed and Dangerous” five years earlier. Oh, yes it is, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how he could go from giving Rob Halford a run for his money on Spreading the Disease to this in such a short time-frame. The pure wailing majesty that pervaded his earlier work with the band is all but completely absent, swapped out for a lower-register approach that totally neuters Belladonna’s effectiveness. Now he just sounds like some punk that Scott and Co. dragged in off the street, and even then lacking any sort of grit so as to sound menacing or otherwise complementary to the attitude of the riffs. If anything, his vocals end up sounding phoned-in a lot of the time, leading to the music coming off every bit as flat as he does. Most of these songs are already too repetitive, but Joey’s monotone, pseudo-melodic belting squanders whatever potential the decent riffing may hold. Even “Belly of the Beast” and “One Man Stands”, two songs which seem to hearken back to better times with a bit more of a traditional/speed metal flavor have all of the energy sucked out by the sub-par (and typically off-key) melodies he is forced to make due with. Things get even worse when he tries to borderline rap on the pre-chorus of “Blood”. Guys, I thought “I’m the Man” was just supposed to be a joke!
In truth, the roots of this detriment in Joey’s performance reach back to Among the Living, where the band made a conscious decision to opt for a darker, more overtly thrash-oriented sound than their first two releases. Therein lies the matter of relegating a singer more at home in the realm of NWOBHM or power metal to dumbing down and dirtying up his approach to fit the music, denying him much in the way of proper vocal melodies to showcase what he can do. And it somewhat managed to work for that album, if only because Belladonna still managed to inject some of his majestic qualities into the music regardless, as well as the strong songwriting across the board. He has no such luxury this time, that soaring splendor showing up very briefly on “Discharge” and practically nowhere else.
Still, there are a few moments where the band manage to make their approach work relatively well to offset all the blatant misses. “Time” and “Gridlock” keep the aggression levels up with a slew of high octane and oppressive riffs, coupled with some far better penned vocal melodies for Joey to work with, and it doesn’t hurt that Dan Spitz is allotted a fantastic solo in each. “Intro to Reality” shows off a bit more in the way of melodic guitar work, and of course the cover of “Got the Time”, for lack of much real distinction from the original, reminds us that the band we knew in the 80’s is still alive in some capacity. But aside from these and a few other decent/good segments spread about, there’s very little that makes me want to ever return to this disc, and a lot that just makes me want to throw on Spreading the Disease instead.
It would seem this album tends to get a fair bit of praise as a sort of swansong for the band, at least until Worship Music came around 20 years later (a much better album than this, to be sure). As far as I’m concerned though, Anthrax were always at their best when straddling the divide between NWOBHM and thrash, rather than outright crossing that threshold like their west-coast counterparts were quick to do. That’s not to say I think they outright suck at thrash; Among the Living and State of Euphoria had a good deal to like about them, and even this one has a few decent tracks tucked away. But it definitely doesn’t see them playing to their strengths, and has them sacrificing their original unique nature besides. You just know something’s wrong when you pay $6 for a CD and still feel like you’ve been jipped. I’ve yet to listen to any of the Bush-era albums for their infamous reputation, but if this is supposed to be of excellent quality by comparison, then I’m legitimately frightened to even go near those now.
Anthrax is known for a somewhat humorous flavor of thrash, they unleashed a streak of very awesome albums in the 80's that were all creative and unique, making quite a name for themselves; thus earning them a spot in the so-called "Big Four". But in 1990, a new breed of Anthrax was born. Persistence of Time was much darker and heavier both musically and lyrically. These riffs are Scott's downright most heavy and menacing, Joey sounds angry and evil at times, Charlie and Frank even adopt a wicked, heavy as fudge take to the rhythm section. Generally this album doesn't get nearly as much recognition as the first four, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Persistence of Time is a very good record, and their new formula works quite well. Much to my surprise, this definitely stands up to their earlier material.
The first thing you'll notice about the songs on this album is that they are all pretty dang long, especially for an Anthrax release. Right from the get-go the album features three seven minute tracks, followed by a six and a half minute number. Dang. These guys mean business, I bought the album only knowing "Got the Time", and I'll admit I had no idea what to expect from this CD. Turns out, their new approach works extremely well for them. Anthrax had released only two similar songs, "Horror of it All", which is like my second favorite Anthrax song, and "Who Cares Wins", which was terrible and boring. But here, all of the long and more involved tracks work excellently. In my opinion, "Time" is one of the weakest on the album, but it's a fan favorite, so I guess it wasn't a miss. "Blood" and "Keep it in the Family" both rule for a combined heavy as hell 14 minutes. "Keep it in the Family" is without a doubt my favorite on the album, and in my opinion the best. It has the most crushing riffs and bassline, and Joey knocks it out of the park on this one. The rest of the album, while a tad shorter, is just as heavy and dark. The only fast song on the entire album is "Got the Time", which is a cover anyway. "Got the Time" is aggressive, fast, and features some brilliant bass work by Frank. The entire last half of the album is awesome, and is reminiscent of some of the older Anthrax. My biggest problem with this otherwise outstanding release, are "Time" and "Gridlock". "Gridlock" is painfully weak, and it sounds awkward and forced. All in all though, Persistence of Time is an hour of heavy, dark, and crushing heavy metal that is done very well. It feels like this was an experiment for Anthrax, and it was quite risky, but they pulled it off in a magnificent way.
The instrumentation on Persistence of Time is quite different from the earlier albums, like I said. The quick riffs are scrapped in favor of a heavier and chuggier riffing structure. Everything is slowed down significantly, but that doesn't mean the playing is bad. Everyone is top notch as usually here. Dan's leads are more structured and less frenetic, and are all strong and creative. Joey's vocals, like I said earlier, are a lot more dark and evil sounding. He manages to avoid sounding funny or goofy here, and he does a great job fitting the more somber tone of a lot of the music. Charlie has always been an amazing drummer, and he is top notch as usual here. Frank has always been one of my favorite bass players, and here he is loud, aggressive, and his basslines chug along awesomely. His performance on "Got the Time" deserves a freakin' medal, his bass solo in the middle is very creative and it rocks. The whole band has a very solid performance here, and generally all of the songs are well put together and interesting, whether or not I like them all.
Overall, Persistence of Time is a great album, a little overrated by a few Anthrax fans, but definitely an excellent release. I really dig the atmosphere the album has looming over it, and these riffs are sometimes crushingly badass. "Keep it in the Family" is one of my all-time favorite Anthrax tracks, and is one of the best slower paced thrash songs I have ever heard. This album took a while to grow on me, I only picked it up because I saw it was cheap, but honestly this is well worth any kind of money, and I gotta thank my friend for telling me to check this out. I recommend this to all heavy and thrash metal fans, and those who are looking for more great Anthrax besides Among the Living. Check this out, it's worth your time.
This album is almost as forgotten as Anthrax's preceding release, State Of Euphoria. While regarded by metal fans as Anthrax's peak, this is often shelved by the mainstream in favour of 1987's Among the Living. Given the sound on here, this is rather confusing. However, a somewhat radical aesthetic shift makes this album's neglected status a bit more understandable.
The sound on display is very much thrash metal, akin to the previous 2 albums, but they are not one and the same. The songs here are considerably slower, even more so than State Of Euphoria. They are notably heavier and far more crushing in nature, and have been lengthened by a large amount. Though Among The Living and State Of Euphoria both feature one song that is longer than any single track here, the average song length is higher. The result is a much heavier, slower and more epic extension to the State Of Euphoria sound, which in turn was a heavier, slower and more epic extension to the Among The Living sound. Think of it as Anthrax's ...And Justice For All.
The result is an album which is very far removed from the light of heart sound featured previously featured. The production, unlike the aforementioned Metallica album, is a very full and heavy sound, with an extremely prominent bass. This in fact, one of the heaviest albums I have ever heard outside of doom metal or derived genres. The low end of the album is even more pronounced than before, which makes the thrashers on this album some of the most powerful Anthrax will ever write. The longer tracks, such as the first 4 tracks, become some of the most epic pure thrash songs of all time, giving them an extreme presence. Try leaving this album on in the background- you will stop what you are doing after 2 minutes and listen.
And what you will find is 5 musicians in top form. Scott Ian writes some incredible riffs for this album, meaning the long mid-tempo songs never get boring (looking at you, Time Does Not Heal!). These are helped by a properly meaty and loud guitar tone, which gives these riffs an incredible amount of force behind them. Dan Spitz has always played a secondary role in Anthrax, as solos were never the thing anyone cared about when listening to Anthrax. However, he is very talented, and delivers yet more melodic genius. The finest examples would be the solos found during 'In My World' and 'Time'. Meanwhile, I don't know what was biting Charlie at the time, but he seems quite incredibly pissed off here. He delivers a very, very forceful performance, throwing in many, many technically accomplished fills and tasteful use of extended double bass on this album. Frank Bello continues to provide a strong low end, but mostly follows the guitars, save for the Joe Jackson cover, where he throws in a nice little bass solo. Joey sounds rather annoyed here too, probably not helped by the rising tensions between him and the rest of the band. His voice is just as melodic and powerful as usual, but at the same he time sticks to a lower register and doesn't pull off any extended wails. His voice is also dirtier and rougher than usual, though not enough to be unrecognisable. He doesn't quite fit in with the more serious and heavier, less melodic sound, but he still does a good job.
And the result of their efforts is a usual blend of longer, drawn out, heavier and more epic songs and shorter thrashers. Most of the faster songs are still notably long and slow, save for the Joe Jackson cover. No song ever gets dull, whether it be the 8 minute 'Intro to Reality/Belly of the Beast' combo or the 4 towering monoliths at the beginning of the album. Possibly the only exception is 'H8 Red'. While far from terrible, it is a bit too slow and dull, and never really progresses. But this can't be said of any other song here, and for a(n) eleven/twelve track album, that is a good track record.
One thing to note, and the main reason several Anthrax fans reject this record, is the marked aesthetic shift on this album. In addition to heavier, slower and more crushing songs, the lyrics have changed drastically. Serious topics have been dealt with by Anthrax in the past ('The Enemy', 'One World', and 'Who Cares Wins') but they never presented themselves like this. One of the most biting examples is the opening lyrics to 'In My World:
'I'll bite the hand that feeds me
And I could give a damn if that hand needs me
Why can't you leave me alone?
A lie may fool someone else
But it tells you the truth
You're weak, just another clone'
Never has Anthrax penned such powerful and violent lyrics. They aren't violent in the way Slayer's lyrics were at the time, but they are shouted forth with such conviction that you have to take them seriously. You don't sing along, you listen and think. This can prove to be off putting for some, including me. I used to hate this album for being 'dull and overlong'. It is a bit of a slow grower, but eventually a prospective listener starts to realise the true nature of this album. It is intense, ferocious, nihilistic and cathartic. One look at that excellent cover art pretty much sums it up.
This is the absolute peak of Anthrax, and one of the greatest thrash metal albums of all time. Nothing at the time was so crushing, so aggressive, so incredibly powerful and intense as this album. Even the unholy trinity of 1986 could never leave such a lasting impression as this album did, and continues to do for just shy of 25 years now. The only thing a listener could miss is the sing-along factor that Anthrax albums generally have, but there is even a bit of that with the Joe Jackson cover of 'Got the Time'. Sure, 'H8 Red' is a bit weak, but it is still excellent, and the other near perfect 10 tracks surrounding it make up for it. I absolutely recommend this to fans of Anthrax, especially their 80's material. However, I also recommend this to those that hate the upbeat side of this band, for there is little of that here.
This is probably the strongest classic Anthrax release. It is also likely their strangest. This is a fairly consistent album with very little that I would dump. This is also pretty different from their previous albums. The artwork is my favorite of their catalog.
On the consistency, most of these songs are pretty good. Got the Time had to grow on me, but the first three in a row is one of the better starts to an album any thrash band has had. The songs do drop a smidgen, but H8 Red is the only real stinker. It seems too slow, and the feel of the song is just very meh. This is one song though, so all is still well, and a full entire listen is still enjoyable. This is a rare statement for Anthrax. Euphoria was a weak and odd album, and most of the first two were mediocre USPM. This and Among are the only reasonably consistent albums out of their classic period.
This is different from their previous works in two ways. The first are the lyrics. The previous albums may have been cynical, but not in a dark way. They gave a feel of "street-wise" more than anything else. This has much more of a condemnation of society feel than the previous ones did. Among and State had toyed with this idea, but it actually comes across well here. The odd swearing is rather needless, but at least their not obsessed with it. The other is the atmosphere to the album. This is several times heavier than anything on State and most of Among. This is a mixture of the new production and their new ability to actually write a good, serious song. I do miss songs like I Am the Law, but these are about as good, and more consistent.
The drumming on this album is pretty good, Benante didn't disappoint. His double-bass is quite strong, and after Lombardo, he was probably the strongest drummer of the big four. For that matter, he is probably the strongest member of this band instrumentally. I've heard that Benante wrote much of Anthrax's music, which wouldn't surprise me. Anthrax always struck me as very rhythmic-centered album. Bello on bass is loud, but he isn't very interesting. I would liken hearing him to hearing Araya on the second half of Hell Awaits. Is he audible, yes, but is he doing anything worth hearing, not really. He isn't poor, but I expect something more when the bass is this audible.
The vocals are as good as to be expected. Joey has a good deal of range, but he also has a certain grit that I think draws many in. On this album, the focus is more on the grit. His shrieks are still there, but they are not as prominent. This was his last album with Anthrax, until recently, and I believe it a testament to him how much better this and Worship Music is to anything they've done in the meantime.
The guitar playing on this album is very rhythmic. These are some of the best riffs Ian and Spitz played, but their not awesome. To be honest, Anthrax's riffing was what turned me off of them for a while. Most metal bands, I go straight for the riffs. With Anthrax, the riffs are more of the fast or big than anything else. There isn't a ton of variety or technicality, and focusing on them is not the way to go. These are better, but many albums of lower quality had better riffs than this. Since I've also heard that Ian wrote most of the lyrics, he does deserve some congrats, these are the best he's ever done there as well. As for Spitz, I'm honestly not sure what real purpose he serves. His solos are just weird and don't fit the songs. He does thicken the sound during the rhythms, but I feel like you could just double Ian in the studio for that.
Some of this probably comes off as complaining, but I do enjoy this record. Joey and Charlie were amongst the best in thrash at what they did. I have no idea what the politics were that got Joey kicked out, but their follow-ups were the poorer for it. I docked points for the aforementioned weak song and for the relatively weak guitar playing. If you enjoy thrash and don't hate Anthrax, then I'd say that you need this album.
This is the album that people know as the last with singer Joey Belladonna until 2011's Worship Music. Belladonna stuck around for another year or two after, but didn't seem to have as much input on the band's later releases, particularly Attack of the Killer Bs, where he is absent on a fair few tracks, suggesting that there was tension in the band. In 1992, he was fired and in came John Bush. So, how does the final full length album with Joey Belladonna in his initial run measure up to everything that came before? Well the short answer is: it's fantastic, and it's the best Anthrax album to date. However, I must give a longer answer for the sake of this review.
The most important factor about this particular album is that although it still has an unmistakably thrash metal sound, it has a much more angry feel than any of the band's previous albums, and also abandons the use of humour that was a large part of the previous two albums specifically, Among the Living and State of Euphoria. Therefore, the subject matter is much darker and more serious, covering themes such as paranoia ("Time"), isolation ("In My World"), and intolerance ("Keep it in the Family"). Joey's vocal delivery is often quite vicious, often using his low register, such as in the beginning of "In My World" in which he sings "I'll bite the hand that feeds me, and I could give a damn if that hand needs me", which is particularly effective in setting the album's overall atmosphere. The band had lost a lot of their gear in a fire whilst the album was in its early stages, and it certainly seems to have influenced the band member's moods and attitudes, and as a result, greatly influenced the album.
Many of the songs last at least 5 minutes, with the first four all lasting 6-7 minutes each. There are plenty of instrumental elements with solos galore, characteristic of the thrash genre to be heard and enjoyed, in which Scott Ian and co. play their instruments like the end of the world is nigh and it's the last thing they'll ever do. The passion and overall emotion is to be admired. The songs get shorter further on in the album but there are still plenty of excellent twists and turns crammed into the songs. "Intro to Reality" and "Belly of the Beast" form a single piece of music, though the split into two is appropriate due to the intro lasting 3 minutes, and some listeners may instead choose to cut to the chase. The intro is worth praising, however, as it utilises a harmony guitar, played by Charlie Benante, which gives him a good opportunity to show that he is not just musically talented in the drumming department. It is worth mentioning that Benante has always played a large role in the composition of the band's music, and he certainly excels on this release.
There are a small number of songs that remind me of the kind of Anthrax song you might expect to hear on ATL or SOE. These are songs that either contain lyrics that still have a small level of humour in them, or just sound similar musically to a typical track from those albums. "Discharge", for example, is a solid thrash number that contains the lyric "Life? What life? What's the difference between you and death?" which is a personal favourite lyric of mine. Another example is the cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time" which the band speeds through in under 3 minutes. Quite an appropriate choice of song to cover, too, as it is in keeping with the album's loose concept of time.
The album cover itself features a clock with skulls in place of numbers, and skeleton arms in place of the regular "hands" on a clock. The artwork, as well as some of the lyrics, seem to carry the message that we need to stop hating one another and learn tolerance before, basically, it is too late and we all die (or rather, run out of time). We must act now or else we will just watch that time ticking away.
This is by far one of the band's most serious efforts, but it's also their best. Although songs like "Caught in a Mosh" and "Madhouse" are classics that helped Anthrax rise to fame, they are little more than headbanging anthems, which is fine, but Persistence of Time shows that they can go beyond that and tackle more serious subject matter, and put together a damn solid release based around it. It also serves as a swan song of thrash metal, as the next few years would see several thrash bands, including Anthrax, changing their musical styles in order to survive in a decade of changing tastes with grunge being a prominent genre, but at the time, Anthrax seemed to be on top of their game, and today Persistence of Time should still stand as an essential metal album that served as a great final chapter to both their first run with Joey, and the dominance of thrash in the rock/metal world.
Album number four for New York metal thrashing extraordinaire's Anthrax. Persistence of Time used to be my favorite Anthrax album, and even though I give the edge to Spreading the Disease I still rate this one highly, and I prefer it to the likes of Among the Living.
Persistence of Time has the distinction of being Anthrax's most accomplished release, well, as far as musicianship and performances go. The band decided to take themselves seriously here and this album feels right at home amongst the Victims of Deception, Years of Decay, Twisted Into Form crowd. A lot of the bands slight crossover element is largely missing, with the exception of the "Got The Time" cover, which serves as highly beneficial to the release.
The tracks are quite a bit longer than usual here, with the opening four numbers swimming a see of six - seven minute tracks. Anthrax really deliver over the longer time periods and the songs are given a lot more room to grow. When concerning production I feel that by todays standards Persistence of Time happens to stand up the best amongst the bands work with Joey Belladonna. The mix is fantastic, and the bass has a great prominent sound which as a result leaves this album sounding the heaviest of the Anthrax backlog.
"Time", "Blood" and "Keep it in the Family" are all massive in scope as far as Anthrax goes, and these songs are among some of the best the band have done. From the darker edged riffs, to the build up and dynamics this is all good. "Keep it in the Family" is a particularly awesome example of Anthrax ala Persistence of Time. Not to blow their wad in the first half of the album we have the awesome "Gridlock" which houses some of Anthrax's most menacing work, and the bad-ass "Belly of the Beast". Proabably the catchiest track on the album (not including the cover), this was actually the first Anthrax song I ever heard, and has some fond memories attached to it.
Persistence of Time is a really cool release, and is reflective of its given genre at the time. Thrash was pushing forward in quite an exciting way, yet somehow it all went wrong. Even now when we have a fuck load of caricature thrash bands, none of them try to progress like Anthrax did here. Despite the niggling "Got The Time" the rest of the album is awesome and is of interest of any thrash fan, especially those with interest in the later releases around the late 80's early 90's.
Pulling themselves up off the ground after the critics slated 'State of Euphoria' (although their fanbase pushed sales to gold!), Anthrax released an even darker, but musically superior album in 'Persistence of Time'. As much as I like 'State...', I feel as though carrying on with the sound they developed on that album would have led to an even drier, simpler album that fans would find even easier to dislike. But thankfully that wasn't the case.
Because... the guitars are back! After being pushed to the sidelines on the last album, Scotty and Dan emerge to drive this album with a tone that is literally one of the heaviest I've heard in all my metal listening years. It's an insane crunch, which provides a thick layer of groove on lower strings but sounds straight up evil on higher strings. But tone means nothing without riffs, and considering the band didn't give us any particularly special ones on the last album (Finale excluded), is there any hope for 'Persistence...'? What can I say? This is a collection of some of thrash metal's meanest riffs! From the groove-thrash of that wicked descending intro/chorus riff in 'Blood', to the moshable breakdown of 'Discharge', these riffs are yet again rhythmically engaging as much as they are melodically! The intro for 'Time' is just one note, hammered repeatedly in 7/4 time, but is so damn catchy that I'll be darned if you don't find holes in the floor or family members after beating out the rhythm with your feet/fist/head! You know that cool circular dance Scott Ian does onstage, where he spins around and stomps whilst still managing to keep hold of his guitar? 'Time' is the perfect soundtrack for that.
It really has to be heard to be believed. Seven of these 11 tracks are amongst thrash's most glorious moments, and the biggest surprise is how stylistically dissimilar some of these songs are. 'Blood' features rapping in the pre-chorus, and Joey doesn't sound half bad doing it either! 'Keep It In The Family' is a slow, progressive piece, where the sharp rhythms and vicious riffs seem to transcend ordinary thrash, making a song that goes on for just over 7 minutes leave you wanting more. I usually dislike long songs, but the song is driven by such a dark intensity, it's impossible to turn it off. It effortlessly combines about 8 different riffs, each one so wonderfully catchy, so impressively heavy, so goddamn engaging I might just declare it Anthrax's best song!
'Belly of the Beast' is introduced by the epic instrumental 'Intro to Reality', which beings a calm, warm daydream, slowly increasing in intensity as the layers of guitars multiply, before a storm-like climax and a drop. The subsequent riff is amongst my favourite, to listen to and to play. It has an Irish Jig-like quality, only played by Dan Spitz backed by a chugging rhythm guitar making sure it doesn't sound as corny as you might think. The motiff (originally ascending and descending on the G string with B-C-Db-D) then gets used as the middle-eight, adequately transposed for the E string using the chromatic run of Ab-A-Bb-B. This is just about the most melodic Anthrax has ever gotten, and I sort of wish they'd released more stuff like this, because I really enjoy it. They use this riff alone to introduce 'Belly...' live (one of the best versions can be heard on 'Attack of the Killer B's') which I hope to see them play someday. 'Belly...' itself is a brooding piece calling out those countless Nazi soliders that were 'just following orders' (orders, which included having Jews murdered in gas chambers) as heartless cowards, who chose their own safety over what their conscience was telling them, choosing to kill innocent people rather than fight the madness that engulfed them. It's basically a metal companion to the Ramones' anti-Reagan anthem 'Bonzo Goes to Bitburg', also despairing over the rising number of apologetics that pollute our air even to this day (search Nizkor Project for the ultimate rebuttal if you ever encounter such vermin).
Joey Belladonna delivers a fiery and diverse vocal performance on 'Persistence...'. You'll find him rapping on 'Discharge' and 'Blood', sounding like a young punk on the Joe Jackson cover 'Got The Time' (my friends didn't believe it was the same singer) or supplying some of his more familiar melodic harmonies on songs like 'One Man Stands' (a tribute to 'Tank Man', the man standing in front of the tanks in that famous picture from the Tiananmen Square protests) and 'Keep It In The Family' (apparently based on the racial tension in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which escalated after the tragic murders of three black teenagers during the 80's). He makes the best of some quite terrible lyrics too:
'Raging like a bull inside a cage,
Just give me a stage,
Where this bull can rage!'
But thankfully his voice doesn't punctuate them the way John Bush's would (and does), and they're easily swept away with the next riff or the chorus. I particularly like the way Joey's accent is allowed to bleed through his vocals, resulting in an almost urban-like fury, which I feel strengthens the lyrics and themes we're presented with. Unfortunately, the growing tension inside the band gives the bitter but seemingly harmless songs 'H8 Red' and 'Gridlock' a depressing hidden meaning. The second verse of 'Gridlock' is most telling:
'I like to keep my friends around me close,
But my enemies closer,
Friends accept me for just who I am,
Not someone I'm supposed to be,
Or something they expect for free.'
After all the conflicts these guys have had over the years, that verse sounds more than ever as though Joey, with foresight, knew he was going to be kicked out, even before he got the call. Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention. This is Joey Belladonna's last Anthrax album. [Edit: he's since rejoined for the band's latest: 'Worship Music']
Scott and Charlie always chalk it up to the fact that their label didn't want a thrash band anymore, and getting rid of him was a step towards pleasing 'the man'. Fans saw it as the ultimate betrayal, removing one of the most recognisable singers in thrash metal all for the sake of popularity. Others saw it as necessary, a step into the right direction. It's still a major talking point when debating the decline of thrash metal in the early 90's. Ironically for the band, they've never been as popular since Joey left, almost sinking in to total obscurity at the turn of the millenium.
Putting these things aside, the only other criticism I have relates purely to a recording error. The first time I heard 'Time' with headphones on, I heard a strange whistling in one of the verses, which was so unexpected and freaky, I looked around the empty room for the trespassing culprit. At first I assumed it was Charlie accidentally whistling the vocal line when recording the drum track, but I'm told it's a fairly common mistake and a result of the vocal reverb. Hopefully if they ever decide to remaster 'P.o.T.', they'll attempt to remove it.
So that's 'Persistence of Time'. A shining example of how serious Anthrax could be, without sacrificing interesting melodies (the biggest fault of 'State of Euphoria'). Dan Spitz's solos are better than ever (see 'Time', 'Keep It In The Family', Frankie's bass is much missed (check out his solo in 'Got The Time'), Scott's riffs are without fault, Charlie's drumming is impressive yet again and Joey's vocals fits so well amongst all this, which makes it all the worse that it's his last appearance. The amount of riffs, song lengths and variety encorporated on this album seem to have earned it acceptance by fans of progressive metal, who hail it as Anthrax's most technically satisfying album to date. To the average fan, the band were merely back at the top of their game, especially with now classics like 'Time', 'Keep It In The Family', 'In My World' & 'Got the Time'. They believed the only way was up. Then Joey got kicked.
Persistence of Time Anthrax’s last album with Joey Belladonna always seems to be overlooked when people acknowledge Anthrax’s best releases. Anthrax’s style change was already noticeable on State of Euphoria but it really comes into being on Persistence of Time. Persistence of Time mixes the old Anthrax trademark of a very punk influenced thrash metal style with a more mid tempo Progressive style. It work’s remarkably well since the songs are more complex, longer, and contain some really inspiring riff work.
The songs themselves can be divided into three categories mid-tempo progressive thrash, epic mid-tempo progressive thrash, and the more strait forward thrashers. Persistence of Time is much longer than other Anthrax albums clocking in at just under and hour and fortunately it works well (anthrax was always good at writing longer songs). The complexity has increased relying much more on alternating lead/riff work than the trademark thrashy speed metal riffs of Anthrax’s older material. Persistence of Time is also far more melodic than on any Anthrax release before or after. Persistence of Time’s production is great mixing ever instrument just write.
The band’s performance is top notch on Persistence of Time especially Joey Belladonna’s. Joey as usual pulls of his high pitch classic metal styled vocals but this time around he uses more mid-range and thrash shouts than on any Anthrax release before. Dan Spitz and Scott Ian trade off some of their best lead and riff work throughout Persistence of Time. Charlie Benante pulls off his tightest performance of his career filling Persistence with great double kick bass, fills, and hand drumming. Finally Frank Bello’s bass guitar is more audible than on any other Anthrax release and provides some interesting bass solos on some of the songs.
Unfortunately the quality doesn’t hold for the entire duration of Persistence of Time mainly the last three songs which overstay their welcome. Joey Belladonna does utilize some rap type gang vocals on Time and Blood fortunately they are used rarely. Too many songs also clutter Persistence of Time Anthrax should have shaved the album down a couple of songs for momentums sake. Finally the solos are far more melodic and they do fit each song but they just don’t entertain like they used to.
Overall I would rate Persistence of Time on an equal footing as Among the Living. If Anthrax worked on Persistence of Time a bit more it could have easily been their magnum opus. Best songs are Time, Blood, Belly Of The Beast, and Got the Time (anthrax’s best cover song). I highly recommend this album to any fans of Anthrax and Progressive thrash.
-4 points album quality doesn’t hold for the entire album
-4 points rap elements in the vocals are present on Time and Blood
-4 points solos are less entertaining than on previous Anthrax offerings
-4 points a few too many songs are present on this album
As whole I like “Persistence of Time” better than “State Of Euphoria” but I prefer my favorite songs on “State Of Euphoria” to my favorites on “Persistence of Time”. Are you still with me? What I’m trying to say is that I find “Persistence…” more consistent a but lacking some real individual classics.
I always has a soft spot for the opening track “Time” but the song was never quite as good in the live environment. This song is also a fan favorite and the way the intro processes into the song in simple but effective and very memorable. Other highlights include the catchy “In My World” and “Belly Of The Beast” (including the beautiful intro “Intro To Reality”). Both these songs are never really fast raging thrash metal but they are incredibly catchy and feature some great riffs and a superb vocal performance. The groovy song “Blood” is long but never gets boring and has plenty of dynamics and changes in pace. The “Imagine, Imagine” prechorus is simply outstanding!
With the duo “Gridlock” (great intro riff though) and “One Man Stands” (great chorus) the band delivers two good songs but not brilliant. “H8tred” and “Discharge” are decent but to be honest can be considered fillers. Whereas “Discharge” has plenty of power it can not compete with the best songs on this album. “H8tred” compositionally sounds a lot already like the kind of material the band would start writing with John Bush.
The production was close to flawless and sounds pretty heavy and tight. The lyrics continue the path of seriousness set in by a lot of songs on “State Of Euphoria” and also the album art has a darker image making it easier for some of the more conservative metal fans to get into this album.
Personally I prefer an album with some more up tempo material (you won’t find a Gung Ho, Finale or Imitation Of Life here) but the whole concept of this album came really close to the quality of their “Spreading…” and “Among…” albums, therefor becoming the third best Anthrax album ever. And that is saying a lot of coure.
Anthrax have made a bunch of excellent thrash metal albums over their exsistence. Some have been more succeeded and some less. Anthrax most famous albums were done in the second half of the 80's and early 90's with singer Joey Belladonna but still it was "Spreading The Disease" and "Among The Living" that got really big. "State Of Euphoria" and this one, "Persistence Of Time" was successes but not as big as the other two... They should've been that! I usually rate "Among The Living" as the weakest Anthrax-w/Joey album and "Persistence Of Time" is actually their second best album of all time. Why? Well, that what I'm gonna explain right here, right now...
Anthrax always had great subjects with their albums that featured Joey Belladonna, and so has this album. Time is something that's involving everyone in the whole world and time can be really interesting depending on what the subject is about. I like their direction of making an album about time. It's interesting. This album's filled with a lot of lengthy songs without getting dry and the whole album is kinda dark and epic sometimes.
The opening track is called "Time" and it's a really heavy track that immediately show you that Anthrax still got it and it's also a little reminding of the whole "State Of Euphoria" thing. "Blood" sounds like there's war in hell and Satan takes his troops to destroy the attacking enemy. This albums heaviest track is defenitely "Keep It In The Family". It's so heavy that you just bang your head while it feels like you get your ass kicked by a giant boot. "In My World" is probably the biggest highlight here. It's just so perfect with some perfect riffs to a great and catchy chorus while Dan's solo is awesome. The fastest song is "Gridlock", not the best one but still a killer. "Intro To Reality / Belly Of The Best" are probably my favorite next after "In My World". "Intro To Reality" is a pretty little acoustic guitar track that later goes into the catchy hell of "Belly Of The Beast" which has Joey Belladonna on top. The cover of Joe Jackson's "Got The Time" is really catchy while "H8 Red" is probably the most booring song here even though it's still good. "One Man Stands" and "Discharge" are two heavy tracks that can spell "perfection", they're both awesome.
The production is really nice. Like the other Anthrax albums this one has a different sound but it still sounds like good ole Anthrax. The whole thing is as I mentioned before, darker and a little epic. The drums is just breaking. They just blasts out some thrashin' madness which is followed by crushing guitars and a crushing bass. Joey Belladonna's vocals sounds (as usual) awesome. A lot of the perfection on Anthrax's albums are the vocals.
The cast is doing great. These five guys are some of the best musicians in the metal business. Joey Belladonna has one of the absolutely greatest voices in metal history while Scott Ian is a fantastic rhythm guitarist. Dan Spitz's doing a whole bunch of insane solos here while Frank Bello and Charlie Benante are two of the most insane musicians ever. Everyone's great and the only time it's been better (in my opinion) is on "Spreading The Disease".
So finally to my last comments on "Persistence Of Time".....
Every track is awesome. This album's almost perfect, the only thing is that not all tracks are 11 out of 10 but just 10 out of 10. My personal recommendations would be: In My World, Belly Of The Beast, Time and Keep It In The Family. All tracks are awesome though. I really recommend this album, it's great in any way. You can bang your head, swing along or just relax to it. There's eleven of the finest thrash pieces you can find on one CD and Anthrax is the author of them. If you find this album then I strongly sugest that you check it out 'cause it's worth it. Believe me! This was the very last masterpiece they did. They will probably never come up to this quality again so let's keep the memory of the classics alive by listening to them. Anthrax forever!
This is no doubt (at least in my mind) one of Anthrax's best album. It takes the more serious approach of their prevous album, State of Euphoria, and raises the bar several notches in terms of heaviness and overall songwrting. This also has to be the most lyrically consistent thrash album I've ever heard touching up on things such as hatred, depression, anger, loneliness, and other negative issues without sounding whiny. The tone an atmosphere here is also very dark setting up a very serious album. Joey Belladona also performs at his best here, his voice sounds almost perfect for the mood that this album puts off. Another thing to note is that the songs tend to be much longer, excluding Got the Time.
I really can't pick out any stand out tracks here, because every song on here is executed flawlessly, but if I had to go with highlights, I'd go with Time, Blood, In My World, and Got the Time. Blood and Got the Time have to be the most catchy songs off this album, and I love the chorus fror Blood. I can listen to song about ten times in a row and I can't get sick of it. It's so catchy and memorable, yet so heavy and dark. This is easily the best song on this album. In My World also is quite memorable. It sounds very dark and depressing with lyrics that match the mood as well. Other worthy tracks are Belly of the Beast, H8 Red, and Discharge. All of these songs are memorable and contribute to the album in their own little way. The intro (Intro to Reality) sets up one hell of a thrasher which is Belly of the Beast. Dischrge is the perfect album closer. It's sort of similar to Finale off of their last album, as it is probably the fastest and heaviest track on the album.
They're really aren't any below spectacular moments on this album, but Keep It in the Family is probably the weakest song on the album, probably because it's a bit overlong, but it's still a great song in it's own right. About the only reason why I did not give this a 100% is because some of the songs are a bit too long, and some songs end up sounding pretty similar to each other. Oh well, small price to pay considering. This and Spreading the Disease are Anthrax's best albums. Yes, this is certainly better than the overrated Among the Living, and is also quite overlooked and underrated. It's ashamed that Anthrax will never make another album like this again, because this is epic and classic thrash. This is an essential for anyone that's a fan of either Anthrax or thrash metal in general. If you do not like this album, then you are truly a poser. nuff said.
This was my first Anthrax album and it blew me away. The intensity of the songs, the wild riffs, the memorable lyrics and choruses are what make this album a reliable listen. This album is very different in comparison to other Anthrax albums. For example, this album is more concentrated on constant melodies and contains a more intense drum performance as opposed to some of the other album in the discography, such as Spreading the Disease, which is more centered on guitar performance. The guitars and bass are also heavier on this album as opposed to some of the other albums, which have a higher pitched sound. The vocals are also more melodic in nature as opposed to short, almost monotonous vocals in Spreading the Disease. This is very apparent in songs such as “Blood,” where the vocals are very tuneful.
The album opens up with a ticking clock, cleverly so, as the album is called Persistence of Time, and the song is titled “Time.” Once the guitars and vocals come in, it’s a full on assault on your ears. The intensity of the guitar riffs is prevalent throughout the entire album, as are the melodic vocals. “Blood,” which is the second track is also one of the highlights of the album with its memorable chorus and catchy riffs.
"Blood on Your Hands, Blood in My Eyes
Blood I Can't Keep, Blood Circumscribes
Blood on Your Hands Turns into Blood in My Eyes
And with the Blood I Can't Keep
Our Lives, Blood Circumscribes"
These are some of the captivating lyrics that the album is packed with. Pleasurable lyrics to sing along to are a strong point of this album.
The songs that don’t have equivalent liveliness to the other songs are the third and ninth tracks, “Keep it in the Family” and ‘H8 Red,’ respectively. They’re a bit dull at times, perhaps due to a lack of the speed of the previous songs. Certain parts demonstrate the excellent guitar riffs and solos of the previous songs, but it does not have the same memorable sound. This is not a big deal as the fourth and tenth tracks, respectively, redeem your interest in the album.
“In My World” is another highlight due to the heavy riffs and extremely catchy lyrics.
“I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid,
Nothing touches me; I’m a walking razorblade,
Face the face of fear; face the face of death,
Laugh when other tears, Hate when others laugh…”
These lyrics are one of the most enjoyable lyrics I have sung in some time. The guitar riffs and drum work coincide with the melodic vocals very adequately. The Speed Metal characteristic is very prevalent in this song, especially towards the end, where the guitar sound gets much higher and faster as opposed to most of the rest of the album’s guitar work.
The best genre that fits this album would be “melodic thrash metal.” Songs such as “Gridlock” and “Got the Time,” are great examples of the superfluous melody contained in this album, changing from song to song, you never get bored, as most of the melody is not recycled over and over again. The riffs in each song are, overall, pretty different and offer variety to the album. Hearing the same riff over and over again gets stale very fast, even if the melody and originality are present.
The sixth track, “Intro to Reality,” is a suitable instrumental track. It is a calmer song containing simple drum and guitar work and the bass is constant and holds the melody stable. It gets relatively faster towards the end of the song and goes right into the best song on the album, “Belly of the Beast.” “Belly of the Beast,” contains all of the traits that make this album one of the best Anthrax albums. Melody, riffs, memorable and original lyrics, excellent background drum work and did I say melody? Holy shit this song makes me want to listen to the album over again. Such strong listens as “Time,” “Blood,” “In My World” and “Belly of the Beast,” make this album a pleasurable listening experience.
“Got the Time,” the Joe Jackson cover offers a rapid head banging good time. It is a faster paced Anthrax song, and is another highlight on the album. Intensity and speed are the best words to describe this album. This song illustrates the passion that Anthrax demonstrates throughout most of this album.
“One Man Stands,” and “Discharge” are decent listens, although the riffs and melody start to get recycled, especially on the last track which, at the beginning, sounds like parts of “Blood.” They’re still strong additions to the album, even though they’re not the best songs.
If you call yourself an Anthrax fan you should definitely get this album, as it is one of their best, right along with Spreading the Disease. If you want a fun album to listen to, pick up Persistence of Time. It is unquestionably a superior Anthrax release.
Anthrax had taken themselves to a new level with the release of 1988's State Of Euphoria, with the singles Antisocial and Make Me Laugh gaining them much recognition. However, internal difficulties within the band resulted in the temporary departure of Joey Belladonna (although that could have been before the recording of State Of Euphoria, I'm not really sure). This recording was not without difficulties, with an earthquake and a fire in band's house occurring during the recording of the basic tracks in Hollywood, destroying $100,000+ worth of equipment. In 1990, Persistence Of Time was recieved with great anticipation from metalheads everywhere. This was also the last full-length featuring Joey Belladonna, who only stayed on for the EP before being fired in 1992 due to personal differences and an apparent drinking problem.
I guess the infighting and the troublesome recording of the basic tracks really pissed them off, because this is far and away their most intense and darkest record they have ever done. Early Anthrax always had this light-hearted edge that seemed to make their music a little more enjoyable while still sounding heavy. That light-hearted edge is DEAD AND BURIED and never to rise again on this album, and the album is all the better for it. All participants on this album have taken their individual performances to yet another level. Never before has Scott Ian's rhythm guitar been more punishing. Never before has Dan Spitz's leads been more impeccable. Never before has Frank Bello's bass work been more pulsating or Charlie Benante's drumming been so totally over-the-top and awe-inspiring, or Joey Belladonna's voice been more emotive. Never before have they written a meaner riff or a more aggressive song. Never before had Anthrax reached this peak, and as time would tell, they would never reach it again.
Joey Belladonna (vocals) - Joey gives in a similar performance to his work on State Of Euphoria, with perhaps a little lower choice of notes. His voice also retains some the fire it had in areas of State Of Euphoria and intensifies it, and uses it more often. Great swansong from Joey.
Scott Ian (guitar) - It was difficult for just about anyone to top his prior performances. However, Scott Ian has stepped up to the crease and done just that. Not only that, he somehow manages to hit said prior performances for six! His rhythm playing seems to have become even tighter, and his riffing has taken on an even more oppressive feel than before. Far and away his best performance. This is evident on the hyper-speed track Gridlock, which features a faster and yet tighter display of speed picking.
Dan Spitz (guitar) - Another one who has improved on all past performances, Spitz takes the style he was working on in State Of Euphoria and takes it to a new level. This album features his most stunning leadwork to date. Of particular note are his leads on Time and One Man Stands. Melodic, concise, and with just the right amount of shredding interspersed within the lead.
Frank Bello (bass) - This is where Bello shows what an underrated bassist he really is. I remember reading an interview where he said he wanted to keep the rhythm steady, but throw some licks in here and there to keep things interesting. In that quote he has summed up his performance here to a T. Of particular note is his bass solo in the Joe Jackson cover Got The Time, where he plays a few taseful lines, being careful not to overdo it.
Charlie Benante (drums) - If there was any one member who was the most pissed off during the recording sessions, it would be Charlie himself. Like Scott Ian, he not only manages to match his past performances, but surpass them too. He is at his most fill-happy here, and throws them in with an alarming nonchailance as if this sort of thing is far too easy for him. Of particular note in this regard is in Discharge, where he regularly pulls off fills that will make your jaw drop, not only because of the fills played, but because of the frightening ease at which he pulls them off. His double bass is also used to great effect here too, pulled out quite regularly to enhance particularly punishing sections but without overdoing it. This is the first album where Charlie tries his hand at guitar, playing harmony lines with Scott Ian on Intro To Reality, doing a competent job.
Production was once again handled by Mark Dodson, this time in conjunction with Anthrax. Anthrax's input here is obvious, with the clear, yet lighter mix of State Of Euphoria replaced with a production that is dark, ominous and obscenely heavy. The guitars are much more crushing than usual, and Spitz's lead tone is similar to the previous album. Joey Belladonna is mixed to the front as per usual (given his voice, they'd be stupid not to). Frank Bello has some real presence here, and Charlie's kit has never sounded better.
Time - One listen to this and you know you're in for one hell of a dark and intense ride. An odd-timed riff here carries most of the song, which is an excercise in violence to say the least. This song features an emotive performance from Belladonna, some absolutely suffocating rhythm playing, and perhaps the best lead Dan Spitz has ever put to tape. Great way to start off.
In My World - The intensity shown in this track is downright frightening. Although a great deal slower than some of the other cuts, this is the most oppressive and darkest track on the album. An exceptionally tight performance from Ian and some incredible fills from Benante, capped off by an emotive lead from Spitz.
Gridlock - Perhaps the most up-tempo song on the disc, Gridlock starts off with a riff that seems esceptionally fast, even for Scott Ian, and some nice tom-work from Benante. This cut slows down in the verse sections and allows Belladonna to give an uncharacteristically aggressive vocal performance.
Intro To Reality/Belly Of The Beast - This track starts off with a pretty clean guitar line, which is gradually built upon with harmony guitar lines. The song then gives way to Belly Of The Beast, which has such a compelling rhythm and exceptionally tight rhythm work, it is impossible NOT to try to eject your brain through your eyesocket through headbanging. Excellent song.
One Man Stands - THE best song on the album, this carries one nasty oppressive riff, and an aggression and intensity only surpassed by In My World. The lyrical topic here deals with the oppression of people by the powers that be, which explains the intimidating nature of the song. The chorus is exceptionally catchy, especially the last time that it's done. Of
particular note is the lead from Spitz, which rivals Time as his best lead, and a chilling vocal performance from Belladonna that rates as one of his best.
Discharge - An exceptionally violent closing cut featuring impressive rhythm work, a hair-raising performance from Benante and one of Belladonna's angriest vocal performances. Perhaps their most violent closing cut since Imitation Of Life.
The mindset of the band around the time of the recording must have been beyond vile, because this is easily their most pissed-off recording and one of the most vicious thrash LP's I've ever heard. Do not hesitate to buy this. Sell your dog if you have to.