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As a big fan of the legendary and unforgettable Twin Peaks series by David Lynch, there were two main reasons why I wanted to check this album out. My first contact with Anthrax was in fact the video clip for "Only" where I recognized the actor Frank Silva which gave me a big jolt and made me remember my childhood nightmares and appreciation of the best evil personality ever portrayed on television which was BOB from Twin Peaks. When I further checked out this album, I learned that the band collaborated with the composer of the series' brilliant soundtrack which is Angelo Badalamenti fr the song "Black Lodge" which had another Twin Peaks' influenced title and clip. That's when I decided to check the entire album out.
What I quickly realized is that the two first songs I checked out are easily the best on the record. "Only" is described as the perfect song by Metallica's James Hetfield. I wouldn't go as far but it's a truly catchy track with great vocals, a dark grunge riff and a nice short and sweet guitar solo. "Black Lodge" is a smooth and experimental track that sounds very slow and lazy and needs some time to grow but it surely is an interesting experiment without having the magic of the composition that were made for Twin Peaks.
The rest of the record falls off the edge. Anthrax play mostly the same dark grunge riffs on the entire record and goes away from the thrash and heavy metal roots of the band. Tracks such as "Hy Pro Glo" or "Burst" remind of a weird mixture of influences such as White Zombie and Metallica with some Voivod, Alice In Chains Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers sounds. The band even used the same producer as Alice In Chains did at the time. The final result is quite close to the grunge and crossover genre where only the dark vibes of some weird intros remind of a slightly progressive thrash style. As many big names of the metal industry, Anthrax also changed their style and tried out something new to go with the time and gather a certain popularity. Back in the years, Twin Peaks and grunge music were two important parts of a barnd new cultural phenomenon in the United States of America and Anthrax worked with them and used them. The band even went further. The bad single choice "Hy Pro Glo" is influenced by a television commercial and the experimental and slightly interesting album closer "This Is Not An Exit" is a tribute to the "American Psycho" novel that came out around the same time. That's maybe not extremely entertaining and courageous but it worked back then as the album got the highest American chart position ever for any Anthrax release.
The album didn’t age very well though and feels a little bit too nostalgic and assimilated to the trends of the early nineties today. Most of the songs sound worn out and closed minded today. I could only cite "Only" as a great song that still works well in the present time and one hit out of eleven tries is not a great average at all. Even if like Twin Peaks and crossover music, this album deserves a rather low rating from an objective point of view and is a popular and sad example for the downfall and the assimilation of the metal genre in the nineties.