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1988 was a memorable year for thrash; it reached its greatest popularity. The metal scene was plenty of young bands who tried to emulate the Big 4. The big daddies of the subgenre also reached commercial success but they were determined to modify their patterns instead of repeating themselves. Slayer and Metallica got kinda technical, while Megadeth got punkish. Anthrax’s sound didn’t get dramatically different but Scott and co. started taking their work more seriously. Among The Livingdefinitely made them an icon, followed by a legendary tour, reflecting eventually the achievement of their own style, so they had the responsibility of offering a solid successor whose results were fortunately satisfactory.
It was never intended to be a sequel of its predecessor, although the methodology isn’t really alternative here. “Be All, End All” or “Who Cares Wins” are constructed by Scott & Dan’s consistent riffing, which designs a few necessary distinct sequences and bridges, sometimes reduced to support Joey’s vocals instead but mostly leading the pack. Variations of guitar lines aren’t numerous, only enough to configure convincing structures and obtain continuity. So the execution might not be that complicated, though the humble variety of rhythm changes and instrumental passages reflect certain ambition. Although their schemes are clearly simplified on following numbers as “Make Me Laugh” or “Now It’s Dark”, determined by a repetitive melodic vocal line generally, with instruments in the background following Joey inconspicuously, giving him control during most of the songs with their rather tenuous contribution. Inevitably, their music gets pretty commercial, basically because of the notable melody and numerous verses, even more casual on the popular Trust cover and most of the B-Side. “Schism” and “Misery Loves Company” feature a competent performance and development, lacking the grace and inspiration of the rest on other hand, with Anthrax getting a bit predictable and generic, repeating the traditional formulas strictly, setting limits to their creativity unconsciously. Luckily, the final number breaks the monotony of its predecessors, immaculately arranged if we refer to the professional development of those rough riffs and the lyrical structure, conceiving a much more advanced track that denies the stability of tempos and the uniformity of riffs to obtain bigger musical versatility.
This was a decent prelude to the more technical Persistence Of Time, on which they would develop even further their predilection for lengthier instrumental series and much more elaborated structures. A couple of tunes here have already reached a higher level of complication, though in general the record includes a majority of straight tracks, vocal-based and easily focused. However, some of these loose riffs shouldn’t be ignored, once again they refuse to embrace severe alterations to remain uniform and insistent, technically discreet, but both Scott & Dan make a professional combination, constructing efficiently these cuts’ bases. It seems vocals were firstly conceived on some parts on which they are the main attraction, those lyrics are noticeable as always, still plenty of humor and sarcasm, also introducing serious issues on “Who Cares Wins”, particularly so Anthrax are obtaining maturity and sense on their verses, followed by an instrumental improvement too. Passages are mostly short and direct but their development is better defined and richer. Speed and aggression are no longer their main goal either, some of these rhythms have become weightier (with some exceptions), giving their music certain stability and intensity, making it more accessible. In fact, there are many elements that contribute to make this material more polite than before, starting with the indispensable supremacy of melody, also the insistent choruses’ repetition and that immaculate clean production. The essence of Anthrax’s music has always been commercial but it gets even more in these titles, making them so urban and casual. So it’s not their heavier record, though it lacks no energy or attitude.
State Of Euphoria is unfairly forgotten among these guys rich discography, even though it has some of their most fresh exciting tunes. Maybe it doesn’t have the brilliance and power of its predecessor, yet it is still plenty of fine riffs and delightful melody. By 1988, they already found their distinctive identity and sound, but they had to improve it even more, making it complex and intricate in their own way, something they’d do Persistence Of Time. This release contributed to the evolution of their music, showing no spectacular improvement on other hand. Although it’s scandalous some fans only remember “Antisocial” from this pack, ignoring other cool tracks every greatest hits compilation avoids as well, don’t commit that same mistake.
Here it is, the least liked of all albums Anthrax released during their 'classic' line-up. I can definately see why - that cover is a bit... trippy, the music seems simplified, isn't as fast and doesn't seem to have any real winners on it after 'Antisocial'. It didn't exactly split fans, hell, this went gold just like the last album and the next, but it will probably never be considered to be their best. Personally, I find this album is a blast once you adjust to the tweaks Anthrax made to their sound.
Straight off, the opener, 'Be All, End All', is introduced with a freaking cello! Who do they think they are? They call themselves thrash? (blah blah blah). It's a nice (if a little strange) addition to an already brilliant song, and when I first picked up this album, I honestly thought they'd be incorporating the cello into every song on the album. But don't expect anything else like that on 'State...'.
The music on this album is often called 'boring', but I think it's just the step down to simpler riffs & song structures that put a few people off. Here the band stripped down their sound to rely on pounding rhythms and percussion, whilst the guitars take a more conservative role in the overall makeup of the album. This means the production had to change too, to focus on the energy of the drums rather than the bite of the guitars. And there is TONS of energy here - the drums are masterfully produced, and could be my favourite of any 80's thrash. The dryness can make the album a little tiring at times, because there isn't as much brightness (the cymbals & hi-hats are less prominant) to counteract the low end (something I think they get right on their next effort, 'Persistence of Time'), but it's still an interesting listening experience. I sometimes feel Metallica could have learnt a few things from Anthrax at the time, and an album like '...And Justice For All' could've been much more listenable, but I'll cover that band's problems elsewhere.
The drumming is thrash heaven, up there with the best of Gary Samuelson & Nick Menza for Megadeth and Dave Lombardo of Slayer. I don't know who had most control over the album in the songwriting department (it just says 'Anthrax'), but it's so drum-centric that it almost totally overshadows the rest of the instruments. But I honestly don't know enough about drumming to comment further, although I still think this impressive stuff - it would keep most metal drummers captivated I'm sure.
Joey Belladonna actually sounds very comfortable providing the vocals here. He's forced to sing lower than on previous albums, but his voice doesn't become goofy or weak like you'd expect. In fact, he sings with a lot of heart, making musically unimpressive songs like 'Who Cares Wins' and 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' truly kick ass. It's actually one of his strongest vocal performances, despite the pressure drumer Charlie and guitarist Scott were putting him under at the time (those guys were dicks, let's face it).
This album is let down by Anthrax's uncharacteristically bitter tone. I appreciate they integrated more 'Indians' like social commentary in to their lyrics - a true sign of their punk roots - but the darker subjects covered here seem to detract from their ability to create pleasing music. 'Indians' had that riff, those drums, those vocals, and seems to offer a simple solution to the issues raised in the lyrics: mosh. But 'Schism', for example, doesn't even have a chorus...?! Or is that what 'Schism!... Schism! Ska ska ska schism!' is supposed to be? There's virtually no climax before this faux-chorus, and it just seems like a different section of another verse. This problem isn't uncommon on this album. Thankfully they strike a better balance on their next album, 'Persistence...', in particular with winners like 'Keep It In The Family' and 'One Man Stands'.
The guitars are mere rhythmic support on 'State...', as the album is mostly a tug of war between bitter vocals and pumping drums. 'Be All, End All', 'Antisocial' (everyones heard this one) and 'Finale' stand tall as crowd favourites, the former two songs appearing in Anthrax's setlist more often than not, whilst hardcore fans will be pleased by darker songs like the Stephen King-inspired 'Misery Loves Company' and anti-televangelist 'Make Me Laugh'. In my personal opinion, whilst this album is a overloaded with its dry and gloomy songs, I feel this was a neccessary and interesting step from the lighthearted thrash of 'Among the Living' to the darker still (but musically superior) 'Persistence of Time'. In short: I enjoy the heck out of 'State of Euphoria', but only when I'm in the mood.
State of Euphoria was a major disappointment the first time I listened to it and it doesn’t get better with time. Anthrax started to dabble in progressive thrash on this release and unlike on Persistence of Time it does not work well. The band members seem to have been stuck in a rut on State of Euphoria in terms of the songwriting. I would have to say this is Anthrax’s weakest album of the 80’s hands down.
Most of the songs on State of Euphoria are either in the vein of Among the Living or Persistence of Time meaning fast or mid-tempo thrashers. Leading the way for Persistence of Time this album starts to introduce longer songs more complex riffing and more melodic solos. Unfortunately the quality and entertainment value is much lower than on those above mentioned albums. Not unusual for Anthrax a cover is present Antisocial originally done by Trust, fortunately I have heard the original and can say this version is much better. Two songs on State of Euphoria can be mentioned in the same breath as Anthrax’s classics namely Be All, End All with it infectious melodic intro and equally interesting lead riff and chorus. Also the album highlight/closer aptly titled Finale with its heavy stop start opening riff and equally pummeling main riff. The albums production values are higher and mixes each instrument well so you can hear them individually.
The band’s performance is not as solid as on other releases but still showcase’s their skills. Joey Belladonna vocals seem to be far less passionate than on any other Anthrax album with him at the helm. He sticks far more to his mid-range and doesn’t use his high pitch falsettos as often. Scott Ian and Dan Spitz are the weakest link on Euphoria displaying their most uninspired riffs, leads, and solos in their career up to this point. Frank Bello’s bass like on Persistence of Time is more audible unfortunately it doesn’t forge its own path as much like on Persistence. Charlie Benante’s drum work is great showcasing his skills as a formidable double kick bass king and a fill master.
State of Euphoria is usually seen as the black spot of Anthrax’s 80’s albums and unfortunately it rightly deserves that title. The album standouts are Be All, End All, Antisocial, Schism, and Finale. I recommend this album only to fans of Anthrax and more mid-tempo thrashers.
-10 points lower quality than on earlier releases
-10 points uninspired riffs, leads, and solos
-10 points less passion and cohesiveness than on earlier releases
-4 points change of musical direction didn’t affectively work
Of the so called "big four" of thrash, Anthrax has always seemed to have been the underdog. While they have one of the most distinctive and most immediately recognizable sounds of the whole thrash movement, it can be difficult to pinpoint their niche. Slayer was the fastest, Megadeth was the most technical, and Metallica was the smartest (that's a rant for another day), so where does Anthrax sit? I'd say they're actually the catchiest of the four, but it seems odd that a band whose main talent is hooky writing would be so relatively forgotten in the shadow of the other three behemoths. All this pondering is moot point when one just shuts up and listens to any of the stellar Belladonna era albums though, and 1988's State of Euphoria is no exception.
The riffing style primarily on showcase here is less of the speed and quick palm muting of the previous album and more focused on memorability and weight. The riffs seem to be heavier and feature more of a weighty crush to them this time around. This kind of stomping quality has always been present thanks to Scott Ian, but this is the first time it seems to take center stage, as the three previous albums had either focused on speed or melody. I guess I'm saying there is more riffing ala "Caught in a Mosh" as opposed to "Gung Ho". The production is, thankfully, a huge step up from Among the Living. I spent the majority of my review for that album fanboyishly slurping on Benante's sugary schlong and therefore completely forgot to mention how awful the production was. There, the only the astute listener could properly dissect Bello's bass or Benante's drumwork, while here both are turned up and Charlie's bass drums and toms are as powerful as I could have ever hoped for. This most likely adds to the crunch of the riffs now that the rhythm section actually has some audible balls. The album is on the whole around the same speed as the previous, and could be seen as a logical continuation.
I think the main reason that State of Euphoria is so overlooked in Anthrax's discography is the lack of classics that this record spawned. This is bullshit, but it's the way it happened. Think about it, an Anthrax show wouldn't be complete without "Caught in a Mosh", "Metal Thrashing Mad", "Indians", "A.I.R.", or any other classics from the first three albums. Hell, even the next album gave us "Got the Time" and "Keep it in the Family", but what did this spawn? "Antisocial"... that's it. One song, and a cover at that, seems to be what is recalled in the casual fan's mind when SoE is mentioned. Looking through their live catalog, it also seems to be the only consistent cut from this record. It's a shame that fantastic songs like "Now it's Dark", "Schism", and "Finale" have been so shut out to the likes of newer listeners, because they rank up there with their best. So since there aren't many live staples at work here, the album is thankfully consistently great the whole way through. This should logically help it hold up against Among the Living, but it has instead washed away as the forgotten Belladonna album.
This is just as great as any of the "[blank] of/the [blank]" albums, and is worthy of any Anthrax fan's attention. Despite what others say, this is only a minor step down from the previous album, and shouldn't be as overlooked as it is. There is no logical end to this review, so I shall simply take a small bow.
Being different is not something that should be done for its own sake, but when it comes to the conventional wisdom regarding the Belladonna years of Anthrax, it is something that more people ought to start doing. The fact that people who laud the decent though fairly standard “Among The Living” to no end can call this bland or merely going through the motions is really perplexing, almost as perplexing as any self-respecting fan of this band’s pre-90s material liking “Stomp 442”. It might be understandable to want more development out of this album, as it does listen a little similar to the previous one, but given all the improvements and expansion of sound going on here, calling it a weak version of its predecessor just doesn’t fit what I hear.
Although we start off with a cello playing the intro riff to this album’s opening song, rather than a reverb steeped group of electric guitar tracks, “Be All, End All” proves to be a much more epic and interesting answer to the “Among The Living” question. The main riff is more memorable, Belladonna’s vocals don’t sound quite as forced, and things just seem to move along a lot quicker despite the longer time duration. In fact, throughout the whole album Belladonna and Spitz seem to have upped the ante in terms of quality, while Scott Ian’s riff ideas just come off as much more polished and powerful.
The album’s biggest strength is that despite the fact that it resembles the last one a little in throwing out some similar ideas in differing songs, the ideas are better and the mix of instruments just meld together perfectly. Benante’s kit is still fairly heavy on the high end, but there is just enough more punch to the bass and snare drum on here to properly unite with the bass and give this album the bottom end that many otherwise great thrash albums seem to come up short on. It’s particularly noticeable on straight up, thrashing riff monsters like “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mine”, “Schism” and “Misery Loves Company”. It should probably also be mentioned that this album, unlike the last one, doesn’t force you to listen to a mediocre obligatory ballad and sticks to what the band does best, blazing forward at full speed.
The album does start to lag a little during the 2nd half, as the songs start to lose their epic feel and sound a bit similar to each other, but nothing on here really qualifies as filler. Sure, “Now It’s Dark” and “Who Cares Wins” have some noticeable similarities in structure and feel, particularly during the verses and intros, but the band does a better job of throwing in some contrasting sections and doesn’t limit their options. The only song on here that really seems to truly fall a little short of the mark is the last one “Finale”, which reverts back to the throw in 2 or 3 good ideas and run with them for 5 or 6 minutes trap that the last album fell into. The intro riff kicks some major league ass in a way that force-feeding Big Macs to a vegan would, but it gets itself into a really formulaic groove for most of its duration and doesn’t really cook as well as the others.
But even if all of this isn’t enough to convince you that this isn’t the weakest Belladonna album, I’ll simply refer you to “Make Me Laugh”, one of the top 5 songs put out by this band and better than anything on “Among The Living”. Although perhaps not as witty a polemic against the abomination of televangelism as Sabbath’s “T.V. Crimes”, the lyrics are still really hilarious. The song actually shapes itself like a conversation between one of these bible thumping profiteers and someone who’s privy to their joke of a profession, switching from a happy to quasi-comical verse that parodies a church hymn to a jeering shout of the chorus over a pair of pummeling guitars. There’s also that signature rapid stop start riff that Metallica basically milked for 1/3 of their hit single from “And Justice For All” otherwise known as “One”, but put forth in a more tasteful manner that knows the value of brevity.
While this isn’t quite the melodic fit of sheer speed metal genius that “Spreading The Disease” was, or the classic angry epic that “Persistence Of Time”, this is definitely essential listening for any fan of thrash metal. The only thing that is radio-oriented about this album is the “Trust” cover and the fact that Belladonna’s voice isn’t as menacing as what you’d hear on a Morbid Saint or Possessed album, but the latter applies to any album this band has ever put out. Many minds may push this to the bottom of the band’s 80s albums, but such minds are best when changed.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on November 13, 2008.
The best argument against “State of Euphoria” is that it’s the worst studio album with Joey Belladonna. Having said that I must add that this by no means suggests that it also is a bad album. It simply is good but not brilliant. And we, the Anthrax fans, want brilliant albums. Unfortunately only half of this album was worthy of their legacy and the rest were fillers.
Opener “Be All, End All” simply continues where Among The Living had ended. A mixture of stomping thrash metal with some crossover riffs and highly melodic and catchy vocal lines. Another highlight is the epic “Who Cares Wins” which followes the path of earlier classic “ADI/The Horror Of It All” and incorporates a wide spectrum of thrash metal paces and atmospheres. Third brilliant song is closing tune “Finale” which is up tempo, catchy, powerful and has some of the best riff on the entire album but has become somewhat of a forgotten classic.
Just behind these three mighty songs there are two very good songs. I’m talking about “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” and “Now It's Dark” here. Which both have excellent riffs, great dynamics and an excellent chorus.
Then we have the rest of the album. The threesome “Make Me Laugh”, “Schism” and “Misery Loves Company” are fillers. There are some enjoyable moments but compositionally these songs simply are not impressive enough for Anthrax standards. I’ve never had a problem with the short joke “13” because it’s so short and “Antisocial” is way better than the original by French band Trust but most of the time I skip this song. I guess I heard it too many times.
So you see, 5 out of ten songs are very good or genius and the rest are just okay. There’s not a song here that’s I’d call really bad or horrible. Just adequate fillers. As a whole, good album, not great.
I really don't know why people don't like this album as much as the others. I think it's great. Sure it has some weaker moments but it has some of Anthrax' highest and best moments too.
The albums starts off with an excellent track called "Be All, End All". It starts off with a pretty anoying intro made on a violin (or something like that) but then it goes into Anthrax perfection all the way. Next track is "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind". A track based on a cool guitar riff which screams Anthrax. Track 3 and 4 are the best here, it's "Make Me Laugh" and "Now It's Dark". It was those two tracks that got me interested in this album. Some other killers here are "Finalé" and "Who Cares Wins" while there's the weaker "Misery Loves Company" and the totally unnecessary "13".
The production is great. Maybe a little dry but still awesome. I like the drum sounds very much and the guitar solos got a nice tone aswell. The vocals are mixed nice as usual and the bass aswell as the rhythm guitars sounds great too.
The cast is doing great, maybe their greatest performances ever. I don't know but they're really good on this album. I think the greatest performance here are made by either Charlie or Joey. They are on top here!
So what's my last comments about "State Of Euphoria". Well, it's a great album and a Anthrax classic that every fan should have. It's heavily underrated too. It deserves a lot more appreciasion that it has.
I think you should dig it up, it's defenitely worth a purchase!
The main problem of this album, is that it isn't consistent. The first half of this album is awesome, there are so many great hits in a row which keeps on very high level. But then it just falls down and gives you the feel like there are too many fucking fillers here.
We start off with 'Be All, End All'. It begins with a pretty catchy main riff which is played by a silent violin, then the guitars and drums explodes in and the song gets a speed ahead. The main riff repeats itself a bit and then the first verse comes in. The riffing follows the vocals consistently and sounds pretty heavy but still has some melodic sense. The chorus is amazing, 'Belladonna' sings the opener main riff and the lyrics fits perfectly to the riffing. The lead guitar also doing a pretty good job here and this song continues to build up for the whole six minute of it with a bunch of heavy riffs and catchy melodies. Very intense track, and a great opener. 'Out Of Sight Out Of Mind' is another highlight of this album. It opens with a kickass catchy riff and has another melodic yet thrashy chorus. The c-part is also pretty badass and this song flows pretty well with it's great riffing and intensive drumming. 'Make Me Laugh' opens with pretty heavy and moderate riff and then it settled down. The verses sounds a bit weird at the first listening, but they are pretty sweeping and has very well melody and again, another topnotched chorus which steps up this incredible song. The lead guitar sounds a bit rushed, but overall it's fits alright in the middle. 'Antisocial' is a cover for the french band 'Trust'. Pretty punkish rifffing and very flowing verses. The chorus is awesome and very catchy, I thought firstly that Anthrax wrote that song becasue it sounds very natural for them.
Now the B-Side of this album is pretty mediocre, or even boring at some points. Tracks like 'Schism' and 'Misery Loves Company' are alright, sounds okay, but they don't have even a bit of the intensity and catchiness of the first tracks. There is simply nothing which makes you headbang, nothing which punch at your face and gets you into the same mood of the first side. But the worst part here is '13' which is utterly crap, no need to explain, just a mix of farfetched voices and boirng bass riffing.
Overall, you can't ignore the highs of this albums, but you also can't ignore the fillers. Half of this album is just great, pretty catchy and intensive thrash, but there are some tracks which just fall between and don't reach the level of the good ones.
If you like thrash, get it even only for the first side of this album. It isn't bad album, it's a mediocre one, but you just can't miss tracks like these mentioned below.
Highlights: 'Be All, End All', 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind', 'Make Me Laugh' and 'Antisocial'.
After the mightily heavy, though generally unremarkable, Among the Living, Anthrax were in position to push their own boundaries and release something truly impressive. Unfortunately, they released State of Euphoria. Riding the coattails of their previous album, SoE just goes through the motions, doing little to expand the band's established formula and only providing us with a handful of classics.
I can't count how many times I've attempted to listen to this album in its entirety only to be literally thwarted by the unavoidable compulsion to fall asleep. At the time of this review, I've owned this album for over two years, and this is the first time I've heard the whole thing at once. And for the most part, I've been justified in my unintentional napping. This is Among the Living pt. 2. On one hand, that's a good thing, as Charlie Benante's drumming is even more ferocious and Dan Spitz's (or are they Scott Ian's?) guitar solos have improved dramatically. But for the most part, this is pretty generic. The riffage is heavy of course, and at times pretty fucking fast, but nothing is really remarkable. Joey's voice isn't as good as it was, either that or he's not being utilized to his full potential. Lyrics....are lyrics, nothing sticking out in that department either. The overall tone of this album is darker than Among the Living and the songs are a bit longer, but aside from the punky "Antisocial" and the stupid filler track "13," this album sounds just like it, though not quite as good.
But it's still thrash metal, meaning it owns the shit out of their post-Persistence material with John Bush. It's not as fun as Spreading the Disease, but it's good for fans that wish Anthrax was a darker, heavier band.
Highlights: "Be All, End All," "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," "Finale"
In Joey Belladonna, Anthrax had one of the most distinctive singers in Thrash. The biggest problem with a voice as powerful and clean as Belladonna's was how the hell do you incorporate it into something as rough and ready as thrash? Well, it took the band three albums, but they finally hit the nail on the head with 'State Of Euphoria'.
Often criticised as Anthrax's weakest album, it is easy to see why many fans don't rate it. Production wise, it lacks the bite and punch of 'Spreading The Disease' and 'Among The Living', and is nowhere near as heavy as 'Persistence Of Time'. Scott Ian's signature rhythm guitar crunch has been strangled, and the drums are right up in the mix. It sounds like a bit of a mess, but it actually works, in an odd way.
Instead of the rhythm guitar leading the songs as is more usual in Thrash, it's the vocals which point the songs in whatever direction they may be heading. Joey Belladonna's melodies shine through, and they are a pleasure to hear. Belladonna has an excellent vocal range and a clear voice, and easily pulls off a number of difficult passages and songs. Few other Thrash singers ever matched him, except perhaps Mark Oseguda from Death Angel.
The odd mix of the album make it far easier to appreciate Charlie Benante's drumming than on other Anthrax albums. While many Thrash fans worship Dave Lombardo and Gene Hoglan, Benante often ends up forgotten, rather unfairly.
Anthrax were called a band with a social conscience after previous songs like "Indians", and that aspect of the band was further developed here. "Who Cares Wins" in particular examines the plight of the homeless, and how easy it is for those living comfortably to ignore. Elsewhere, they take a poke at money grabbing evangelists, on "Make Me Laugh". While it's a tried and true, and clichéd, target now, it was cutting edge in 1988. Racism and prejudice also take a hit, with "Schism".
Anthrax have always had a dark sense of humour. The sarcasm through "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind", "Finale" and Make Me Laugh" is biting. "Misery Loves Company" is funny in it's own way too, based on the Stephen King novel 'Misery'.
While not as immediately likeable as other Anthrax albums, this does deserve repeated listens. If it's not heavy enough or the production is annoying, mess with your graphic equaliser until it's fixed. It is worth the effort.