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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