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If there's one band's decline that truly saddens me, it would have to be the tragic downfall of Anthrax. Even more so than that of Metallica or even Sepultura, Anthrax plummeted from the heights of thrash near-perfection to the cruelly paired depths of mainstream rock and groove metal. This single, taken from their most recent shitfest, is a perfect display of everything that is wrong with this band right now and as much as it pains me to bash these once-greats, material like this leaves me no other choice.
Track one is "Taking the Music Back" from their We've Come for You All album. I know there's a tendency to associate unpleasant "metal" with a Korn/Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park sound without any real grounds other than disappointment, but the best comparison I can think of for this song is Puddle of Mudd. Seriously, John Bush sounds just like the guy and the riffs are limp enough to fit right into their catalog. Nevermind the assertation made in the lyrics, listen to the music: this song was tailored for MTV playability. This is followed by the "previously unreleased" mid-paced chugger "Ghost," which while inifinitely less terrible than the first track, is rendered similarly by the annoying recurring siren sound, one of the worst Anthrax solos ever penned (well, at least it has a solo, I guess), and an unnerving Butthole Surfers/Monster Magnet vibe.
But then comes the promise of cover tracks. To an Anthrax fan, this should bring back warm, fuzzy memories of past covers the band has done. Alice Cooper......S.O.D......the Sex Pistols......wonder what fresh and interesting stuff they'll deliver in the new millennium? Prepare to be monstrously disappointed as the boys kick out the jams with renditions of U2 and the Police. "Exit," the former, is unbearably mellow and uninteresting, while "Next to You" is punky but harmless. They might as well have covered Jewel and Blink 182, respectively.
Don't let the allure of video clips entice you into acquiring this little tidbit of Anthrax's shameful modern state. Aside from the only mostly horrid "Ghost," this is sonic excrement, condemned to the deepest, dustiest reaches of bargain bins worldwide. If you're unfortunate enough to welcome it into your home and into your stereo, I promise you'll be quick to welcome it into your garbage can shortly thereafter.