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Nice to have you back, guys. After a couple of disappointing albums - Stomp 442 and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (I was far less impressed with Stomp than the tracks I heard from Volume 8, for anyone wondering), Anthrax have roared back with their best album with John Bush at frontman. This album isn't exactly thrash, but it is music we all know they are capable of making.
The music and rhythm is more groove based and the production is surprisingly good, considering how Anthrax is given credit as the main producers on this album. Almost every song is a highlight in some way, as most of the songs here are either excellent or very good. There is only one totally throwaway track ("Black Dahlia"), which lacks inspiration and direction, but that cannot be said about the rest of the tracks here. For anybody wondering, there are no collaborations with rappers, which in my opinion, is a good thing. "Contact/What Doesn't Die" greets us first, with the stutter riffing in the beginning of "What Doesn't Die" being very good. John Bush sounds incredibly inspired in the chorus of this song, and the rest of the band backs him very well with just as much inspiration. "Superhero" has a nice groove in the chorus, and "Refuse To Be Denied" does as well. The guitar playing is somewhat slower than the norm though.
"Safe Home" is a ballad, and got some airtime on my local active rock station, as this is probably as close to radio-safe as they get on WCFYA. It sounds a lot like "Black Lodge" (from The Sound Of White Noise). Charlie Benante's drumming in "Nobody Knows Anything" is some of the best I've heard from him since the Among The Living album, and check out the tribute to Judas Priest at the end of "Strap It On". It sounds a little like "Love Bites" (from Defenders Of The Faith). "Cadillac Rock Box" has a nice winding chorus, as well as some good rhythm guitar playing, while "Think About An End" and "W.C.F.Y.A" end the disc with a slight thrash edge. Two fairly unique songs, and a great way to end the album. Both tracks would also make a great ending to an Anthrax show, now that I think of it.
One of the best CD's of 2003, and a keeper at that!