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Not on par with Penikufesin but still entertaining - 80%

morbert, November 27th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, 10" vinyl, Nuclear Blast (Coloured Vinyl)

We, Anthrax fans, all know the long story behind the Worship Music album. The album which was finally released without Dan Nelson (thank god!) and without John Bush (I’m sure he would’ve sounded great on at least half the songs) but with the returning Joey Belladonna!

To emphasize the sheer pleasure Anthrax are having to be working again with Joey, there is this little EP to make it all the more obvious to the fans. We have a song from Scott’s favorites AC-DC but also a moment for Charlie to shine on a Rush cover. But to be honest, all the songs on Anthems in the first place show how diverse Joey can actually sing. He is the biggest revelation here. He makes all these songs work. He can do Bon Scott AND Geddy Lee. So what is YOUR argument for not liking Joey Belladonna?

'Anthems' is an EP from an eighties metal band sounding like a seventies rock group. The band sticks to the originals. They don’t make these songs sound too heavy or too metal. What we hear is a band covering songs by trying to come as close as they can to the original. Even ‘Smokin’ features a really superb keyboard solo. I am NOT going to describe all songs here. Saying the band chose to stay close to the originals and Joey performing better than ever should be enough for you to get a general idea. However since this is Anthrax and we all know their Penikufesin EP and the many covers they have played on their albums, b-sides and live, we are used to something heavier (remember their version of Twisted Sister’s ‘Destroyer’?) but that should not put you off. This EP is a fun little addition to an Anthrax collection for anyone.

I’ve also heard this EP was initially a vessel to promote their song ‘Crawl’ from the Worship album but honestly that song is the only one that feels out of place. Sorry to say it also is one of my least favorite songs they ever recorded with Joey. A rather cheesy grungy song which also was one of the worst songs on Worship Music. Their ballad-ish songs can't all be Black Lodges or Safe Homes of course. (I LOVE those two by the way)

The only downside, apart from ‘Crawl’, coming from this EP is not even (on) the EP itself but is its apparent consequence in general. Anthrax quite often fill their live set with many covers. I am starting to find it rather dull hearing them play Got The Time and Antisocial over and over again and this little EP, even though it’s excellent, has led Anthrax to also put TNT in their set. When I go out to watch a classic Big4 band that only has a set of 45 minutes, I expect to hear as many of their own classic originals as possible put within that limited amount of time with maybe, possibly, one cover if they feel like it. But not three…If they enjoy playing covers so much, maybe a hobby band under a different name would be a good idea. ‘The entire population of Hackney’ might be a good name. No, wait…I meant ‘Basket full of Puppies’.