Fistful of Covers
Anthrax is a group that needs little introduction, due in part to their status as one of the “Big Four” in thrash metal. It’s a status that has surely been well earned, as their discography is filled with several landmark albums that have been highly influential to the music (not just metal) world. It goes without saying that Anthrax helped pioneer a fast-paced brand of metal that remains celebrated even to present day. Anthrax has not been afraid of taking risks by stepping outside the norm; those who remember their collaboration with Public Enemy surely know that. Their latest EP, Anthems, is another such example of a risk they have taken, but it may leave even their die-hard fans feeling a bit lukewarm or indifferent.
After their recent and successful Worship Music, Anthrax dropped Anthems, an EP which features a collection of hard rock and progressive rock songs which many of their fans may find memorable and enjoyable. The songs they have chosen to cover are phenomenal, containing fan favorites of groups like Rush, AC/DC, Boston and Thin Lizzy. The production work is remarkably strong; it is a clear, powerful, and polished release. The manner in which Anthrax has chosen to present the songs is positive as well — the songs have an Anthrax feel to them, but still retain the atmosphere of the original work. In particular, “TNT” and “Jailbreak” are the best covers found here, as they feature a gratifying mixture of metal and hard rock.
However, there are negative aspects to this release. Anthems might not sit well with many fans, who are well aware of the potential Anthrax have in the original songs that they produce. It may leave listeners hungry for new material, while feeling like this EP is simply a substitute to prolong the wait for another album. As a result, many listeners will not see this as extremely essential Anthrax release to grab a hold of, or even revisit often. That being said, while it’s not an amazing release, it’s not a horrible one either. It’s definitely worth a proper chance and listen, at least one time through.