Anthrax Gets Classic Rock with Anthems
At least, that's what I thought as I listened to their new EP Anthems, released on Tuesday, March 19. Add that to the fact that these thrash metal legends are coming through town this Sunday on the Metal Alliance tour --alongside Exodus, High on Fire, Municipal Waste and Shadows Fall--and you've got yourself one hell of a biological weapon.
Anthems is a compilation of covers from Anthrax's favorite bands, spiked with a bit of their own style. It was recorded all over the world in 2012: At drummer Charlie Benante's home studio; in a New York studio; on the band's tour bus while on the Mayhem Tour last summer; in hotel rooms, and backstage at their Berlin show last December.
The eight-track EP pays tribute to some truly classic songs, such as Rush's "Anthem," Thing Lizzy's "Jailbreak," "TNT" by AC/DC, Boston's "Smokin'," "Big Eyes," by Cheap Trick, Journey's "Keep on Runnin," as well as the album version and special remix of Anthrax's own "Crawl" from the band's critically-acclaimed 2011 album Worship Music.
"These were some of the bands that really influenced us all growing up. Without even realizing it, they were all songs from the '70s. The title of the EP...these are like, 'anthems.' These songs, and these bands, were so influential to us, and so many others afterwards."
It really is a throwback in more ways than one. When Joey [Belladona, singer] first auditioned for Anthrax back in 1984, he sang some Steve Perry stuff, and 28 years later he is still bringing it big to crowds. And on Boston's "Smokin'," the band brought in Fred Mandel, who has played with Alice Cooper, Queen, Elton John, Cheap Trick, Supertramp and on Pink Floyd's The Wall. He played keyboards.
"If there was ever a perfect first album, it's Boston's first album," claims Benante. "The harmony leads they did would later be heard by Iron Maiden, which of course would lead to thrash metal."