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Anthrax: Anthrology: No Hit Wonders 1985-1991

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  • This is an excellent cd to add to your collection if your one of those true die hard Anthrax fans! “No Hit Wonders 1985-1991″ takes you all the way back to the beginning from “Armed and Dangerous” to “Attack Of The Killer B’s”. Great songs such as “A.I.R”, “Efinkufsin (N.F.L.) and “Be All, End All” is all you old schoolers would want to hear on a 2 disc cd.


    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Anthrax was one of my favorite metal bands growing up in the 80’s. They were heavy as all get out, but they also had a street credibility that made them stick out in a sea of ultra-serious metal made by people wearing tons of leather and spikes (and makeup in lesser cases). Anthrax were content to go on stage wearing just t-shirts and jam shorts which really helped them connect to their fans in a much more personal way than a lot of other metal bands from the classic era.

    This 2 disc collection covers the 1985-1991 years of Anthrax’s career which is what many a fan consider to be the true lineup anyway. The lineup during these years were vocalist Joey Belladona, bassist Frankie Bello, lead guitarist Danny Spitz and founding members on rhythm guitar and drums Scott Ian & Charlie Benante respectively. This set also honors the 25th anniversary of the release of their classic 1985 album “Spreading the Disease” which was the debut of then new vocalist Joey Belladona (who actually had made his debut on a previous E.P. entitled Armed & Daneragous, but why quibble). He had repacled their terrible original singer who had mangled their 1st album, 1984’s Fistul of Metal, which was musically an otherwise fine debut album.

    While I would have preferred that they had just released re-mastered versions of the actual albums, this seems like it’s going to be as good as it’s going to get for a while. I guess we should be thankful that Island/Universal gave us this at all.

    Basically you get 7 out of the 9 tracks off of 1985’s “Spreading the Disease, 6 out of the 9 tracks off of 1987’s “Among the Living”, 6 tracks from 1988’s “State of Euphoria” and 6 tracks from 1990’s “Persitence of Time”. They also throw in 2 tracks off of the “I’m the Man” e.p., their classic matchup with Public Enemy (Bring Tha Noize) and 2 tracks from an odds/sods EP which make up the last 2 tracks on disc 2. (one of those is a hilarious French language version of the track Anti-Social.)

    The sound has been remastered as to where everything is clearer and you don’t have to crank the heck out of your stereo to get it loud enough. The production sound itself & mix have been left untouched. While still sounding a little raw, compared to other metal bands of the era, it sounds fantastic. The new mastering also makes things a bit clearer as well without affecting the mix.

    The set contains great liner notes from all of the band member reminiscing about the old days and what those classic albums mean to each of them.

    Overall, a very classy set that should more than please Anthrax fans who have been clamoring for something to be remastered at some point of their catalog. While I’m still holding out hope that we’ll one day see new remastered special edition’s of each of the 4 albums themselves, this is still a great collection nonetheless.

    I’m more of a fan of the Belladonna era of Anthrax so I welcomed this with open arms and am hoping to catch the reunited classic lineup on tour at some point. Hopefully, they’ll make an all new record as well.

    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I prefered they just reissue all of their classic albums remastered, but whatever. You get a lot of their best songs from Among The Living, all the way to Persistence Of Time. Plus it’s more to the point if you’re just looking to get all of the tracks included in this 2 cd set, and everything is remastered. 30 tracks: 7 from Spreading The Disease, 6 from Among The Living, 6 from State Of Euphoria, and 7 from Persistence Of Time. Plus, 2 tracks from the I’m The Man EP, Bring Tha Noize from Attack Of The Killer B’s, and a french version of Antisocial. We all know the onslaught started off with Spreading The Disease, the band’s first album with Joey Belladonna, but they shook things up with Among The Living. Back then, that album was groundbreaking. Then came State Of Euphoria. Many came it was the worst one that came out in the 80’s. Although it was deemed a creative disappointment, the album is highly underrated and shouldn’t be overlooked. Lastly there was Persistence Of Time, which many believed was a return to form for the band. I can’t argue with them, this was easily one of their best ever. Sadly, it was their last with Joey, seeing that the band was going in a different direction and felt they needed somebody else for the job. One thing you notice was that with these albums, the music got heavier and heavier with each album they put out. So if you don’t already own these cd’s, then go ahead and give this 2 disc collection a chance.

    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • As a long time Anthrax fan I can say without a doubt that remastered versions of their Island catalog was waaaaay overdue. All in all, this is a nice compilation of their 4 studio albums as well as some EP stuff from 85-91. Where my gripe comes about with this is that basically well over half of each record (Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time) is represented in this compilation. Personally, I’d sooner they would have just re-released those four records completely remastered. It eliminates the omissions that every long-time fan is going to have.

    Now the positives are this. These songs sound amazing compared to the original releases. It is so nice to finally have an upfront and agressive mix of a song like “Be All, End All” that gives the song the punch it always had but the poor production always took from it. It is also cool to have the track that really surprised me, being their cover of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” remastered. It was a really nice “bonus” inclusion (if only they’d have done the same with “Parasite”). The worst complaint I can give to this is that some of the songs sound “treble heavy”. I think this is a matter of issues with the source material and that in order to make the tracks more punchy with the remasters that the high end sounding a bit harsh was simply inevitable. I’m just glad they didn’t try to re-record parts of the songs for the re-issues as many bands have done recently (Yes, I’m looking at you Ozzy).

    Bottom line, definitely a long time coming and the improvement in sound is dramatic. I highly recommend it, but I have to wonder if I am going to be shelling out more cash later to finally get remasters of songs like “Stand or Fall”, “Imitation of Life”, “Misery Loves Company” and “One Man Stands” with full record remasters?

    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The Good
    They may call this collection No Hit Wonders, but any self-respecting classic metal fan knows there’s plenty of `hits’ here. One of the best parts is that the songs are chronological. That’s the best way to hear their progress and development as a band. Disc 1 covers Anthrax’s first two (complete) albums plus a couple of EP tracks. A traditional chugga-chugga riff accented by power chords defines “Madhouse”. Belladonna’s high-pitched vocal delivery fits right in. The drum beats drown out the monster riffage on “The Enemy”, while arpeggios help layer “Armed and Dangerous”; although we all know it takes a metal thrashing turn for the brutal.

    I don’t know about you, but I miss the long instrumental introductions like the one on “Among the Living”. They just make the song sound so grand as it builds to a frenzy. “Caught in a Mosh” is the perennial “pit’ anthem. “I Am the Law” is about Judge Dredd (the comic book character, not the horrible Rob Schneider movie-I think Stallone was in that too). Of that particular time period, “Indians” was probably the signature song for the group. Not many people thought that metal heads had half a brain to even care. The song has a thought-provoking message as well as blistering riffs and tribal drum beats. It makes you want to lose control when Joey hits, “WAR DANCE!” “I’m the Man” was a gag at first, but seemed to take off, and established Anthrax as the first metal bands to incorporate rap music.

    Disc 2 focuses on the last two Belladonna-era albums plus the Attack of the Killer B’s release and Penikufesin EP. Maybe it was because metal was becoming more mainstream at the time, or maybe it was because Anthrax’s recording budget was much larger, but songs like “Antisocial” and “Who Cares Wins” had great rock radio appeal and a polished sound. This is where the band was heading anyway, so I guess it was natural. “Belly of the Beast” has some great guitar work, as well as a catchy chorus section. It almost feels as if you’re falling into the fiery pits of hell.

    Anthrax’s cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time” is a perfect fit for the speed metal masters, although Scott Ian has admitted that Jackson does it faster. “Bring Tha Noise” (w/Public Enemy) is probably where most metal fans thought Anthrax had officially sold out. Even though they had already done “I’m the Man”, this particular track was done in all seriousness instead of in jest. If was a huge hit and spawned the whole rap/rock revolution, but may have cost the band a lot of their fans. I am impressed that they still perform this one live. I’m not really a liner notes kind of guy, but it would do you good to read them.

    The DVD has its good points and bad points. You are getting 13 music videos, but most of them are live performances. “Metal Thrashing Mad” is from a rare performance in Germany when Anthrax opened for Overkill and Agent Steel. “Armed & Dangerous”, “Among the Living”, “Caught in a Mosh”, “I Am the Law”, and “I’m the Man” are all from a live performance in England. A couple of them were the actual videos on MTV.

    “Mad House” was and probably still is the band’s best video (and first). MTV rejected the initial cut because they thought the group was making fun of the mentally disabled. You get both versions. “Who Cares Wins” is one of those `down on your luck’ videos shot in black and white. The video for “Got the Time” doesn’t really make much sense, and you know they couldn’t forget the video that was played ad-nauseam on MTV for weeks on end, “Bring Tha Noise”. Be sure to watch the video commentaries with the reunited group to get all the dirt and trivia behind the music and videos.

    The Bad
    I guess this makes The Greater of Two Evils kind of pointless. Also, I’m a John Bush fan (but I won’t let that effect the review).

    The Verdict
    As far as the CD goes, this is the most complete set of Belladonna-era Anthrax material ever. Some might say this was their defining and most impactful years, so it may behoove you to pick this one up. If you want a history lesson in classic metal thrash, look no further than No Hit Wonders. Although the DVD only boasts 13 videos, the insightful commentaries make up for the lack of quantity. You’re still getting every video they made with Belladonna, and you’re getting a window into the evolution of a band; in music and appearance.

    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now