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The Greater of Two Evils

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  • Well, reviewing this is a little pointless, I suspect, as I think pretty much all the Anthtax fans out there are gonna know whether or not they’re interested in an in-studio re-recording of some of the Belladonna and Turbin era material. But, for what it’s worth, I think this is a great disc, and absolutely worth the cash. The only bad part about this album is how it illustrates just how dead thrash is, as it completely obliterates all the so called returns and re-births of thrash that we’ve heard over the years, both in terms of quality,(which they can’t really be expected to match in a single album of new material) and sheer metal thrashing madness. (Which they can be expected to match. Well, Overkill still thrashes it up very well, but that’s about it.)

    Lousy production was a problem for pretty much all thrash bands back in the day, but Anthrax took it especially hard, I think. And, although I knew that this would sound better than the old stuff, I was a little worried that it would integrate production styles of the newer Anthrax material, which wouldn’t be quite appropriate for pure thrash.(Louder vox, less harsh guitar tone etc.) Well, I was quite a fool for doubting them, as the production and mix of this album are absolutely perfect. The guitars are incredibly thick and crunching, and pushed way to the front of the mix, and the drums sound great too, particularly the powerful, thudding bass. The vox are right in the center, and relatively quiet, just as they should be. The bass guitar isn’t as prominent as it was in classic Anthrax, but you can still make it out well enough, and you get plenty of extra heaviness with the new production. The only complaint I can imagine is that the back-up/gang vox aren’t quite as loud as they ought to be, but this is a tiny matter. And the instrumental performances are pretty much flawless. Bush does a nice job with the vox, naturally. I’ve grown quite fond of the quirkiness of Belladonna’s vox, but most of the time Bush is probably more suited for the job. However, it’s the change in the production of the instruments that matters, far more so than the different vocalist.(I can’t compare him to Turbin, as I’m ashamed to say that I don’t own Fistful of Metal) The songs are generally extremely faithful(though not utterly) to the originals, other than some changed solos, which are still generally quite good.(Anthrax was never really about the solos, to me, anyway. Naturally, this comment might not apply to FoM, as I haven’t actually heard it, and wouldn’t know)

    As I presume most people will, I have some very minor quibbles with the song selection. Simply put, Persistence of Time is underrepresented with only 2 tracks. But, the fact of the matter is that there are 12 Belladonna era tracks on this album, and every last one of them is an absolute classic.(Lone Justice is a bonus track) So I can’t complain much.And the Turbin material, while not up to the level of the later stuff, is still good, and definitely deserves it’s place due to historical significance. And it provides some nice variety as it’s very old-school. sorta like the faster material on Kill ‘em All with more melodicism and a stronger, straight up speed metal feel.

    Well, that’s it. Awesome album right here.

    Posted on November 11, 2009