The title of the lead track says it all – Crush. And this album does just that with bone crushingly heavy music in the form of tunes like Catharsis and Inside Out. This is a brutally stripped down heavy metal album, all pleasantness leeched out of the tunes. Their thrash roots are visible in the manic edge to a number of the tracks while some relief from the heaviness is possible if listeners direct their ears to 604 and Cupajoe – but that relief is only from the heavy duty lyrics – not the scurrying speed of the music.
All the protagonists are in fine form – Bush has a voice I’ve always admired and Scott Ian’s stamp permeates the record. This album has a serious feeling of defiance about it, steadfastly hodling onto the bands niche audience. Though it must be said that despite the admiragble aspects such as steadfastness and the refusal of the band to mellow, this is not a loveable record, or even a particularly likeable one.
The reasons for this are the barren feel of the arrangements. Anthrax were always a thrash band, or at least a metal one, but their albums and projects have usually felt more lush than this. One tune that does stand out amongs it’s peers is Toast to the Extras, which sounds like a piece of flippant silliness until you really consider what the lyrics are saying. At which point you may come to consider it the best tune on the album.
This ‘98 album saw Anthrax fighting a rearguard action to maintain their market share. And the struggle of this oozes through every pore of the album. Though the somewhat amusing fold out cover art is kinda nifty. It’s also about the most optimistic aspect of this release.
Anthrax rock out and rock hard on this album. But there isn’t the awesome tunes that we got on Stomp 442 and the band here make up for this via heaviness – the exception being Toast to the Extras. As of this relesae Anthrax were a band barely keeping their heads above water despite the good points of this rather dour album. 2.5 stars.