Hearing that Anthrax came up with a new album got me all excited, but when I saw the track list, I was a bit shocked. “Anthems” is a compilation of classic hard rock tracks from the 70´s, performed by one of the pioneers of thrash -strange, I know, but it works.
One problem I have with Anthrax is Mr. Belladonna; the testicle-squeezing high pitches are not my thing –John Bush´s gutsy growls, however are another matter. Alas, Belladonna shows a massive amount of talent and versatility on “Anthems”. The opener, “Anthem”, originally by Rush, scares the hell out of me on paper –after all, a ball squeezer doing a song by one of the most ridiculous voiced singers cannot end well. As it turns out, the vocals are perfectly tuned down to a level where no glasses or ear drums shatter.
There where Geddy Lee´s vocals were tuned down to be tolerable, “TNT” was just watered down. It is obvious from the Oi!s in the beginning, that some of the sharpness is lost. To put it into perspective, they´re not going Oi!, but Ai!. Not a big deal, but it´s almost always the little things. Similarly, “Jailbreak” feels excessively tuned down as far as the vocals go.
As far as the instrumental aspects are concerned, there is no room to complain. Each song gets a slight thrash touch to it in the form of double bass in “Keep on Runnin´” and fat bass riffs in “Big Eyes” and so on.
All in all, the album is very entertaining, especially for those, who are into 70´s hard rock and/or Anthrax. Tracks done by pioneers of hard rock, performed by pioneers of thrash.