Sunday, March 24, 2013

Anthems To The Mosher At Dusk

Anthrax – Anthems

 Megaforce Records – 2013

Muthas, Anthrax has cranked out a ton of covers in their career, and this year they have released an eight track EP - Anthems - that features six covers of songs from the 70s.  The band offers up songs from Rush, Boston, AC/DC, Journey, Cheap Trick, and Thin Lizzy. The EP also features two versions of the song “Crawl” from Worship Music.  So how does all this sound?  Read on dear reader and we’ll tell you.

First off, the inclusion of not one, but two versions of “Crawl” is ridiculous.  This song was one of the weaker tracks on Worship Music, and the last thing we need is a shitty sounding remix of a mediocre song.  What a waste.  Anthrax should have put two new cuts on this EP to whet the appetite for the next studio album.  Second, do we really need both versions of “Crawl” back to back on the album?  WTF? Oh well, at least they are tracks 7 and 8, which makes it easy to skip these turds.

When it comes to cover songs, bands have a choice: make the song their own, or play it exactly as the original artist did.  Anthrax chose the latter rather than the former and Anthems is a bit disappointing because of it.  Almost all of the covers are exact, note-for-note reproductions of the originals with nary a variation.  It would have been nice to hear a more expansive take on each song by the band. On a more positive note, Joey manfully uses the full scope of his great range to easily mimic everyone from Geddy Lee to Bon Scott to Phil Lynott. 

The highlight of the EP is Journey’s “Keep On Runnin’” which is a bit heavier than the original and is much better as a result.  As the liner notes mention, Joey auditioned for Anthrax by singing Journey songs and he effortlessly pulls off Steve Perry’s vocals.  Check it out below:

Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” is also very well done and a favorite here at The Metal Blog of Metal. Incidentally, we loved Anthrax’s earlier cover of Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song” from when John Bush was in the band.  Such a great cover!   

One place where this release does excel is in the packaging.  Each CD is a digipak wrapped in a slipcase.  Each slipcase had a die-cut pentathrax on it that shows a bit of the artwork underneath.  Upon pulling the digipak out of the slipcase, one of six different covers is displayed – one for each different cover song.  That is very cool and will be sure to drive OCD fans crazy as they try to collect each cover variant.  Good job boys!


The Bottom Line:  This is a decent little EP with sweet packaging that has definite collector appeal.  It’s not essential by any means, but if you like cover songs, run out and get it.  Also catch the band on the Metal Alliance Tour as they are throwing a couple of these songs into their set.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

10 Inches of Doom!

Orchid – Wizard of War

Nuclear Blast Records – 2013

Muthas, the band that can do no wrong is back with a sweet 10” vinyl EP that features their new song, “Wizard of War.” This is a pre-release track from Orchid’s greatly anticipated second LP, The Mouths of Madness.  So, did Orchid shit the bed and succumb to pressure from their new label and change their sound?  Of course not!

The EP contains three tracks of doomy perfection straight out of some dreary, mist-shrouded graveyard.  Starting things off is the ripping title track, which cranks the tempo up and conjures images of interstellar destruction, madness and tyranny.  In other words, the kids can dance to it!  Uh, maybe not, but they certainly bang their heads to it. Check it out:

The second cut finds the band stretching themselves a bit and incorporating some early Alice Cooper sounds on the creepy “Demon’s Eyes.”  It’s a kickass mid-paced tune that is stuffed full of hooks and a memorable chorus.  It was previously released on the Grave Command: All Hallowed Hymns compilation from Unseen Forces last year, but this is the first widely available release of the song.  Take a listen:

The final track was previously released on the Capricorn album “Albatross.”  It’s a somber, spacey song that recalls “Planet Caravan.”  One huge difference between this and “Caravan” is the lyrical content.  “Planet Caravan” was about floating around the cosmos making love to your girl, but “Albatross” is about fleeing the Earth and settling Mars, only to have the Sun snuffed out by the dopes left on Earth. Bastards!  The Mars relocation plan was a dismal failure, but this song is excellent. 

The Bottom Line:  Orchid have once again offered up a killer EP to placate the faithful until April 26th when The Mouths of Madness kicks the Metal world straight in its ass.  If vinyl is your thing, get out there and buy one.  If you like downloads and have no soul, you can download the title track from the usual suspects.  If you like CDs, you are shit out of luck.  Sorry man.