Tag Archives: dan spitz

“Icon” by Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Title: “Icon”
Label: Island/Universal Music
Release Date: 1/10/2012
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

The latest edition of the “Icon” series gives fans of this line of releases a little dose of Anthrax and after the killer 2011 that the band experienced it did not surprise me to find it coming out. Right off the bat I could say that this is not a release for the tried and true Anthrax supporter and yet more suited for someone who has none of their material in their collection and is in need of a primer of some kind. The eleven tracks cover a wide range of releases but be aware that nothing from the bands John Bush era is featured and that is a bit of a shame considering how respected he was by the fans. Instead it’s a relative hodgepodge of selections that are delivered and a couple struck me immediately as “why is this here and not this other tune”. For instance while we get “Madhouse” and “Armed And Dangerous” we don’t get “Caught In A Mosh” and that made no sense since the band still plays the tune live. The band gets three covers on the album with “Antisocial”, “Got The Time” and “Bring The Noise” which I felt was fine since all of these tunes worked in the sense that they were supposed to. However why put “Belly Of The Beast” on instead of something like “Gung Ho” or “Medusa”? These songs were more important in the bands history also. I would have scrapped the bands revisit to their “I’m The Man” tune entirely or just put the original in place as opposed to singing about the time when they did that song. I’ve also grown super tired of “I Am The Law” which was their homage to Judge Dredd comics and there are very few Metal heads today who even know who that is thanks to Power Rangers, Transformers and other comic book properties that now command the big screens (and small). Oh well, it is what it is.
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PiercingMetal Spotlights: Anthrax

Back in the early days of Thrash Metal, the guys in Anthrax were the hometown heroes to those Metal fans who lived in the New York area.  Formed in the Bronx, the guys were wild and their riffs insane on top of some knock you down drumming.  The UK might have given us the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal a few years earlier, but it was clear to many fans on this side of the fence that the USA was doing well at making a mark of its own.  During these formative years of my own Metal development, I had to admit that I preferred a lot more of the Anthrax stuff to that of Metallica and this surprised some of my friends but found me in kinship with those who felt the same way.  Eventually I found myself enthralled by the Tallica’s and Slayer’s but for the beginning it was NYC for me without question and few band spoke to NYC like Anthrax did.

When PiercingMetal.com was launched it was very close to the time that the original or “staple” lineup of the band had reunited and once again reminded fans about why they were so enjoyed in Metal’s history.  We also began reviewing whatever releases came out at the time as soon as we got our hungry Metal hands on them.  Click the logo below to be taken to all of the Anthrax content on PiercingMetal.com and find yourself “Caught In A Mosh” once again.

Logo - Anthrax
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“Among The Living” (remaster) by Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Title: “Among The Living” (remaster)
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 11/10/2009
Genre: Thrash Metal
Rating: 4/5

As I look upon the Deluxe Edition remaster of Anthrax’s “Among The Living” which was released in 1987, I can hardly believe that it has been that long since I first spun this recording on my record player in my parent’s basement. Yet here we are in 2009 and this is very much the case as the band’s most popular recording gets a long overdue upgrade treatment and finds itself bumped up in track number and offering a DVD to the fans as well – talk about cool. To be brutally honest, “ATL” was not my own first Anthrax foray as I had long been a Metal head by the time it had come out but with the “Armed And Dangerous” EP and the “Spreading The Disease” CD already in my hands and head the material being dished out on “Among The Living” was a welcome thing. The video age was upon us now and lucky for Anthrax their short films were beginning to get a little more rotation and songs like “Indians” were regularly seen on The Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. “Indians” was of course one of the albums biggest numbers as was “I Am The Law” which sung about the comic book Anti-hero Judge Dredd whom members of the band really enjoyed the exploits of and the bands anthem of sorts “Caught In A Mosh”. Whew, that alone makes for a solid album but when you factor in the power of “A Skeleton In The Closet” which always drew me in based on the furious double kick drums of Charlie Benante you have something that will last the tests of time. The vocals of Joey Belladonna are great and I think he was really hitting his stride with this one. Guitar wise it’s strong for what the band was intending to do.
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“Anthrology: No Hit Wonders (1985-1991) – The Videos” by Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Title: “Anthrology: No Hit Wonders – The Videos”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 6/10

Anthrax completes the run of product surrounding their “Classic Lineup” reunion with this DVD that features what appear to be all the videos from the time frame that this lineup existed. Long time fans will appreciate this the most since it will remind them of those U68 days and when MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball was in its initial run and made a larger impact on Heavy Metal music. While I found it a kick to see a lot of these videos once again I really was disappointed in the amount of individual product that Anthrax has released on the listeners all at once. The group had issued 2 individual CD and DVD products based on the reunion of this membership. 2 were live and the other 2 retrospective. As a result it’s been commented on that not everything was selling as good as expected. This is especially the case of the videos collection as they are not things that the fan might buy immediately. Given the amazing CD Anthology from this era that brings the Metal Thrashing to your speakers and starts a mosh pit in your living room the band should have stressed that this release especially be included with the CD. Three piece sets are not all that uncommon anymore especially with bands in Europe who are doing that. Ayreon releases double CD and DVD packages on a regular basis and has proved their audience willing to shell out the couple of extra dollars. On the videos themselves they are a tad corny but anthrax was not one of those bands that took the format all that seriously and made sure they had a lot of fun in most of them. There are a couple of live tracks from the long out of print VHS concert release “Oidivnikufesin” (nisefukunvideo which was filmed in London during their “State Of Euphoria tour”. I had fun watching a couple of them but beyond that felt this is more for the absolute Anthrax maniac. I don’t refer to music videos all that much anymore and most of the bands in the 80’s hardly used the form in the manner that Def Leppard or ZZ Top did with films that are a lot more memorable years later. Most of the Anthrax tunes on film were Heavy Metal displays of often cartoon like antics. Given the times, I would not have expected it any other way.
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“Alive 2: The Music” by Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Title: Alive 2 (2005)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10

Released in tandem to the DVD of this performance along with a Greatest Hits compilation comes the reunion of the classic Anthrax lineup. In the 13 years that passed since the “Among The Living” team performed on the same stage the band continued with limited original members. It was still strong and had a good show of support but it did not have the impact on the old material that the classic group once had. This CD comes as the audio release of the concert DVD that bears the same name and with it listeners can once again hear Joey Belladonna, Danny Spitz, Scott Ian, Frankie Bello and Charlie Benante united. The recording is good but as someone who attended this particular show I was saddened to find 5 tracks not on the release from the set list that was performed. Recorded at New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom on June 3, 2005 this particular show was a highlight of many Metal heads Summer. While this should have been released as a double CD to capture the full effect, you end up getting the picture just enough to enjoy yourself. The band sounded tight and energetic and the audience reactions can literally be felt through the speakers. A review of the DVD and this Concert appear elsewhere on the site so check them out to draw your own comparisons on the event.
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