Cover albums always offer a band an opportunity to roam free and emulate the bands that bared an influence on them as musicians and artists. Although covering a particular song isn’t necessarily as serious task in comparison with creating music as an individual, as a musician, it’s still seen as a subtle requirement to do the track justice and respect. In simpler terms: avoid slaughtering the song.
Anthrax offer a number of covers on their new EP, ‘Anthems’. Choosing specifically six favourite bands from the 70s, such as Rush, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, the band set themselves a wide range of tracks to do justice, not to mention setting themselves far out of their comfort zone.
Up first is a tribute to prog-legends, Rush. Anthrax offer a valiant effort with ‘Anthem’; guitarists Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano hit the right notes, whereas vocalist Joey Belladonna seems to be uncomfortably out of place. Once track two, a cover of AC/DC‘s ‘TNT’ has passed, it becomes more noticeable that Anthrax aren’t strictly putting themselves forward for cover band of the year. Rather, just recognising those who influenced their creative ambitions.
After track four of eight stumbles along, the listening enjoyment of the record becomes increasingly questionable. Anthrax don’t particularly slaughter their song choices, however, they don’t particularly offer an enjoyable alternative either. Instead, the listener is left with what can only be classed as an irrelevant piece of recording that, in all honesty, should have been left in the mixing desk.
Although the band do offer a natural, heavy metal Anthrax piece of material towards the end with ‘Crawl’, along with a remix edition, the EP doesn’t amount to anything of substance, even for a cover record.
Kudos to Anthrax for putting themselves in the position to cover their idols and release the recordings publicly, but I think it’s fair to say that, following this record, many listeners will be anticipating a full-length piece of original material.
Written by Calv Robinson