15 September 2013

Anthrax - Stomp 442

So after a day of blogging (not done this for an awful long time), it is at the final album of the day that I arrive.  Back in 1995, Anthrax at the time were on their way out of their music label (Elektra), out of the music scene and out of people's minds.  This was their second album with John Bush on vocals; it was their first without Dan Spitz.  It was all about the change in the Anthrax camp at that time.  Their music at the time was against the tide, it was not the nu metal of the era, and it was not exactly thrash metal either if I am honest. But it was still going in a direction that a lot of people were finding exciting to be honest. With art work designed by Storm Thorgerson (who designed many of the classic Pink Floyd album covers) and Peter Curzon, it is a usual album cover; it is also the only one of their back catalogue not to have the traditional Anthrax logo as well.  So how is this album in the great Anthrax discography?

Well, I have to say this is the closest that Anthrax get to groove metal, hence the tag on this one.  It has two tracks which Dimebag Darrell of Pantera does a guest appearance on this one, the sound has that extra crunch which was popular so much at the time.  Starting with "Random Acts Of Senseless Violence", whilst not up there with the traditional Anthrax thrash vibe, it still trying to show that these guys were relevant for the time; and when you are listening to and reviewing this album it is important to taking it in context with the music scene at the time. Metal and rock music was changing - Pantera were coming into their own, grunge was over the previous year with Kurt Cobain putting a final stop to Nirvana and nu metal was starting to take the world with the likes of Deftones and Korn coming into their own.  So the trash titians were trying to keep up with the kids.

But they were doing it on their own terms, and there are some brilliant moments on here if the truth be told.  The production job with Butchers Bros is very crisp and sounds fantastic, even in 2013.  I love the tone and delivery on "King Sized", "Riding Shotgun" and "Tester" - cannot fault the album in some ways.  They even show their softer side in the acoustic driven "Bare" which is given by an emotional John Bush giving his all and is one of the surprises on this album.  Yet for all the positives and trying to move forward, I cannot bring myself to love this album. 

I am one of the few people that are very vocal about the superiority of John Bush as the best Anthrax front man.  I still say that 'Sound Of White Noise', 'We Have Come For You All' and 'The Greater Of Two Evils' show that he is better than anyone else who has been the lead singer of Anthrax.  But when it comes to Anthrax I want it to add to what they do best, not take away from what they do and keep up with the Jones.  This is the one album were they try something without bring what they do best to the table as well.  It is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination and it is one that still gets a regular play due to some good tracks; but in the greater schemes of the Anthrax discography I find it hard to love.

6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

You can purchase one of the versions of the album on Amazon here

You can visit the Anthrax website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a video of a live performance of "Nothing"

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