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Music Review

Anthrax - The Greater of Two Evils

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1 of 1 Better than the originals
Better than the originals

Nuclear Blast - 2004 - 75 minutes

Metallica now have a documentary, the advice of a highly-paid therapist and one seriously donkey album as mementoes of the 'St Anger' period of their careers. But if they need further proof of just how much they lost the plot, then one blast of this record by their former peers will do the job.

Despite the fact that he's fronted the band for 13 years, singer John Bush wasn't in Anthrax when they recorded their best-known and biggest albums - the ones that gave us anthems like 'Metal Thrashing Mad', 'Madhouse' and 'I Am the Law'. But Bush has made those songs his own on stage - to such an extent that many pondered just what he'd do with them in a studio.

So, taking an online poll of fans about what songs they wanted Bush to sing, Anthrax pitched camp in a studio for a weekend last winter and bashed out this album. The results are genius - rough, urgent and, in many cases, better than the originals.

All the tracks here appeared on records anywhere between 14 and 20 years ago, but the energy and aggression the quintet harness date them to today. And while in the past the talents of rhythm guitarist Scott Ian have been overlooked by some in favour of Metallica's James Hetfield, '...Two Evils' is his masterpiece. It's a 'Greatest Riffs' where his crunch faces-off against Bush's vocals, some inspired double bass drumming from Charlie Benante and another star turn from lead guitarist turned producer Rob Caggiano. This is a team effort with great solo performances.

Thrash metal is currently experiencing a revival and 'The Greater of Two Evils' is a sledgehammer reminder of how important Anthrax were to the sound - and continue to be. It's as far from a nostalgia trip as any longtime fan could wish for and finds the band in the best position of all - wondering how they'll top it.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Deathrider - Metal Thrashing Mad - Caught in a Mosh - AIR - Among the Living - Keep It in the Family - Indians - Madhouse - Panic - I Am the Law - Belly of the Beast - NFL - Be All End All - Gung-Ho

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