Anthrax "Anthems" (MRI/Megaforce)
There's a revelation on Anthrax's "Anthems" EP: Rush's music is annoying, no matter who plays it.
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The speed metal kings, driven by drummer Charlie Benante's infatuation with early Neil Peart, chose Rush's "Anthem" as the inspiration for their eight-track EP in which they cover classic 1970s rock bands that influenced them. Suffice it to say the jarring stop-and-start timing and riffing of a Rush song doesn't work with the heaviest of heavy metal bands, either.
But the rest of this all-too-short disc is like hard-rock comfort food, hewing closely to the originals, with some special Anthrax sauce on the side. Best is a cover of Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes," which blends the band's melody with Anthrax's harder edge.
"Smokin"' is a cover of the classic Boston ode to inhalables, and "Jailbreak" puts a fine point on the Thin Lizzy classic.
Singer Joey Belladonna shows his vocal versatility here. On "TNT," the AC/DC anthem, he sounds just like Bon Scott; when he covers Cheap Trick, you'd swear it was Robin Zander singing. He even nails Steve Perry in covering Journey's "Keep on Runnin."'
"Crawl" and a remix of it are the two original new tracks on the disc, which lend a little more texture to the trademark Anthrax crunch.