Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Anthrax for Bobby Digital

My office comrade, Bobby Digital (no, not that one), got to see Anthrax play Jimmy Fallon. Right as I was congratulating him, he described the event the way that Jesse Helms would probably describe an Anthrax show. No surprise there--Anthrax aren't a band that inspires a lot of indifference. But Bobby D also enjoys Iron Maiden and Metallica, so I sought to give him an audio discourse on New York's greatest metal band.

Anthrax for Bobby Digital
  1. Bring the Noise
  2. Only
  3. Antisocial
  4. Got the Time
  5. Caught in a Mosh
  6. Hy Pro Glo (Al Jourgensen remix)
  7. Inside Out
  8. What Doesn't Die
  9. Among the Living
  10. Cadillac Rock Box
  11. Taking the Music Back
  12. Think About an End
  13. I'm the Man
  14. Madhouse
  15. I am the Law
  16. Fueled
  17. Refuse to be Denied
  18. Metal Thrashing Mad (John Bush version)
One look at Anthrax for Bobby Digital gives me away. I am a John Bush fan. In most circles, that's like saying you prefer Van Hagar, but the fact is that Anthrax were at best with John Bush's growls and not Joey Belladonna's mewls.

Of course, the Joey period is their most popular, and there are plenty of killer songs. "Caught in a Mosh" and Madhouse" should be in any metalhead's collection. Anthrax caught up to their peers in the Big Four by rapping ("Bring the Noise," "I'm the Man,") covering new wave ("Got the Time") and telling jokes (S.O.D.) better than any other metal band. "I'm the Man" has got to be the deftest rap parody outside of Fear of a Black Hat, and "Antisocial" reinvents hard rock as punk rock, but their signature is "Bring the Noise," a perfect rap-metal bridge to Public Enemy that took both bands to their peak while paving the way for Rage Against the Machine and the Judgement Night soundtrack. I like it more than "Walk This Way."

But if Anthrax spent the Reagan Era in the shadow of Slaygadeth, they caught up with John Bush's debut on Sound of White Noise. "Only" and "Hy Pro Glo" deliver a TKO punch to mid-'90s grunge, and "Fueled" earns its Bukowski reference by sounding like it was sung by him. "Inside Out" scores with their best video (because it re-enacts a Twilight Zone episode) and their most ripping solo (because Dimebag Darrell plays it.)

Best of all though is We've Come for You All, their jaw-dropping 2003 comeback, where, amidst the worst publicity of their lifetime (we hope,) Scott Ian and the gang roared back to show the world who the real Anthrax is. From the zombie anthem "What Doesn't Die" to the rifftastic "Cadillac Rock Box" to the all-time heaviest "Think About an End" and beyond, Anthrax claimed the best Big Four record in the past decade. Not that it paid off commercially, but nothing more can be expected from metal's greatest team of underdogs.

Finally, I've alerted you to appearances by Al Jourgensen, Dimebag Darrell and Public Enemy. See if you can find Roger Daltrey.

Download here: Anthrax for Bobby Digital


fireonthemountain said...

Bobby D here: Love the post! Love the mix! Classic Anthrax sounds more like Iron Maiden or early 80's Metallica. Great stuff. I will definitely give them another chance. I guess it is kind of like older Misfits vs. newer. I don't like newer Misfits stuff but their older stuff is GOLDEN! The Static Age album is amazing and was my favorite album in high school. Coincidentally, it was released in 1997, my freshman year! Good stuff! Rock on!

Ben Apatoff said...

Thank you, I'm glad you like it!

The problem with the Misfits is that they keep releasing music without the guy who wrote all their classic songs. As far as I'm concerned, they don't exist without Glenn Danzig.