Anthrax, “Anthem” (2013): Something Else! sneak peek

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Oh dear God, please someone take the microphone away from Joey Belladonna.

I’ve admitted before, and in the interest of fairness will again, that I prefer John Bush as vocalist for Anthrax. But I grew up on the Belladonna era and love those albums, and I gave him credit where it was due for his performance on their outstanding reunion album Worship Music.

But this is atrocious.

This week, Rolling Stone streamed the first track from the band’s upcoming covers EP Anthems, due in March 2013, which features some other strange choices for the thrashers — like Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and Boston’s “Smokin.'” But they’ve got to be better than their cover of Rush’s “Anthem.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: When ex-Armored Saint frontman John Bush joined Anthrax, they became something much different than what they’d been before — something better.]

Let me back up a little. Musically, things aren’t so bad here. It’s fairly faithful to the original, a little crunchier and heavier, and the band holds its own for most of the track. On the verse, Belladonna’s vocals aren’t so bad either. Then we get to the chorus, where he tries to sound like Geddy Lee. Instead, he sounds like a combination of an enraged chipmunk and a severely wounded dog yelping in pain.

Or maybe the pain was mine.

I have another confession to make at this point that isn’t going to make me any friends among the many Rush fans that visit this site, but I often find Geddy Lee’s vocals annoying. That said, when Geddy Lee hears this, he might die on the spot just so that he can roll over in his grave. It’s that bad.

No, I didn’t want Belladonna back in Anthrax, but after Worship Music — my second favorite record of 2011 — I had to admit that I’d been wrong about the results of the reunion. But just as I start to gain a little grudging respect for him, something like this happens.

Hopefully the other songs will be better, but with covers of Cheap Trick, Boston and Journey on the docket, I don’t see how. In the future, how about we skip the covers collections and work on some new music?

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse
Fred Phillips

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