- Associated Press - Monday, March 18, 2013

Anthrax “Anthems” (MRI/Megaforce)

There’s a revelation on Anthrax’s “Anthems” EP: Rush’s music is annoying, no matter who plays it.

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.

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