Anthrax – Alive 2 (CD)

There is little fanfare on the beginning part of this disc. Besides a slow guitar lead-in, “Alive 2” starts off fairly quietly. However, after the band starts up there is little doubt that Anthrax has not grown old; the intensity that was present on their earliest recordings has stayed with the band so many years after their inception. The only thing really curious about this live album is the sheer amounts of hits found; “N.F.L.”, “Indians”, and “I Am The Law” really preclude some of the band’s newer work.

Much of the new Anthrax stuff has really had a disproportionate focus on the band’s first half of existence, at the detriment to the solid nineties and later albums. I understand the band is exclusively playing the older hitsk, but maybe some sort of nod to the newer stuff would not be too terribly bad. The driving arrangements present on tracks like “N.F.L.” are bolstered by a production that captures all constituent parts of the band equally; the Slayer-like guitar work is tied inexorably to the spastic drumming and an active crowd. Individuals that are only casual fans will be impressed by the inclusion of tracks that were not Anthrax’s largest hits; “Deathrider” (from their first album) is one of these, and yet the band puts them into the 2005 context. The songs will actually mean something to the people that were actually at the show just as they will to individuals who have bought the CD.

With so many in the way of hits, I began searching and trying to figure out what the tracklist was for the first volume of “Alive”, but much in the vein of “Attack of the Killer B’s”, there is just not a first volume to march it. The band, even with all the years apart are able to make this diverse collection of hits into essentially a live studio album. There are no gaffs, and the inclusion of the live audience at the times is often the only referent to the fact that this was not recorded in a studio. The punk-fueled antics of “Antisocial” work inside the more pure metal form of both “Deathrider” and “Medusa”. If listeners are looking for a new remix of a greatest hits album, Alive 2 may just be the album to pick up. While there is a barrage of new Anthrax material filling CD bins, this may just have the new material necessary to really merit a purchase.

Top Tracks: Antisocial, Indians

Rating: 6.3/10

Anthrax – Alive 2 / 2005 Universal / 12 Tracks / http://www.anthrax.com / http://www.universal.com / Reviewed 04 November 2005

[JMcQ]

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