Anthrax – Anthrology: No Hit Wonders (1985-1991) (CD)

Foreign versions of songs are funny. Bad Religion’s “Punk Rock Song” in German was perfect, and this is the case with the French version of Anthrax’s “Antisocial”. However, do the French not have a work in their own language for “Antisocial” or even “Not Sociable” or something? There are twenty-nine other tracks on this two-disc set, and aside from the tracks being remastered, what makes this a must-buy? If one remembers back a few years, there was a greatest hits called “Return of the Killer A’s”, and then a follow-up called “Attack of the Killer B’s”, which have quite a few tracks in common with this current compilation.

However, why this is essential for any Anthrax fan (besides the remastering) is that these are nearly all the appreciable hits from the first six years of the band’s existence. Tracks like “Indians”, “Antisocial”, “Got The Time” and “Bring Tha Noize” are all present… on the second (usually less listened-to) disc. “Got The Time” is of particular note here, as the incredible bass during the track and the punk urgency really are elevated to another plateau with the cleaning up of the track’s sound. The largely-vocal “Bring Tha Noize” has been elevated in much the same way; the drums that act as a backdrop for Public Enemy’s rapping really pop as the bassier voices smash heads over them. Keeping in a sort of chronological order with each disc, the evolution from a power-metal act into something much more transcendent is visible in many ways on each disc.

This is not to say that the band was weak during tracks like “Be All, End All” but that there were tremendous amounts of ground covered between 1986 and 1991. It may just be something that listeners missed out with the two hits collections previously interested, and something that would be further diluted with the later incarnations of Anthrax’s current hits added in. This was the original iteration of the band, and the dynamic stays largely the same even if the genres of music changed considerably through the six years. I mean, where else can a band sound like Twisted Sister on the first track and like a pit-worthy punk act only forty minutes later? This is for any Anthrax fan or any real fan of dynamic bands; many bands have stuck with a similar style throughout their careers and it really is empowering to see an act stay at such a high level throughout their existence.

Top Tracks: Bring Tha Noize, Antisocial (French)

Rating: 7.1/10

[JMcQ]

Anthrax – Anthrology: No Hit Wonders (1985-1991) / 2005 Universal / 30 Tracks / http://www.anthrax.com / http://www.universal.com / Reviewed 11 November 2005

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