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Anthrax 

The Greater Of Two Evils (Sanctuary)

Anthrax is a much more muscular band than it was in its early days. Part of this is due to vocalist John Bush. His earthier, grittier vocals have gradually drawn the band in a rougher direction than they'd probably have pursued if the high-pitched and melody-minded Joey Belladonna had stuck around. This is made clear on The Greater of Two Evils, which features re-recorded versions of songs from the Belladonna era, now barked by Bush.

The versions of tracks originally recorded on Fistful of Metal and Armed and Dangerous, in particular, abandon the shredding and squeals of thrash for a post-rapcore, post-grunge crunch. "Deathrider," the album's blazing opener, has been altered the most -- it used to be a headlong sprint down the stretch, but now there's a mosh-tempo break in the verses.

Here's the problem, though. The Greater of Two Evils follows a live album, Music of Mass Destruction. Anthrax's last batch of new material, 2003's We've Come for You All, was their first in five years. Is this disc fun? Absolutely. Is it necessary? Not really. The Greater of Two Evils is an entertaining effort, but Anthrax is getting a little too reliant on back catalog.

More by Phil Freeman

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