Category Archives: Anthrax

Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life [Review]

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 Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
2014, Rhino Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Neon Knights – Anthrax
2. The Last In Line – Tenacious D
3. The Mob Rules – Adrenaline Mob
4. Rainbow In The Dark – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher
5. Straight Through The Heart – Halestorm
6. Starstruck – Motörhead with Biff Byford
7. The Temple Of The King – Scorpions
8. Egypt (The Chains Are On) – Doro
9. Holy Diver – Killswitch Engage
10. Catch The Rainbow – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren
11. I – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy
12. Man On The Silver Mountain – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren
13. Ronnie Rising Medley (A Light In The Black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill The King) – Metallica
14. This Is Your Life – Dio
Bonus Track:
15. Buried Alive – Jasta

Well, there certainly hasn’t been an absence of Dio-related releases since Ronnie’s passing. In the 4 years that Ronnie has been gone there have been two compilations, two live releases (a third is due shortly) and at least three tribute albums by my count. Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life is the third tribute album that I am aware of. The first two tributes were Jorn’s Dio (which Wendy Dio gave her blessing for) and Joey DeMaio’s Magic (which Wendy did not approve of), though I’m sure there’s probably more out there.

As far as star power and  talent goes, you won’t find a better Dio tribute: Anthrax, Halestorm, Metallica, Scorpions, Rob Halford, Motorhead, Biff Byford, Vinny Appice, Doro, Doug Aldrich… the list goes on and on.

Most these songs are played fairly straight and faithfully but it’s still interesting to hear Dio covered by other well-known artists and the songs cover his years in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and the Dio band. The majority of these tracks range from good to excellent. Even Tenacious D (who I normally can’t stand) do a decent job.

There are a few tracks I do have an issue with though. For one, Killswitch Engage’s “Holy Diver”. I don’t like metalcore and never needed to hear a metalcore version complete with unnecessary pinch harmonics that would make Zakk Wylde proud. I give them credit for trying to make the song their own, but it doesn’t make it a good cover.

Then there’s the cover of Black Sabbath’s “I”. There’s a good line-up of musicians on the track and Oni Logan is a good singer but he lacks the power to really put that song over the top like Dio did. He doesn’t sound bad, but I don’t think he’s the right fit for a song like this, if that makes any sense.

Then there’s “Man on the Silver Mountain”. Again, great musicians here. It’s Rob Halford backed by a collection of former Dio band members. Doug Aldrich’s presence is felt throughout the song and while he was in Dio before he joined Whitesnake, the song is given a slight makeover and comes across like a modern Whitesnake song. Halford sounds fine, but again, he doesn’t have the proper voice to be covering songs sung by Ronnie James Dio. Or songs sung by Ronnie James Dio that have been given a Whitesnake makeover. I’m liking this take on the song musically, I just think Halford’s vocals are out of place.

Glenn Hughes turns in a fantastic soulful performance on “Catch the Rainbow”. He is also backed by a collection of former Dio players. Motorhead & Biff Byford do a great job on “Starstruck” and I initially thought that was the Glenn Hughes track when I first heard it. “The Temple of the King” by Scorpions is wonderful as well. It’s a faithful cover of the original but it’s very cool to hear Klaus Meine on vocals.

The track that is garnering the most attention, obviously, is the Metallica track. I’m glad they are on this project because there’s no doubt they have brought eyes to this album that might not have given it a look otherwise. They do a good job covering four of Rainbow’s best songs.

The physical CD closes the album with the ballad “This Is Your Life” which is pulled from Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines. The song is given extra weight considering the circumstances. Jasta’s “Buried Alive” is a digital album exclusive bonus track and is actually pretty good. Once again, Japan gets more material than North America because Stryper’s cover of “Heaven and Hell” and the Dio Disciples’ take on “Stand Up and Shout” appear on pressings over there. Seriously, what’s up with Japan always getting bonus tracks that never see the light of the day in the United States? I’ve never heard anyone actually address why that happens so often!

A few minor quibbles, but this isn’t a better Dio tribute album out and there probably never will be. Must have for Dio fans!

Highlights: “Rainbow In the Dark”, “Straight Through the Heart”, “Starstruck”, “The Temple of the King”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “Catch the Rainbow”, “Ronnie Rising Medley”, “This Is Your Life”

Anthrax – Worship Music

Anthrax – Worship Music (2011, Megaforce Records)

1. “Worship” … 1:41
2. “Earth on Hell” … 3:11
3. “The Devil You Know” … 4:46
4. “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t” … 5:48
5. “I’m Alive” … 5:37
6. “Hymn 1” … 0:38
7. “In the End” … 6:46
8. “The Giant” … 3:47
9. “Hymn 2” … 0:44
10. “Judas Priest” … 6:24
11. “Crawl” … 5:29
12. “The Constant” … 5:01
13. “Revolution Screams”/”New Noise” … 15:54

Band:
Joey Belladonna – Lead Vocals
Rob Caggiano – Guitar
Scott Ian – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Frank Bello – Bass, Backing Vocals
Charlie Benante – Drums, Guitar

Produced by: Anthrax

Well, they did it! I don’t know how they did it but they did it! After years of trading off singers like Pokemon cards and after having an album ready to go to press then pulled back and re-worked, through all of the chaos and despite the fact that they were beginning to look like joke… Anthrax has delivered one of the best albums of their career. One of their highest charting albums as well: Worship Music debuted on the Billboard chart at #12 (29,000 copies sold) with only 1993’s Sound of White Noise debuting higher (#7). Rave reviews across the board, chart success… Who would’ve thought this would be the tale to tell about Anthrax in 2011?

What’s cool about this album is that even though this is Joey’s first studio album with the band in 21 years, they didn’t try to pretend and write like it was 1988. In fact, according to Scott Ian, most of the album was written before they even had decided on a singer! Obviously, once Belladonna was on board, a few things changed here and there though.

Worship Music seems to blend the Belladonna era with the Bush era. “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t” is a great classic Anthrax thrasher complete with lyrics about a zombie apocalypse. The album’s best track, in my opinion. Other old school trash numbers are “Earth on Hell” and “The Devil You Know”, two very good tracks. “I’m Alive” has a great, heavy groove and could’ve been sung by John Bush on We’ve Come For You All. “The Giant” and “The Constant” also have a Bush vibe to them.

“In the End” is a great epic metal number and has been cited by the band as their favorite song on the album and one of their favorite songs in the whole Anthrax catalog. “Judas Priest” is a solid head banger named after the heavy metal icons but lyrically has nothing to do with that band. “Crawl” is up next and is the album’s most modern sounding song, I think (probably why many old school Anthrax fans are dismissing it as ‘filler’). Not that it actually will get there but this wouldn’t sound out of place on radio. The album closes with “Revolution Screams”, yet another solid slab of metal with some nice solo work from Caggiano. After minutes (and minutes) of silence, the “hidden” cover of the punk band Refused’s “New Noise” pops up at 11:09.

The short “Hymn 1” and “Hymn 2” instrumentals for some reason are not listed on the album’s track listing on the back of the album.

All told, this is a great album, one of Anthrax’s best and one of the best of the year. 0% filler as even my least favorite songs (“The Constant”, “Revolution Screams” are solid at worst.

Highlights: “The Devil You Know”, “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t”, “I’m Alive”, “In the End”, “The Giant”, “Judas Priest”, “Crawl”

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Buy ‘Worship Music’ at Amazon.com

ANTHRAX – Among the Living

Anthrax – Among the Living (1987, Island Records/Megaforce Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Among the Living” … 5:16
2. “Caught in a Mosh” … 4:59
3. “I Am the Law” … 5:57
4. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” … 4:54
5. “A Skeleton in the Closet” … 5:32
6. “Indians” … 5:40
7. “One World” … 5:56
8. “A.D.I./The Horror of It All” … 7:49
9. “Imitation of Life” … 4:10

Band:
Joey Belladonna – Lead Vocals
Dan Spitz – Guitar
Scott Ian – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Frank Bello – Bass, Backing Vocals
Charlie Benante – Drums

Produced by: Eddie Kramer & Anthrax

Ah, the third & final piece of the thrash metal trinity (Megadeth & Metallica being the first two). My first Anthrax album was actually the great We’ve Come For You All, but I was familiar with many of the band’s previous songs. WCFYA inspired me to check out the “classics” and it’s a decision I don’t regret, this is a great thrash album.

I really love this band’s subject matter and sense of humor, they’re kinda like the nerds of thrash metal. Where most metal bands talk about death or the dark side, these guys do songs about Judge Dredd and Stephen King novels. Can’t go wrong with that.

Highlights: “Among the Living”, “Caught in a Mosh”, “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”, “A Skeleton in the Closet”, “Indians”

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