Metal! Anthrax, Impious Baptism and Tombstone Highway
On the 25th day of the 12th month of 2012, the Six-Tongued Hellgoat was summoned to rise from the ashes and bring darkness to this place called POPdose. Join him in his quest.
Ritual Thrust into the Profane Maw of Churning Filth
The only real question to ask when talking about the new Anthrax EP is “What the fuck?” This is the album you do when you’ve been out of the spotlight for 15 years and want to make a comeback, or a last ditch late career effort to milk fans out of one last drop of money. While Anthrax of course are pretty far into their career at this point, Anthems is of course following on the heels of the wildly successful Worship Music and not the shittiest thing they’ve ever done. Because of that, there is no worse follow up record than this. Seriously, if you are a musician and ever reach a level of success even a 10th of what Anthrax has, take note of this as what not to do.
This is all just random bashing without the Hellgoat digging into this a little bit for you. Again, as has been mentioned previous, the Hellgoat likes Dave Bush way more than Joey Belladonna as a vocalist but liked early Anthrax music way better than the tunes during the Bush era. That said, Belladonna’s voice really fit in with the times back in the ’80s and Worship Music sounded fantastic with him. But the songs were written for his range. That’s the key element missing here. Joey Belladonna still doesn’t have a great voice and it’s completely exposed on a lot of these songs.
The Hellgoat wishes they had begun with the cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” or the generic cover of AC/DC’s “TNT” which Belladonna at least holds his own on. Instead they open up with “Anthem” from Rush which couldn’t be further from what Joey can handle as a singer. Thirty seconds into the track and the whole experience has been tainted with this monstrosity. What could have at least been a neat novelty for completionists, starts off so poorly that the Hellgoat lost any desire to listen to the rest (though it happened anyway). His ears bled when he listened to the cover of Boston’s “Smokin” completely with ’70s keyboards courtesy of 60-year old Fred Mandel.
The disc ends with not one but two versions of “Crawl,” a track from Worship Music. The first is the straight album version, the second is a remix that adds some strings (as if that’s what was needed). Sadly, the album version is the best track on the record. Also sad is the implication that “Crawl” is an “Anthem” now, which while a damn fine song, it’s not going to be covered by another group 20 years from now. Even worse about the entire experience is that there really is no semblance of thrash in this or even the straighter metal that made up their last decade. They are mostly just boring and by the numbers. I really thought Scott Ian was a much smarter man than this. Clearly, the band needs to hire someone that can be honest with them and tell them when they are about to submit the world to a virtually fucking useless record like this. Shame on you Anthrax. Shame.
Somnolent Regurgitation of the Scrolls of Proselytism
(The Hellgoat wishes to convert you to the ways of the metal. But he prefers to let the press release and bio do most of the talking on these nefarious black circles.)
Album: Impious Baptism, Wrath of the Apex Predator
Label: Hells Headbangers
Release: April 16, 2013
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Press: Impious Baptism’s debut album after a couple well-received EPs, Wrath of the Apex Predator [is] the sole creation of longtime scene veteran J. (Nocturnal Graves, ex-Destruktor, ex-Destroyer 666), Impious Baptism bellow forth desecrating black metal in the ancient tradition of the early South American and Finnish masters. Flowing from choking doom to grinding, black filth and imbued with a powerful, full-bodied production that amplifies every abyssal note, Impious Baptism drag you down into the depths and then deeper – feel the Wrath of the Apex Predator!
The Hellgoat’s Take, (5/10): The Hellgoat must have listened to the album at least six times before being able to still not fully grasp what the hell this is about. On one hand, he likes the blackened filth, on the other, there’s very little variation between the eight tracks (not counting the intro). The only reason the Hellgoat even realized he was listening to a new track over time is because every one of them has some kind of outro or interlude tacked to the end. Fuck, even the two minute intro “Revelation to Annihilate” fades out and then back in to an outro. Yes, even the intro has an outro. While that does break up the monotony a bit it also destroys any and all momentum of the record as everything just awkwardly transitions from fierce to atmospheric and abruptly back into fierce again. The Hellgoat is sure there’s a point to all of it but it’s just not working the way it should.
Album: Tombstone Highway, Ruralizer
Release: April 16, 2013 (US)
Genre: Southern Stoner/Doom
Press: Tombstone Highway emerges from the muddy shores of The Po River in Piacenza (Italy) and draws strong inspiration from the rural and folklore parts of its homeland. Their debut album is a classic blend of feisty Stoner/Southern Rock and Doom Metal, with catchy guitar solos and old-school heavy metal parts that may remind of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Corrosion of Conformity, Pride and Glory, Down, Black Sabbath, or even ZZ Top riffage. Apart from Hard Rock instruments, the band uses also a banjo and Hammond organs.
The Hellgoat’s Take, (6/10): Italy. You wouldn’t expect that listening to this record. You also wouldn’t expect this type of sound from H.M. Outlaw aka Herr Morbid, the singer of the brilliant Forgotten Tomb. Tombstone Highway is decidedly more upbeat than the former but way more generic. They formed for a brief period in 1999, broke up, reformed in 2007, released an EP and those three tracks are now the first three on their debut album which is finally seeing the light of day. The press release leaves out the most obvious comparison here, Black Label Society. The songs are comprised of pretty much the same riffs Zakk Wylde uses including those guitar squeals that have gotten so far out of hand with him now. They also cover “Mississippi Queen” which has been done 20,000 times. The interesting moments are when Outlaw picks up the banjo, like on the opener, “Old Blood” in which it blends in perfectly with the guitar riffs. But that country sound is only used on a handful of songs, which makes the whole thing feel kind of played out in a way.