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Volume 8: The Threat Is Real
Released: 2003, Sanctuary
This caught me off guard but in hindsight it makes sense. Sanctuary has re-issued Anthrax’s hard to find 1998 album and slapped on some bonus tracks.
Volume 8 was a slight, and I mean slight, return to form after the poorly received (by fans and critics alike) previous two discs, but it was too little too late. The Volume 8 era sonically, lyrically and in terms of credibility of Anthrax being a metal force was the bottoming out for the band. Declining sales, a disinterested fan-base, legal trouble, and membership troubles overshadowed the fact that Volume 8 was in fact better than the last couple.
The packaging is the same of the 1998 Ignition Records version with only the back cover being altered by formally adding the previously hidden track ‘Pieces’ and listing the bonus tracks. The artwork, while displaying that quirky Anthrax humour, was pretty lame and the re-issue adds nothing new, although lyrics and decent credits are present in full.
Anthrax had all but abandoned their roots on this CD with only ‘Alpha Male’ and opener ‘Crush’ showing any signs of life. The lyrics range from dull to ludicrous with songs like ‘604’ and ‘Cupajo’ making fans painfully aware Anthrax had run out of things to say. I mean, c’mon…a song about coffee? In Metal? A song about beer maybe, but coffee? That’s just too lame for words, which is maybe why the lyrics were really short!
The four bonus tracks add nothing of value with the first three bonus tracks being weak , 90’s rock tunes without bite or character. The hidden track (now official) ballad ‘Pieces’ is a nice song but would be more in place on an acoustic folk album by some 60’s hippie group. ‘Giving The Horns’ is a throw-away track being neither heavy or fast. ‘The final cuts are two covers. ‘The Bends’ is a song by some band called Radiohead and that’s just a poor choice as the slow ballad with lyrics that have Bush whining about his girlfriend and being bored. The last cover is a DRI tune which demonstrates how far they really have fallen, draining all the fun and spirit from the original.
I salute Sanctuary for making this rare CD available for the die-hards and adding some little ‘treasures’ but instead of wasting their money on a pointless re-issue, I’d much rather that the label order (yes, order) the band to hire a guitarist (who isn’t afraid to play) send them into a studio with a real producer (who remembers what metal is) write some fast heavy songs and make a metal album. We can only hope.
6. Toast to The Extras
7. Born Again Idiot
8. Killing Box
9. Harm’s Way
10. Hog Tied
11. Big Fat
13. Alpha Male
14. Stealing From A Thief
16. Giving The Horns
17. The Bends
18. Snap/I’d Rather Be Sleeping
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