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Return of The Killer A's
June 2002
Released: 1999, Spitfire Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Hidden Gem Review

Normally, reviewing crummy contractual obligation compilation CD’s is not my thing. Two reasons I’m reviewing this one: One, I was surprised to find that no one had reviewed an Anthrax CD on yet! Odd. Secondly, there has been a lot of activity in camp: ‘thrax the last little while label changes, name controversy, re-issues and of course the often delayed Live CD and soon a new studio CD! I felt a quick look at the past might be in order. Besides these CD’s are easy to review because they usually suck.

Does ROTKA suck? Well, yes and no, hence the three out of five. This is a pretty standard greatest hits CD with 16 tracks. The track selection is adequate. Obviously they couldn’t negotiate the rights to their first two releases as neither of them are represented here. The track listing is weighted a little more heavily to their later years unfortunately for my tastes. The tracks are in no particular order and seem to have been chosen at random. Of course some of my favorites are left off but that is inevitable and that very same point is addressed in the liner notes. There are a couple of treasures for the die-hards one being of course the much hyped “Ball of Confusion” which in my mind failed to live up to the hype. However, I was not familiar with the original so you be the judge. There are a couple of lame remixes by Al Jourgensen, namely “Potter’s Field” or “Hy Pro Glo”. Nothing special, they don’t significantly improve on the originals which weren’t all that good to begin with. Instead of novelty covers and remixes how about new, unreleased material guys? I guess I can’t complain too much--this is a Greatest hits not a rarities CD.

The packaging is adequate, a cool collage photo of ‘thrax merch and memorabilia and very decent track by track, liner notes with the infectious Anthrax humour in place. In parts the liner notes are quite revealing. The liner notes for the song “Only” are as follows: “James Hetfeild once told me that he thought “Only” was a perfect song. Who am I to argue? ‘Nuff said.” Well, that sheds a little insight into why the last few (several?) releases by Metallica and Anthrax sucked significantly.

Are you a huge fan and need everything they ever did? Get this. Do you have a pile of dusty old Anthrax tapes that need upgrading to CD? Get this. Are you new to the band and want to explore their admittedly decent, influential yet ultimately disappointing history? Get this. Everyone else…pass.

Next review: » Anthrax - The Greater of Two Evils
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