Anthrax, ‘Anthem’ (Rush Cover) – Song Review
The song ‘Anthem’ – originally heard on 1975’s ‘Fly by Night’ LP – lends its name to an eight-track digital EP to be released March 19, featuring Anthrax covers of classic rock staples by AC/DC, Journey, Boston, Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick.
And while there’s no telling, as of yet, how the band approached those other cover versions, their interpretation of ‘Anthem’ is almost methodical in the way it duplicates the original’s heavy/light nuances. While the trademark Anthrax power, born of their thrash metal origins, makes its presence felt throughout the rendition, it’s obvious that the New Yorkers otherwise did their best to stay true to the original’s individual vocal and instrumental parts, as devised by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Pert.
Starting from he ground up: Charlie Benante’s drum work is extremely sensitive to the original song’s intricate flourishes and elastic time-keeping; Frank Bello clearly paid great attention to detail in order to replicate Lee’s restless and unorthodox bass playing; guitarists Scott Ian and Robb Caggiano mimicked virtually every shade and tone of Lifeson’s rhythm and lead guitar, with some room for some wah-wah pedal improvisation from the later; and singer Joey Belladonna clearly basked in the opportunity to tap into his traditional hard rock roots with his expansive vocal range.
Perhaps the only major departure from the original is Benante’s closing drum pattern, which mimics the Asian theme utilized by Peart on Rush’s ‘A Passage to Bangkok,’ but that’s not to take anything away from the natural energy Anthrax deliver throughout the performance.
In sum, if Anthrax’s top notch homage to Rush is any indication of this EP’s remaining cover versions, Anthrax and classic rock fans alike will be getting their money’s worth come March.