Anthrax

Return of the Killer A's: The Best of Anthrax

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Return of the Killer A's is a somewhat puzzling retrospective, its selections skewed heavily toward Anthrax's later years when their popularity was generally on the wane. Although this period did produce some quality material, Anthrax were also not the cutting-edge metal innovators they had once been; however, starting there may make it easier for newer listeners to understand Anthrax's lasting impact on alternative metal and rap-metal. About half the tracks are drawn from Sound of White Noise and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, and there's at least one song (but rarely more) from each of the group's '80s albums, from Spreading the Disease on. Present, too, are the group's groundbreaking rap-metal fusions, 1987's "I'm the Man" and 1991's Public Enemy cover/collaboration "Bring the Noise"; there's also a newly recorded cover of the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," which unites vocalists John Bush and Joey Belladonna. It seems odd that an Anthrax retrospective wouldn't include "Caught in a Mosh," "Black Lodge," "Be All, End All," "Belly of the Beast," "Keep It in the Family," or "Skeleton in the Closet," to name some of the most prominently missing items. But, on the plus side, the rough recent-to-early sequencing does help illustrate Anthrax's influence for relative newcomers, beginning with the most familiar sounds and backtracking to their roots; additionally, it provides more casual fans with most (but not all) of the highlights from their Bush-era albums. Still, Return of the Killer A's is far from definitive.

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