Anthrax

The Greater of Two Evils

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"These are your favorite Anthrax songs from the Turbin/Belladonna era Anthrax. You voted and we listened." So writes Scott Ian in the liners to The Greater of Two Evils, Anthrax's tribute to their past, their fans, and their present tense. Message board voters built the track list, and they did well, hitting on a mix of classics and fan favorites from the group's first five albums. But Two Evils also unites the band's early creative zenith with the resurgent promise of 2003's We've Come for You All. That album wasn't a comeback, since Anthrax had never really left. But it was definitely a return to form after a few years spent casting around for direction. Hearing the 2004 lineup of Ian, John Bush, Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, and Rob Caggiano absolutely rip into cuts like "Metal Thrashing Mad" and "Caught in a Mosh" -- and have their passion matched by raw and thumping production -- combines the thrill of returning to a great old album with knowing that the band's loving it just as much as you. Bush is particularly engaged for "Indians," and Caggiano's frenetic soloing to open "A.I.R." is a perfect foil to the track's near-hardcore bottom end. The beginning of "Madhouse" sounds like magnets ripping away iron plating, and "I Am the Law" and "Gung-Ho" are still clinics on thrash. Anthrax fans are sure to love The Greater of Two Evils, especially since they picked the tracks. But what's even better about the set is how vital it makes the band itself sound.

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