Anthrax

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
I don't think anything Joey Belladonna has done could be considered "the best" of anything. He was perfectly serviceable during his first tenure in Anthrax and he contributed to a couple amazing albums, but his voice was never the highlight.


Totally agree... he is not bad, just kind of okay. I prefer their albums with Bush singing.
 

terrell39

Ancient Mariner
I like both singers but I think John is easier to understand. Songs like Who Cares Wins, Time, Indians, A.I.R, etc I had a hard time comprehending Joey without looking at the cd booklet.

Don't remember having that problem with John
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
Belladonna is good for that "glam metal on speed" sound that Anthrax had on their early albums. He's very high pitched and melodic which works for Anthrax, personally I prefer more aggressive thrash metal vocals that has some snarl to em.
Belladonna's voice is a major highlight of Anthrax, he has a wonderful voice. The Bush era stuff is good too, but Bush isn't the singer Belladonna is.

I do think it is true that there are a lot of successful thrash bands with growly snarly (or screamo) voices, but for me that isn't a defining characteristic of thrash. Anthrax (Belladona) and even Megadeth (esp Youthanasia, Countdown to Extinction etc) are wickedly cool and no less thrash than bands with lesser "singers" if you can call them that a.k.a. Annihilator, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura. I think it is a bit of a "punk" attitude to try and put down a band by saying Yeah they are OK, but why do they have to be so good at their instruments (or so good at singing), wouldn't it sound a bit more real or aggressive or defiant etc if they didn't try to sound good at playing (or singing).

And, yeah, I know, peeps are likely to criticise my above by saying, well Mustaine ain't a great singer. And that is true, but on Youthanasia he did sing ok and carried a decent melody. Hetfield, Araya, Cavelera, wouldn't be able to carry those tunes. Not even close.

I respect that some people like snarly. I do like Cavelera alot, but I reject the idea that to be a True Thrash band you can't have a great melodic singer.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Belladonna's voice is a major highlight of Anthrax, he has a wonderful voice. The Bush era stuff is good too, but Bush isn't the singer Belladonna is.

I do think it is true that there are a lot of successful thrash bands with growly snarly (or screamo) voices, but for me that isn't a defining characteristic of thrash. Anthrax (Belladona) and even Megadeth (esp Youthanasia, Countdown to Extinction etc) are wickedly cool and no less thrash than bands with lesser "singers" if you can call them that a.k.a. Annihilator, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura. I think it is a bit of a "punk" attitude to try and put down a band by saying Yeah they are OK, but why do they have to be so good at their instruments (or so good at singing), wouldn't it sound a bit more real or aggressive or defiant etc if they didn't try to sound good at playing (or singing).

And, yeah, I know, peeps are likely to criticise my above by saying, well Mustaine ain't a great singer. And that is true, but on Youthanasia he did sing ok and carried a decent melody. Hetfield, Araya, Cavelera, wouldn't be able to carry those tunes. Not even close.

I respect that some people like snarly. I do like Cavelera alot, but I reject the idea that to be a True Thrash band you can't have a great melodic singer.
I agree for the most part, but imo Hetfield is miles above these other guys.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Belladonna's voice is a major highlight of Anthrax, he has a wonderful voice. The Bush era stuff is good too, but Bush isn't the singer Belladonna is.

I do think it is true that there are a lot of successful thrash bands with growly snarly (or screamo) voices, but for me that isn't a defining characteristic of thrash. Anthrax (Belladona) and even Megadeth (esp Youthanasia, Countdown to Extinction etc) are wickedly cool and no less thrash than bands with lesser "singers" if you can call them that a.k.a. Annihilator, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura. I think it is a bit of a "punk" attitude to try and put down a band by saying Yeah they are OK, but why do they have to be so good at their instruments (or so good at singing), wouldn't it sound a bit more real or aggressive or defiant etc if they didn't try to sound good at playing (or singing).

And, yeah, I know, peeps are likely to criticise my above by saying, well Mustaine ain't a great singer. And that is true, but on Youthanasia he did sing ok and carried a decent melody. Hetfield, Araya, Cavelera, wouldn't be able to carry those tunes. Not even close.

I respect that some people like snarly. I do like Cavelera alot, but I reject the idea that to be a True Thrash band you can't have a great melodic singer.

I will never accept the idea that a band, player, singer, etc is better BECAUSE of their lack of skill. That’s not a valid argument. Music is not made better by lack of playing ability.

And comparing Belladonna to Hetfield or Mustaine is unfair, they’re both far better at writing melodies than Anthrax.
 

MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
And comparing Belladonna to Hetfield or Mustaine is unfair, they’re both far better at writing melodies than Anthrax.
I thought the context was singing ability, and ability to sing a melody.

There are many aspects that two people could be compared on. Song writing is one of those comparisons, and also singing is another comparison.

It would be unfair to compare Steve Harris singing against that of Bruce Dickinson, but it be fair to compare the melodies of Steve penned songs against Bruce's.
It is also fair to compair Bruce vs Blaze in terms of singing, and Belladona vs Hetfield.
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I thought the context was singing ability, and ability to sing a melody.

There are many aspects that two people could be compared on. Song writing is one of those comparisons, and also singing is another comparison.

It would be unfair to compare Steve Harris singing against that of Bruce Dickinson, but it be fair to compare the melodies of Steve penned songs against Bruce's.
It is also fair to compair Bruce vs Blaze in terms of singing, and Belladona vs Hetfield.

That's all fair, I suppose. However, I still don't think Belladonna is a "great melodic singer" as you put it. I don't think he's a terrible singer, but I certainly wouldn't call his singing "melodic" and that is mostly because of the melodies. Most Anthrax melodies (with Belladonna or Bush) are not super melodic, they're very thrashy, usually quickly spat words as is typical of thrash, followed by belting choruses. He just has a higher vocal range than most thrash singers. Let Joey Belladonna sing some of the melodies on something like Youthanasia and we'll see how melodic he sings.
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
Belladonna's voice is a major highlight of Anthrax, he has a wonderful voice. The Bush era stuff is good too, but Bush isn't the singer Belladonna is.

I do think it is true that there are a lot of successful thrash bands with growly snarly (or screamo) voices, but for me that isn't a defining characteristic of thrash. Anthrax (Belladona) and even Megadeth (esp Youthanasia, Countdown to Extinction etc) are wickedly cool and no less thrash than bands with lesser "singers" if you can call them that a.k.a. Annihilator, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura. I think it is a bit of a "punk" attitude to try and put down a band by saying Yeah they are OK, but why do they have to be so good at their instruments (or so good at singing), wouldn't it sound a bit more real or aggressive or defiant etc if they didn't try to sound good at playing (or singing).

And, yeah, I know, peeps are likely to criticise my above by saying, well Mustaine ain't a great singer. And that is true, but on Youthanasia he did sing ok and carried a decent melody. Hetfield, Araya, Cavelera, wouldn't be able to carry those tunes. Not even close.

I respect that some people like snarly. I do like Cavelera alot, but I reject the idea that to be a True Thrash band you can't have a great melodic singer.

Where in my post did I put down Anthrax? I said he was a good singer, fitting for that glam metal on speed sound that they have. He's a very talented singer. I prefer singers with more "snarl" to their voices. Belladonna doesn't have that, he's like the Kiske of thrash. Mustaine whom you brought up has snarl, lots of attitude and grittiness to his vocals. "snarl" to me doesn't mean growl or anything like that, but just singing with conviction and attitude. I don't think I put down Anthrax or Belladonna for being good musicians, I just said what I prefer...
 
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MindlessPieces

Educated Fool
Where in my post did I put down Anthrax? I said he was a good singer, fitting for that glam metal on speed sound that they have. He's a very talented singer. I prefer singers with more "snarl" to their voices. Belladonna doesn't have that, he's like the Kiske of thrash. Mustaine whom you brought up has snarl, lots of attitude and grittiness to his vocals. "snarl" to me doesn't mean growl or anything like that, but just singing with conviction and attitude. I don't think I put down Anthrax or Belladonna for being good musicians, I just said what I prefer...
Sure, sorry, not meaning to mischaracterise your position.

I still don't quite understand the idea of putting music into category boxes and the putting musicians into category boxes inside those boxes.
Personally I think Bruce or Kiske or Belladonna can all fit thrash music. Just because many thrash bands don't have smooth melodic singers (a.k.a. they either have rasp, or snarl, or screamo, or growls or grunts) it doesn't mean that you can't have thrash with great smooth singers.
My preference would definately be for the smoother voices, I prefer Bruce and Kiske and Belladonna, and Mustaine's Youthanasia voice. I really like thrash but I personally would prefer the smoother singers even in that genre.
 

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
Bought the Persistence of Time re-release. They did a nice job, the outtakes are pretty interesting and the LP sounds great. Have not listened to this in a while, the album really falls off after Belly of the Beast, but still damned good overall
 

Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Charlie Benante: Maiden created thrash metal

''First time I saw Iron Maiden was with Paul Di'Anno at the Palladium in New York. They opened up for Judas Priest and I went both nights.
When Maiden came on, the excitement and that feeling that I was witnessing something for the first time that I don't know if I will ever see again, it was so amazing
'''

''That band for me since day one was the reason that I think we started a band and model our band like Maiden. I think they single-handedly created the form of music that became thrash metal.''

Scott Ian: Maiden are the best metal band of all time

''You can't just say Bruce Dickinson has just been a guy who was just in a metal band the whole time. He is a renaissance man - whether is writing books, or fencing, or flying a fucking plane...
I should have said that immediately but when I start talking about Maiden, I get excited because, to me, they are the best metal band of all time. I forgot for a second that Bruce has probably done more in a week than I have done in 15 years.''
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
This 40th anniversary video series has made me interested in doing a full discography run through, which I haven't done in like...10 years?

So, here we go...

Fistful of Metal (1984)
My first thought upon listening to this is...how un-thrash it is! I know, I know, this is heralded as one of the "albums that helped launch the thrash metal movement" and possibly even coined the term "thrash metal"...but all I hear is faster NWOBHM. It sounds like Judas Priest on steroids. Most of this is down to Neil Turbin's Halford-lite vocal delivery, but the music is also much more grounded and based in its roots. Hell, there's a couple songs that straight up rip off Maiden (Soldiers of Metal is the riff from Transylvania and Death From Above really really wants to be Where Eagles Dare in its post-solo bridge part and subject matter) and some that are just heavily inspired by the sound (the harmonies in Howling Furies are some Maidenesque tribute stuff we'll never hear again as far as I can remember).

That said, I actually kinda dig it. It's no secret that I'm not a massive pure thrash metal fan, so the more melodic approach is right up my alley. Such enthusiasm, however, is hampered by the high levels of adolescent songwriting and performance on display. The music is fun and energetic, but never great. Neil Turbin chews the scenery worse than Ripper Owens on a bad day. The Alice Cooper cover is pointless and ultimately adds nothing (except double bass drums). Dan Spitz has a long, long way to go before he writes a catchy solo and learns when to stop soloing. I honestly don't know if I heard a bass lick the whole time? Scott Ian is not impressive here, but he's competent, and Benante is always good. The lyrics are often incredibly silly and repetitive. Still, a fun record that hinted at a future that would ultimately sound very little like this record. It reminds me a lot of the first two Maiden albums: a more NWOBHM sound that would ultimately change and a singer with a rough timbre and a lot of faux-aggressive posturing.

Deathrider - 7/10
Metal Thrashing Mad - 7/10
I'm Eighteen - 5/10
Panic - 7/10
Subjugator - 6/10
Soldiers of Metal - 3/10
Death From Above - 8/10
Anthrax - 7/10
Across The River/Howling Furies - 8/10

Album Rating - 6.4/10
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Spreading the Disease (1985)
The change in the overall sound of the band is immediately apparent here: they've leveled up. It's easy to give credit to Joey Belladonna and Frank Bello as the new members, but mostly I think Ian and Benante just got much better at songwriting. Not every song is great, but it sure opens with a bang. The first three tracks are exceptional, with tons of attitude, melody, speed, and fun, while showcasing a band that sounds hungry. They've also really come into a sound of their own, instead of sounding like a faster rip-off of Judas Priest or a second-rate Metallica/Maiden. The twists and turns in A.I.R. and Madhouse are wonderful. Lone Justice has a killer groove and some nice riffs (and some Steve Harris worship coming from Bello's bass).

The melodies are also so much better here. The "welcome to your nightmare" might be one of their catchiest moments ever. Madhouse is such a jam. The Enemy is a track I've forgotten about but that really stands out on this record (and their discography as a whole) for being much more mid-tempo and groovy. There's definitely some atrocious lyrics and a few clunkers: Stand or Fall is a mess, Aftershock goes nowhere, Medusa's lyrics are positively awful, and Gung-Ho does absolutely nothing for me (especially with that bizarre ending). Belladonna is not my favorite vocalist (and not even my favorite Anthrax vocalist), but his voice is quite good here. His melodic singing is awesome, his occasional runs are good, and his clarity of tone is great. His diction, however, is pretty terrible (James LaBrie has this same problem) and Scott Ian's rapid fire lyric stylings don't help him at all.

Overall, it's a really good record that's dragged down by some pure filler.

A.I.R. - 10/10
Lone Justice - 10/10
Madhouse - 10/10
S.S.C./Stand or Fall - 5/10
The Enemy - 10/10
Aftershock - 6/10
Armed and Dangerous - 9/10
Medusa - 6/10
Gung-Ho - 3/10

Album Rating - 7.6/10
 
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