Tuesday, 30 October 2012

CD Review: State Of Euphoria, by Anthrax (1988)

Functional thrash from a band emphasizing having fun over stretching towards harder challenges, State Of Euphoria finds Anthrax largely idling in neutral.

The fourth studio album from the New Yorkers is a nine track sets that starts and ends with a bang, but there is a lot of flabby meat in the middle. Be All, End All opens the album in spectacular fashion, a sad Cello melody introducing one of Anthrax's best songs, almost six and half sturdy minutes full of purpose, brawn and frantic talent, underpinned by Charlie Benante's booming drums.

Be All, End All demonstrates energetic thrash ambition and inventiveness that is unfortunately lacking for most of the rest of the record. While Antisocial (a Trust cover) and Who Cares Wins enjoy some bright moments, for the most part State Of Euphoria meanders along in a state of ambivalence, the slightest of ideas turned into songs, with intense repetition often being substituted in for the more difficult work of theme development. There is an undeniable sense of coasting, Anthrax knowing they can get a pass thanks to speed and professional delivery despite the preponderance of half-baked ideas, and so not bothering with finishing the job.

But at least the album ends with an exclamation mark, Finalé shaking off the sideways drift and charging forwards on the back of an unstoppable riff and a willingness to crash into a joyful heap. Finalé is Anthrax in full flow, joyfully losing control of the jalopy to hurtle at speed towards a hairpin curve on the mountain side.

State Of Euphoria does not venture into new territory, Anthrax opting to put their skateboarder shorts on and plough a predominantly familiar field. They find a couple of juicy fruits, but also a lot of common potatoes.


Charlie Benante - Drums
Dan Spitz - Guitar
Joe Belladonna - Vocals
Frank Bello - Bass
Scott Ian - Guitar

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Be All, End All - 10
2. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind - 7
3. Make Me Laugh - 7
4. Antisocial - 8
5. Who Cares Wins - 8
6. Now It's Dark - 7
7. Schism - 7
8. Misery Loves Company - 7
9. 13 - n/a (short instrumental)
10. Finalé - 10

Average: 7.89

Produced by Anthrax and Mark Dodson.
Engineered by Alex Perialas. Mastered by Greg Calbi.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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