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Articles Home » 1995 Articles » Anthrax - 1995 Stomp 442
 
Anthrax - 1995 Stomp 442



ARTIST: Anthrax
ALBUM: Stomp 442
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 61856-2
YEAR: 1995

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Bush - vocals * Scott Ian - guitars * Paul Crook - guitars * Frank Bello - bass * Charlie Benante - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Random Acts Of Senseless Violence * 02 Fueled * 03 King Size * 04 Riding Shotgun * 05 Perpetual Motion * 06 In A Zone * 07 Nothing * 08 American Pompeii * 09 Drop The Ball * 10 Tester * 11 Bare

WEBLINKS: www.anthrax.com


Background
'Stomp 442' is a textbook example of a band at the crossroads. Anthrax made the biggest decision of their career in 1992 when they removed vocalist Joey Belladonna and replaced him with ex Armored Saint man John Bush. Their first effort with Bush was 1993's 'Sound Of White Noise', perhaps their most accomplished album to date. It was a mature mixture of their 80's thrash sound and more modern techniques that allowed Anthrax to shed themselves of the 80's gimmickry that surrounded their heyday (skateboarding, 'I'm The Man' etc). The album did well, but business was down, as it was for most popular 80's acts. The venues were downsized for the tour, from arenas to mid sized three thousand seaters. When Anthrax reappeared in 1995 it was without original guitarist Dan Spitz, who was fired, basically because he no longer fitted in with the bands image or writing direction. 'Stomp 442' therefore sounded like an entirely different band, with little traces to the past. It was produced by industrial guru's The Butcher Brothers, who gave it such an atmosphere. There was no thrash whatsoever, Anthrax now taking the Metallica and Megadeth route. More importantly, the loss of Spitz removed an essential element of their basic metal sound, Ian and new addition Crook, adding a more modern approach, with hints of basic hard rock.


The Songs
From the opening bars of 'Random Acts Of Senseless Violence', you sense this is not the same band. The main problem is with Ian's guitar tone. It's down tuned, the riffs not as metal as they once were. However, the grunge meets hard rock/metal union sounds way before its time. 'Fueled', the first single, represents the main flow of the album - mid paced, but never reaching thrash level. Here the riffs are more savage while the double bass drumming is constant throughout. Pantera's Dimebag Darrell adds guitar to 'King Size' and 'Riding Shotgun', the most effective pairing of the eleven songs. 'King Size', which because of the new guitar style, doesn't have a metallic bent until Dimebag's solo livens things up. This contains the closest thing to a thrash segment with Benante's frenzied drumming finally in focus. The most noteworthy aspect of 'Riding Shotgun' is the traditional metal riffing mid song, a fine backdrop to a right bruiser! 'Perpetual Motion' has energy, and an upbeat wall of noise, while 'Amercian Pompeii' is Anthrax's ode to a decaying New York. Side two is not quite as inspired. 'In A Zone' is five minutes of intense buildup, with some mighty riffs leading up to a manic instrumental section. 'Nothing' was the second single, and I recall was panned by Kerrang! who said the chorus fell flat!. Typical nonsense from those hacks at the time. The chorus was the best asset of this more radio-friendly number I reckon. 'Drop The Ball' is weaker, containing that loudspeaker effect so popular once, and it meanders until a faster section, before reverting to slower territory. 'Tester' adopts an industrial landscape with a variety of background effects, and is fast without being thrash. 'Bare' - a largely acoustic display, is beautifully melodic and laid back, similar to 'Black Lodge' from 'White Noise'.


In Summary
The decline of Anthrax was proven with a poor chart entry of 47 on Billboard, the album falling off in a matter of weeks. Due to Elektra failure to promote the album, it led to the bands departure. Realistically, 'Stomp 442' could fit in to today's scene admirably, easily slotting alongside Disturbed and such bands, although far heavier and believable. Sadly Anthrax have only recorded one album since, 1998's 'Volume 8: The Threat Is Real', although a long awaited new album is set for release this year. It might not have been the Anthrax people were used to, but it was in the sense that it was gut-wrenching metal of the heaviest sort. In that regard 'Stomp 442' succeeded and will always rate as a personal favourite.


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Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on June 27 2008 16:49:59
I personally think that despite the label problems John Bush's recruitment breathed new life into the 'thrax. Some of the material he recorded with the band is amongst the band's very best.
#2 | jeffduran on June 27 2008 19:03:49
I categorically agree reyno-roxx, songs like 'Only' were a step in the right direction for the times (early 90's). However I never understood they're appeal overall.
 
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