Saturday, May 29, 2010

Point-Counterpoint Classic: Anthrax - Persistence of Time


Okay, this one isn't even fair.  I totally am cherry picking here.  But as I said in a previous article, I have been feeling the need to just sink my teeth into something I already know I love.  Welcome, then, to my brief trip back to High School, and one of the albums that opened my eyes and mind.

I always knew I liked rock.  I gravitated to the sound of a distorted electric guitar early on.  Songs like "Money for Nothing", "Pour Some Sugar on Me", and "Modern Day Cowboy" captivated my tween year old mind in the 80s.  But it wouldn't be until the 90s that I realized that I really was a metal head.  In respect to my good upbringing, I had veered far away from any of those "evil" metal bands, and Anthrax was just one such band.

That all changed when a friend lent me Persistence of Time.  I was completely blown away.  I suddenly realized that yes, this band played heavy freaking metal.  But what I didn't expect was the talent I was met with.  Amazing guitar work, powerful, rapid drumming, and surprisingly politically/socially conscious lyrics all culminated to create an album that sent my musical world reeling.  Suddenly heavy metal wasn't evil.  It was awesome.

Since that time, my musical tastes have broadened (somewhat, though admittedly no where near as broad as my brother), but metal remains at the roots of it all.  And in there, with the best of any of those albums, you will find Persistence of Time, an example of one of the very best thrash metal albums of all time.  The songs still hold up today, 20 years later, just as well as they did back then.  The lyrics, while admittedly simplistic and heavy handed at times, deal with issues we still are dealing with today (racism, divorce, hate).  In short, I love this album as much, if not more, than I did when I first heard it so many years ago.

Final verdict: Adore it (as one of the seminal albums in American thrash metal)


There's nothing wrong with a bit of cherry picking when it comes to album reviews - how better to introduce people to your favorites, so that they can put your other opinions in context?

However, I don't hold this album in quite the regard Peter does.  I remember picking up a used copy years ago, but I never really got into it (thrash isn't my thing, I guess - I can't really think of ANY thrash CDs I own anymore).  I must've given it away or sold it back used to a place, because I couldn't find it for the life of me when my co-conspirator here decided this should be our next joint article.

However, I can honestly say that it's a great album - a perfect example of what American thrash was, and what it can be again.  It's ugly, grating, complex, and blistering.  As Peter mentioned, the lyrics are inane, but inane in a way that only wonderful eighties bands can be - it's endearing rather than off-putting.

As mentioned, I do have broad tastes - arguably TOO broad for some people.  However, re-listening to this gigantic album has brought me back to my heavy metal roots and has made a perfect accompaniment to my workouts for the last week.

Final verdict: Adore it (with a smile and a nod to the old-time thrash masters)

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