Perennial thrashers Anthrax are prepping the release of a new EP, Anthems, that will hit shelves on March 19th on Megaforce Records. It finds the group covering songs by some of their favorite classic rock artists and anthems, including Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak", AC/DC's "TNT", Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes", Journey's "Keep On Runnin' ", and Boston's "Smokin' '"
Downloadable here is their thundering cover of Rush's "Anthem" done with a fresh, metal twist. "When I was first learning to play drums, I would strap on my headphones, play along with [Rush's live album 'All The World's A Stage'] and be transformed," Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante says. "I remember talking with Cliff [Burton] and Kirk [Hammett of Metallica] back when we first met, and we all agreed how much of an influence Rush was on all of us. I don't [know] if you would hear anything that sounds like Rush in Anthrax's music, but the passion, the drive, the musicianship and the appreciation is all there."
Also on the EP, and downloadable here, is a special, new remix of “Crawl” from the band’s critically-acclaimed, and Grammy-nominated latest album Worship Music. Said the band’s vocalist Joey Belladonna, “These are all bands I grew up with and have listened to forever. It’s just great music. I had fun singing these songs and I was happy recording together with Anthrax, doing classic rock songs. Fun stuff!”
On Boston’s “Smokin’ ”, Anthrax brought in a special guest to play keyboards – Fred Mandel, who has played with Alice Cooper, Queen, Elton John, Cheap Trick, Supertramp and on Pink Floyd’s The Wall. About the track, Charlie Benante said, “If ever there were a perfect first album, it’s Boston’s first album. The harmony leads they did would later be heard by Iron Maiden, which of course would lead to thrash metal.”
The EP will be available on CD as well as digitally via iTunes and other online retailers. In addition to Anthems’ cover art (attached), Benante and artist Stephen Thompson have subtly redesigned each track’s original album cover art to “Anthrax” it. The Anthems EP will first be housed in one of the “re-imagined” digi-pak covers, and then inserted inside the main CD cover sleeve. The main cover sleeve has been designed in such a way so fans will be able to see which one of the six “re-imagined” covers is inside.
Anthems was produced by Anthrax, Jay Ruston and Rob Caggiano, and recorded for the most part throughout 2012 literally all over the world: at Benante’s home studio, in Ruston’s New York studio, on the band’s tour bus while on last summer’s Rockstar Mayhem Tour, in hotel rooms, and backstage at their Berlin show last December.
The Grammy-nominated Anthrax – Belladonna/vocals, Benate/drums, Scott Ian/guitar and Frank Bello/bass – will hit the road in support Anthems on February 16th with dates in India and Australia, and then return to North America to headline the Metal Alliance Tour that kicks off March 22. For all of these dates, Anthrax will be joined by Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais.