A collection that's missing some important pieces
Anthrax's career has been an interesting ride. The band are not the band they were before, but at the same time, they are... if that makes sense. The band's decision to reunite the classic Among The Living line-up (of vocalist Joey Belladonna, guitarists Dan Spitz and Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante) in 2005 either excited or upset fans depending on which side of the fence you sat - the Belladonna years or the John Bush years. Putting the politics of the decision and the pros and cons of it aside, the classic line-up in 2005 provided a nostalgic blast from the past for old school fans to either relive the glory days or even see the classic line-up for the first time if you were too young to see them back then, and for new Bush-era fans, the opportunity to catch up on the band's history and see what it was about this line-up that made them a part of the big four of thrash metal history.
And so, we get to this Anthrax best of, simply titled The Collection which focuses on those classic years and the associated releases all of which were issued on Island Records. The track selection is interesting and varied with some notable omissions standing out quite significantly. The bulk of the material comes from 1985's Spreading The Disease (A.I.R., Madhouse, Armed And Dangerous and Gung-Ho), 1988's State Of Euphoria (Out Of Sight Out Of Mind, Make Me Laugh, Anti-Social and Misery Loves Company), 1990's Persistence Of Time (Keep It In The Family, In My World and Got The Time) and 1991's Attack Of The Killer B's (Bring The Noise, I'm The Man ('91) and Parasite). The final two tracks, live versions of Metal Thrashing Mad (originally on their 1984 Megaforce debut A Fistful Of Metal) and Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) (originally on the 1987 classic Among The Living, and mislabelled here as not being a live track when in fact it is), are taken from the 1994 live album Live: The Island Years.
As far as it being “the” collection, it's more of “a” collection really. No Anthrax collection is complete when a seminal album such as Among The Living is mostly ignored being only partly represented by a live version of one song which appeared on a later release anyway. Even though this collection was assembled around three years prior to Anthrax's controversial reunion announcement in 2005, that's no excuse. Not including the likes of Indians, Caught In A Mosh or I Am The Law is sure to work against the success of this release.
Given the release of Anthrax's No Hit Wonders 1985-1991 two disc collection in 2005, The Collection pales in comparison. Sure there's some old faves on here and some true classics. However, it's missing some vital tracks that are essential in any Anthrax best-of and their exclusion here cannot be forgiven. This one's for diehard “must have everything Anthrax” collectors only.
(Spectrum Music/Universal Music Australia Distribution)