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The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 150

Anthrax "Belly Of The Beast" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Never Dead" (2011) VS. Metallica "Cyanide" (2008) VS. Slayer "Skeleton Christ" (2006)

This version of "Belly Of The Beast" sadly supplants "Into To Reality" for the first eight bars of "Dethroned Emperor", a Celtic Frost song they covered during "Stomp 442".  Other than that, I don't find much wrong with this version, and don't really fault them for putting something at the beginning; the song starts in media res.  It's a more straightforward, hammering version of the original classic.  Both have their merits, but both are from one great song.

"Never Dead" starts with the standard quiet, creepy intro, putting reverb all over and using a march beat to set the tone of walking through a catacomb to your fate.  Then the thrash kicks in and you get some kick-ass sounding Megadeth.  This is by and far the best song…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 149

Anthrax "I Am The Law" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Guns, Drugs & Money" (2011) VS. Metallica "All Nightmare Long" (2008) VS. Slayer "Catalyst" (2006)

The '04 remake of "I Am The Law" sounds like a band going through the motions.  A band obligated by fanclub voting to do this song that, while rockin' as a motherfucker, is kind of embarrassing in the lyric department.  Sounds just lethargic enough to be noticeable; though somewhere towards the end of the solo, the start to get into the spirit of the thing despite themselves.

The intro to "Guns, Drugs & Money" is pretty promising, since that kind of beginning is usually followed by some killer thrash, but of course this is "Th1rt3en" we're talking about here, so we get some bland hard rock schlock.  The pre-chorus and chorus are decent enough, but it's an average track at best.

"All Nightmare Long" is anything but a…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 148

Anthrax "Panic" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "We The People" (2011) VS. Metallica "The Day That Never Comes" (2008) VS. Slayer "Flesh Storm" (2006)

"Panic" is one of two songs in Anthrax's catalog to be recorded in the studio by three different vocalists (the other being "Metal Thrashing Mad").  The originals were done on "Fistful Of Metal", the first remakes were tracked for the "Armed & Dangerous" EP and the third for "The Greater Of Two Evils".  And for the first time ever, the song "Panic" lives up to its full potential for heavy thrash metal.  The other two versions are highly 80's, and this one is more substance over style.  It's meaner, it's nastier, it's faster than the other two.  And Caggiano actually pulls off the solos this time, which is even more impressive than if he would have nailed "Madhouse".  There's some sick s…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 147

Anthrax "Madhouse" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)" (2011) VS. Metallica "Broken, Beat & Scarred" (2008) VS. Slayer "Simple Aggression" (some say it's called "Simple Deception", so that's there for the record) (1983)

The 2004 redo of "Madhouse" has a nice little intro which is immediately undercut by the terrible lead attempt by Rob Caggiano once the song kicks in.  Other than that, it's a marginally more agro version with a lame solo.

"Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)" is very teen-angsty.  It's a guy in his late 40's spewing about the things sixteen year olds have to deal with.  Really hard to ignore the cringe-inducing-ness.  Also, I keep hearing "Never Walk Alone" in my head instead when I try to recall this one, because it's basically the unwanted stepchild of that and "FFF" from "Cryptic Writings".

The antidote for th…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 146

Anthrax "Indians" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Public Enemy No. 1" (2011) VS. Metallica "The End Of The Line" (2008) VS. Slayer "Night Rider" (1983)

The drums at the beginning of "Indians '04" just don't sound the same.  The original at least approximated the tribal drum sound the pattern is trying to get at.  I'll admit the guitar tone is meaner though, and not just cuz they're tuned flat.  The chorus doesn't quite pass muster with Bush singing where Belladonna once soared above it all.  The solo sounds mean as fuck, though.  I think everything just cancels and it makes for a good, not great remake.

"Public Enemy No. 1" was the first single off of "Th1rt3en" (which until now I've been writing "Th1rte3n", but who the fuck cares?!).  It's in the vein of "Moto Psycho", meaning tough guy attitude in a hard rock, upbeat song.  Sonically, it sounds like &qu…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 145

Anthrax "Keep It In The Family" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Sudden Death" (2011) VS. Metallica "That Was Just Your Life" (2008) VS. Slayer "Assassin" (1983)

The John Bush version of "Keep It In The Family" may be the only version of a Joey Belladonna song that beats the original.  It's louder, it's nastier, it's a half step lower...there's just more aggression.  The threat of violence is palpable, whereas the first version is merely a gritty anomaly in the Belladonna era.  The production helps quite a bit as well.  It all comes together to make what was a so-so song into something compelling.

And speaking of so-so, let's take this time to welcome Megadeth's 2011 release "Th1rt3en" to these here proceedings.  Now that the introductions are out of the way, let's get a gander:

"Sudden Death" is thankfully more "This Day We Fight!" than "Blackmail The Univer…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 144

Anthrax "Among The Living" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "The Right To Go Insane" (2009) VS. Metallica "All Within My Hands" (Unplugged) (2007) VS. Slayer "Ice Titan" (1983)

This version of "Among The Living" is the prime example of what Anthrax or anyone else for that matter was hoping for from a project like "The Greater Of Two Evils".  They've done the original song, but with enough touches to update it and make it sound tougher.  This is raw power at its most evident.

"The Right To Go Insane" starts with a nefarious bass lick from James Lomenzo (who would be in the band for only a few months after tracking this), then builds on the theme with the whole band.  This song wouldn't sound too out of place on "Countdown To Extinction" actually, sound wise or quality wise.  It's a hidden gem in post 90's Deth's catalogue.

The acoustic take on "All Within My Hands" i…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 143

Anthrax "A.I.R." (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "How The Story Ends" (2009) VS. Metallica "Disposable Heroes" (Unplugged) (2007) VS. Slayer "Scarstruck" (2001)

On the surface, today's matchup may not look like much: Two re-recordings, a B-Side and Megadeth from 2009.  But these four songs all manage to acquit themselves rather well under the circumstances.  Is the original "A.I.R." better?  Yes.  Is this version more guttural and weighty?  Affirmative.  I think the half step down in guitar tuning and John Bush's natural bravado afford Anthrax the opportunity to, while not changing much of anything, play the song more like a kick to the gut instead of the original's making your face into a speed bag for sparring practice.  Either way, this was a pretty cool redo.

Speaking of Anthrax, the opening riff for "How The Story Ends" actually sounds like something that would start off an "Among The Living…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 142

Anthrax "Caught In A Mosh" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Head Crusher" (2009) VS. Metallica "Brothers In Arms" (2007) VS. Slayer "Addict" (2001)

In spite of my enthusiasm, there is an underlying problem with "The Greater Of Two Evils", and it's that some of the songs fail to capture the energy of the originals.  This is one of them, and it's a shame, because it's one of the best Anthrax songs that exists.  This version sounds serviceable but sluggish.  If you sped it up just a little bit, they might have made it work, but it sounds like a tired band going through a hit they don't really want to play but have been playing forever, so they can't fuck it up if they tried.  (Also, no harmony leads at the end of the solo?  Dude.)

And then there's "Head Crusher", a hard charger of a song that was the lead single from "Endgame" specifically for the purpose of letting people know Mega…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 141

Anthrax "Metal Thrashing Mad" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With A Kiss" (2009) VS. Metallica "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" (2007) VS. Slayer "Human Disease" (1998)

"Metal Thrashing Mad" is another nugget from the Neil Turbin era, made 1000% cooler by being done by 2004 Anthrax instead of 1983 Anthrax.  This is just like the chorus says: Foot pined to the floor.  It's what thrash is all about.

"The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With Ellipses" is the ballad of "Endgame".  It goes the whole nine with acoustic guitars and string sounds (which I'm assuming were programmed, because this is 2009 we're talkin' about here).  The "Sealed With A Kiss" part is power metal without the power metal vocalist; dueling guitar leads and medieval to renaissance style lyrics about masqued balls and maidens in towers.  But it somehow manages to keep …

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 140

Anthrax "Deathrider" (The Greater Of Two Evils) (2004) VS. Megadeth "Endgame" (2009) VS. Metallica "Please Don't Judas Me" (2007) VS. Slayer "Born To Be Wild" (2002)

What's old is new again, and my original chagrin about not being able to include "The Greater Of Two Evils" has been wiped away by Megadeth's "Super Collider" making it necessary for inclusion.  The idea behind "The Greater Of Two Evils" was to re-record songs by Anthrax from the pre-Bush era with John Bush on vocals.  First up is "Deathrider" appropriately enough, as it opened their first LP.  This version tears shit up and is far superior to the original, because, dude, Neil Turbin.

"Endgame" is the anthem for Dave Mustaine's predilection for conspiracy theorism.  The codifier of the trope if you will.  The "Endgame", you might say.  If the words didn't sound like the excited play of a child, they might…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 139

Anthrax "Next To You" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Bodies" (2009) VS. Metallica "I Just Want To Celebrate" (2007) VS. Slayer "Payback" (2001)

Next up on the Anthrax cover tour is "Next To You", a cover of the opening track from The Police's debut album.  It's got Frank Bello on vocals, and aside from more modern sounding production and a fill or two from Charlie, it's the same song.  Which is a good thing, because this is a cool song, so hey.  Sword swings both ways.

"Bodies" is a bad "Symphony Of Destruction" knock-off.  Yeah, that's pretty much it.  If you aren't listening very closely, you may be able to forget that, so...squint your ears?  Yeah.  That.  (Though the solo section is decidedly different.)  Oh, wait.  Never mind.  They're continuing the running theme of putting a thrash tail on the song for no real reason.  The second half of the track isn't like "Symphony" at all.  My ba…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 138

Anthrax "Exit" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Bite The Hand" (2009) VS. Metallica "The Ecstasy Of Gold" (2007) VS. Slayer "Here Comes The Pain" (2001)

"Exit" is a U2 cover picked from "The Joshua Tree".  And after eating of this fruit, John Bush does sound a lot like Bono when singing clean.  The production even sounds like U2.  Anthrax is really set on getting their covers as close to the original as possible, aren't they?  The song doesn't do much for me though.

"Bite The Hand" has a half time groove course with the high-pitched A major thrash verses and lyrics about the criminality of Wall Street.  So typical Megadeth put through a post-"United Abominations" filter.  The lyric "When it's dog eat dog, you are what you eat" jumped out at me, but the rest is a merely serviceable hard rock jam.

"The Ecstasy Of Gold" is Metallica covering the Ennio Morricone song they've used as a conc…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 137

Anthrax "Ghost" (2003) VS. Megadeth "1,320'" (2009) VS. Metallica "Vulturous" (2006) VS. Slayer "War Zone" (2001)

"Ghost" is a B-Side, less than two minutes, and recycles a riff from the "Ghosts Of Mars" soundtrack on which Anthrax played a sizable part.  So WHY DOES IT KICK SO MUCH ASS?!?!?!?!?  It's a hammering, pummeling track that leaves you wanting more.  It's just...the shit!

"1,320'" is about funnycars, and the pace tries to match.  The verses slow back down to Earth, but then the chorus goes half time, so it's like a drag race in a way: The first burst of speed, the cool down, then the prep to get it ready for the next heat.  Then in true Megadeth fashion, the second half of the song is high speed and solos.  (Is that the crash, then?)

"Vulturous" (a.k.a. "The Other New Song") is a song that didn't make it beyond the "being played live a few times" stage.  …

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 136

Anthrax "We're A Happy Family" (2003) VS. Megadeth "44 Minutes" (2009) VS. Metallica "Death Is Not The End" (2006) VS. Slayer "Deviance" (2001)

No, you're not seeing things: We're covering "We're A Happy Family" again, this time by Anthrax (who tracked it around the same time Metallica did).  It's fair enough: Anthrax and Metallica are like cousins; they shared a rehearsal space in the run-up to "Fistful Of Metal" and "Kill 'Em All", they were on the same tour when Cliff Burton died (and were all there to cry on, drink with and puke on each other in their collective hour of need) so why not cover the same Ramones song? 

The point is, Metallica during the "St. Anger" sessions captured the feel a lot better.  This is a lot more polished; not to the "scorch the unclean" point some things get to in the digital world of modern music production, but it's not as edgy as the Me…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 135

Anthrax "W.C.F.Y.A." (2003) VS. Megadeth "This Day We Fight!" (2009) VS. Metallica "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" (2003) VS. Slayer "Bloodline" (2001)

"W.C.F.Y.A." of course stands for "We've Come For You All" (not sure why they went with the early-90's comic book option of the unnecessary acronym, but then again, maybe the reason lies in the thing itself).  It starts out seething, with John Bush above a whisper but still really venomous.  What amazes me is how disciplined this song sounds; the middle section and choruses are all half-time, in spite of the insane build of the verses and post-chorus riff.  You expect the double-time, or even quadruple-time blast beats to come out and lay waste to everything, but they never do.  And that ends up working, because it's still a swift kick in the jimmies.

Though so is "This Day We Fight!".  But I think I've figured out one of the flaws of later-period Megadet…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 134

Anthrax "Think About An End" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Dialectic Chaos" (2009) VS. Metallica "We're A Happy Family" (2003) VS. Slayer "Seven Faces" (2001)

"Think About An End" is another song I haven't heard in ten years.  I just never dug it back in the day, one thing led to another, I sold most of my CDs and just forgot to rip a copy before getting rid of it.  It's not a bad song, but it's not really remarkable either, so I can see why I just forgot it existed for a decade.  It has lyrics with a point, pointing out the hypocrisies of Christianity, but that's kinda been done, and done better (and with better music), as has the Sabbath gallop beat they use for a middle section.  The song feels like it had potential, but they just tacked pieces that sounded decent together and didn't bother to put in the work to make it special.

"Dialectic Chaos" is the instrumental intro to "Endgame", the last album…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 133

Anthrax "Crash" (2003) VS. Megadeth "It's Electric" (Live) (????) VS. Metallica "Cretin Hop" (2003) VS. Slayer "Exile" (2001)

Well, "Crash" is a kind of pointless interlude, so not much to say other than that.

The live version of "It's Electric" which sounds like it might have the original Diamondhead singer on it (it's definitely not Mustaine) comes to us from the "Warchest" boxed set.  It's more thrashy than Metallica's version, but not as good, so too bad so sad.  It's still kind of an interesting listen, and given Anthrax phoned it in today, it's good enough for at least a 2!

Ramones cover #3: "Cretin Hop".  Funner than the others, and pretty entertaining to hear this come out of the otherwise twistedly serious "St. Anger" sessions.

I wanted to write "Extra points for the time signature switch in the chorus for 'Exile'", but because we actually give o…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 132

Anthrax & Roger Daltry "Taking The Music Back" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Black Swan" (2007) VS. Metallica "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World" (2003) VS. Slayer "Threshold" (2001)

Basically, Roger Daltry is just there for his scream.  You can't really hear him doing the backing vocals, not to the point where you notice it's him and not members of Anthrax.  But it's a decent "Nod To The Old School", if you'll forgive the pun.  You won't?  Dude, fuck you.

Speaking of fuck you's, here's another song Megadeth eventually re-recorded for "Th1rte3n", a.k.a. "Pile on Metallica's self-inflicted credibility seppuku 'Lulu'".  Not sure why I even put this in here, given how many songs I had to bullshit from the other three bands to match up with Megadeth's magical 170 total; think it had something to do with Anthrax being at 157 and needing one more to match it at the time.  Point is,…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 131

Anthrax & Dimebag Darrel "Cadillac Rock Box" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Out On The Tiles" (2007) VS. Metallica "Commando" (2003) VS. Slayer "Cast Down" (2001)

"Cadillac Rock Box" somehow does what "Strap It On" attempted to do better than "Strap It On", without even intending to: Play the nostalgia card and play it well.  A Cadillac Rock Box sounds like something that just time warped in from the 70's with it's own bank of fog machines, and the music kinda matches the image.  It's retro without sounding dated; without even sounding retro, really.  I think that's the secret.  You don't rip off the old bands, you don't try to write something like them, and you certainly don't cover them without changing much of anything.  This is the same kind of magic that lets Anthrax do Kiss songs that sound like note for note remakes of the originals and somehow sound twice to ten times as good.  And they…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 130

Anthrax "Black Dahlia" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Burnt Ice" (2007) VS. Metallica "All Within My Hands" (2003) VS. Slayer "New Faith" (2001)

Metal is a funny thing.  Though "Black Dahlia" has Anthrax's most extreme metal moment (most like extreme metal, and I don't mean "More Than Words") with a fucking blast beat for a chorus and middle section, it's not their hardest moment.  Surely, extreme should trump heavy, but I find it doesn't.  Regardless, "Black Dahlia" is claustrophobic, harsh and kicks serious ass.  Not much more you could ask from a metal song.

"Burnt Ice" is a song about overdosing, and is thematically suiting to one burnout of an album.  This one manages to rank several notches above the "Blessed Are The Dead" barometer of acceptability, especially once the song gets going on the back half.  It actually gets pretty good; nice and intense.  You'd think this band still …

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 129

Anthrax & Dimebag Darrel "Strap It On" (2003) VS. Megadeth "You're Dead" (2007) VS. Metallica "Purify" (2003) VS. Slayer "God Send Death" (2001)

"Strap It On" is all about the old-school, and really aside from the solo isn't that remarkable.  But it doesn't have to be remarkable to be worth bobbin' the ol' head.  (Take that how you want it to mean.)

Next we have a song about Megadeth's musical credibility (rim shot)  that somehow manages to sound more credible than most of the rest of "United Abominations".  It's got a creepy sound to it, but the dumb lyrics kinda take you out of it.  Then the back 1/3 is thrash city, sounding better than anything else on the disc.  It's weird how good this song is compared to the last seven or eight; you'd think Mustaine actually tried or something.

"Purify" is not only one of my favorite Metallica songs of all time (NOT hyperbole), but one o…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 128

Anthrax "Nobody Knows Anything" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Amerikhastan" (2007) VS. Metallica "The Unnamed Feeling" (2003) VS. Slayer "Disciple" (2001)

"Nobody Knows Anything" may be the heaviest, most phrenetic thing Anthrax has ever done.  It does not let up at ALL.  Charlie goes MUTHAfukin' Bananaz, the rest of the band goes along with him and John Bush sounds like he's about to choke a bitch.  WITH HIS MIND.  His other two hands can't unclench from fists because he needs to punch out everybody else in the room for bein' a fukin' IDIOT.  So yeah, not a song you wanna meet in a dark alleyway.

The upshot of this experiment is I learned just how inadequate the last few Megadeth albums have been.  "Amerikhastan" is basically Dave Mustaine's political rhetoric in spoken word form with so-so hard rock and harmony leads to accompany.  It doesn't even make much sense when you try to listen to the words. 

I'…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 127

Anthrax "Any Place But Here" (2003) VS. Megadeth & Christina Scabbia "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" (2007) VS. Metallica "Sweet Amber" (2003) VS. Slayer "Darkness Of Christ" (2001)

I've always thought it was a weird choice to put two songs that start with acoustic guitars together like they did here with "Safe Home" and "Any Place But Here" from "We've Come For You All"; maybe this is where they shoulda put "Superhero".  But 'nuff a that.  "Any Place But Here" is one of those measured, kill at will type of songs that stays focused throughout and uses its simplicity to mask the moving parts.  It's not just the same chord or two; there's a lot of creepy note choices that add to the ambiance and make this more than a mid-paced pounder.  (And no, Microsoft Works apparently doesn't think "pounder" is a word.)

Aaaand we've approached the worst Megadeth recording…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 126

Anthrax "Safe Home" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Play For Blood" (2007) VS. Metallica "Shoot Me Again" (2003) VS. Slayer "Hand Of Doom" (2000)

"Safe Home" is a ballad that isn't really a ballad.  I'm not talking power ballad, I'm saying this is something new.  They manage to have a tender chorus without compromising the hard verses and don't have to resort to a loud/quiet/loud or quiet/loud/quiet archetype to do it.  It's pretty neat how seamless this thing is.  (Also, how in the HELL did they get Keeanu Reeves to do the video when this was the year the 2nd & 3rd Matrix movies came out?  Anthrax had very little publicity left to them at this point.  (I'd argue that all the drama since has put them in a bigger portion of the public eye than anything since "Sound Of White Noise", and that's probably why I don't give a shit anymore.  It's like wrestling: WWE would quit putting on events in a HEARTB…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 125

Anthrax "Refuse To Be Denied" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Blessed Are The Dead" (2007) VS. Metallica "My World" (2003) VS. Slayer "Wicked" (1998)

"Refuse To Be Denied" is one of those rare acoustic-electric hybrids that actually rocks.  A lot of times a band'll pull that trick when they want to show their softer side, or just use an acoustic for an intro, but this one blends the two nicely without either the 12-string or the hard edge sticking out like a sore thumb.  And it's about determination and resisting things, both good topics for metal songs.  Good shit, yo.

If you listen to the lyrics of "Blessed Are The Dead", you'll hear more than a few references to other Megadeth songs, and that's really all there is to say.  This tune is like the baseline of acceptable Megadeth material.  Any worse than this and it belongs in their late 90's output, any better and it's worthy of a fist pump.

"My World"…

POST #300

First of all, I'd just like to thank everybody for kicking this sucker up over 9000 Blog views!  It was somewhere around 6000 in March, and it took two years plus to get that.  Hope I'm keeping you guys entertained and here's to the NEXT 9000!  (If I may be so lucky.)





Mmm hmm.  Yes, well anyway, that's actually not what this particular post is about.  This is post number 300, and if you read post number 200, you know what that means:





...No, but that's actually as perfect a Segway as there can be.  In fact, it makes my words redundant.  UNLEASH THE PICTURES!!!






Thanks for reading out there, and yeah The Big Four Song Challenge Series may be on the back nine, but I have a book coming out sometime this year, so be on the lookout for "Solutions To Manmade Problems".  Thank you for finding my little corner of the internet, and I hope you've had some fun!  Let's keep it goin'!

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 124

The following entry was written by my alter-ego, Mr. Grumpy Pants:

[Author's note: No, it wasn't.  I was just really down when I wrote it.]

Anthrax "Superhero" (2003) VS. Megadeth "Gears Of War" (2007) VS. Metallica "Invisible Kid" (2003) VS. Slayer "Unguarded Instinct" (1998)

"Superhero" is a song I haven't heard in awhile, and really, I haven't been missing much. I don't hear much going on through the whole four minute stretch. I've always felt this was just a road bump on the way to "Refuse To Be Denied".

Speaking of bland, "Gears Of War" was originally supposed to be a throwaway song for the first Gears Of War Game, but ended up making the album because, as we've seen with "Th1rte3n", Mustaine will make an album track out of anything. Still more listenable than "Superhero".

Dude, I like "Invisible Kid" in theory, but in practice only a few parts work. …

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 123

Anthrax "Contact/What Doesn't Die" (2003) VS. Megadeth "United Abominations" (2007) VS. Metallica "Dirty Window" (2003) VS. Slayer "Point" (1998)

I looked at today's matchup and knew it would be a knock-down, drag-out affair.  "What Doesn't Die" one of Anthrax's meanest, nastiest songs.  It fights dirty, it kills at will and, in context, it was their first new shit in five years at that point, coming into a void of otherwise terrible music.  (Seriously, what the fuck 2002?)  The last minute and a half make you want to clench up in white-knucled intensity and throw yourself at shit.  Whatever's in your way, just fucking PUNCH IT!!!!

I feel bad for "United Abominations".  It's one of the better songs from that album, and it doesn't stand a goddam chance in today's matchup.  It's the only song out of the four that doesn't go H.A.M. squared.  Also, in light of Dave Mustaine's retarded pol…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 122

Anthrax "Ball Of Confusion" (1999) VS. Megadeth "Never Walk Alone...A Call To Arms" (2007) VS. Metallica "Some Kind Of Monster" (2003) VS. Slayer "Screaming From The Sky" (1998)

Anthrax's last release of the old millennium is, oddly enough, a look backward, being a greatest hits album with a new cover of a Temptations song from 1970 with Joey Belladonna and Dan Lilker returning to contribute.  I've always liked this version, though I listened to it way too damn much at one point, so it's hard to pay attention to it.  But soldier on I does, and what I hear is a decent groove metal jam.  (Not really "metal" metal, but as hard rocking as a straight Temptations cover can really be.)

"Never Walk Alone...A Call To Arms" brings back the beloved ellipses to the arsenal of Megadeth.  There are moments (let me emphasize moments) that make me think this song may be tuned to B (in the pre-chorus), but I can't tell if it&#…

The Big Four Song Challenge Series: Match 121

Anthrax "Phantom Lord" (1998) VS. Megadeth "Washington Is Next!" (2007) VS. Metallica "St. Anger" (2003) VS. Slayer "Scrum" (1998)

Today, we have Anthrax covering...METALLICA?!?!?  How do I even score this?!?!?!?!?  (Especially since Dave Mustaine co-wrote the song in question?!?!?!?!?!?!?)  This is an anomaly in our field of data, my fellow metalheads.

The first and most important thing is: Do they do the song justice?  Yes.  They even pull off the solos and middle section with great attention to detail.  And it gives you an insight to what might have happened had John Bush excepted Metallica's entreaty to join them circa 1983.  The only edge the original even has over this is the production; "Volume 8" just isn't made for and old-school thrash sound.  But this is a damn-fine cover nonetheless.

"Washington Is Next!" was the leadoff single from "United Abominations", and it kicks things off reasonably well.  Th…