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THE BIG FOUR SONG CHALLENGE SERIES - Matchup 177

Anthrax "Breathing Out" (2016) VS Megadeth "Poisonous Shadows" (2016) VS Metallica "Confusion" (2016) VS Slayer "Vices" (2015)

So how do Anthrax follow up their breakthrough to 4-point land?  With a...pointless interlude?  Dafuq?  Sure, it sounds purdy, but there is NO reason for this thing to be on the album, much less its own track.  (Oddly enough, the clean nature of it played well as a segue into the Megadeth song I'm about to talk about.  Got that going for it, I guess?)

"Poisonous Shadows" has a nice, dramatic slow build to it, even slightly creepy at points if it catches you in the right setting (i.e.: if you're paying attention).  The orchestra adds atmosphere without becoming overbearing (as they have a tendency to do).  The band kicks things up a notch during the solo while managing not to ruin the vibe, then comes back down to the darkness with a slow pullback of all instrumentation until but the acoustic guitar and Mustaine remain, fading into nothing shortly after.

My first reaction to the beginning of "Confusion" was "'Am I Evil?' much?"  (The answer to which is of course "Yes" because they've played that song literally hundreds of times live.)  The verse kind of just starts, though late, like they were trying to convey the feeling of...confusion perhaps?  If the song had anything interesting happen in it, maybe that would work but instead it just comes off as out of place.  This is a song that I would drop in the "What would you cut to make this a single disc?" debates that are already starting to crop up online.  (Though it's not much of a debate, since disc 1 and 2 combine for 77:24.  "Load" was 90 seconds longer and still fit on one CD.  At least they're not charging more.  The three disc version was only $13.99.  "Lulu" was $17.99.  And why did I leave these ramblings in?  Because they're more interesting than "Confusion".)

So.  "Vices."  Starts out nice and tough; liking it so far.  Ooh, that change going into the verse is pretty gutsy.  This song has some muscle to it and doesn't feel like it's extraneous or (too) cliché.  This feels like it has a bit of genuine anger to it, and it's executed with enough skill that you know what?  I think we have a winner.

"Vices": 4
"Poisonous Shadows": 3
"Breathing Out": 2
"Confusion": 1

Three things.  One: "Breathing Out" may not have any reason to exist, but that puts it on even footing with "Confusion".  So Two: All things being even, I like "Breathing Out" better.  (For one it's shorter, so by definition it's already less of a waste of my time.)  And Three: I am totally hearing most of these Slayer songs for the first time and writing these blurbs as I listen.  (Four, I guess: I have listened to "Hardwired" all the way through already, so...make what you will of that.)

UPDATE TOTALS:

Metallica: 21
Megadeth: 21
Anthrax: 17
Slayer: 12

ALL TIME TOTALS:

Anthrax: 455
Metallica: 446
Slayer: 443
Megadeth: 408

Let's see what the hell else is gonna happen!

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