With 'Sound of White Moise,' Anthrax has focused its sights considerably. Gone are the rap-metal hybrids and PC polemics. Gone, too, is longtime singer Joey Belladonna. His replacement, John Bush, is a guy who spent ten years slogging it out with the second-string headbangers in Armored Saint without too much commercial success. He sounds hungry, and so do his new band mates.
Whether it's Bush's influence or the jettisoning of so much musical baggage, Anthrax sounds like it's been revitalized, and Sound of White Noise produced by Dave Jerden (Jane's Addiction) and the band packs a fat sonic wallop. With Bush belting out the lyrics like a thrash-metal Roger Daltrey (sections of "Packaged Rebellion" and "Invisible" actually do recall vintage Who) and lead guitarist Dan Spitz contributing some disarmingly visceral solos, this is state-of-the-art mosh-pit manna, about as good as modern metal gets.
The lyrics center on individual turmoil, confusion and rage. Of course, with everyone from the Rollins Band to Therapy? trafficking in angst, such sentiments are hardly new to the Lollapalooza Generation. But Anthrax's attack is so persuasive that its pissed-off stance doesn't come off as hackneyed.
"Black Lodge," the album's sole ballad, grafts spaghetti-western guitar and synth sounds to a moody melody reminiscent of some of Metallica's more solemn pronouncements. While nothing astonishing, it's just different enough to remind you that within the circumscribed parameters of thrash etiquette, Anthrax has always taken chances. And how many bands in any genre have successfully reinvented themselves a decade into their career? In that sense, Sound of White Noise is a powerful comeback from a group that never went away. (RS 659)
(Posted: Jun 24, 1993)