Aug 162011

(In light of the positive response to TheMadIsraeli’s “Revisiting the Classics” post about At the Gates, we’ve decided to make this a continuing feature, and all of us here at NCS will be contributing over time. But for the second installment, TheMadIsraeli is back again, and he’s looking back at Anthrax.)

Since you guys liked my “Revisiting The Classics” column, I thought I’d do another until I can pump out the next round of current stuff. Have some good stuff coming down the pipe, including another discography download. But now, we’re talking about Persistence of Time (1990).

This is Anthrax’s best album. NOT Among The Living. Get that notion out of your head. It’s amateur tripe compared to the maturity found on Persistence of Time.

Come on, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE IT. (more after the jump . . .)

This song alone showed an evolution in Anthrax that sadly they would never follow up on. They were coming into an identity that was going to set them apart from the pack even more than they already had been. The punk flavor was full-force in the music, the energy was brimming, but what this thrash interpretation of a Joe Johnson song didn’t demonstrate was the sophistication Anthrax achieved on this album, the maturity, and the song-writing talent. I’d wager if you bought Persistence Of Time based off “Got The Time”, you weren’t ready to be hit with this when the album opened up:

I mean, yeah, this wasn’t as fast as Dark Angel, or as brutal as Sepultura or Demolition Hammer, but it had taste, character, energy, and thrash attitude in spades. The album may not have been the full headbanging experience you were looking for, but listening was a blast. And I do think that if you didn’t want to break things to the stomp of “Keep It In The Family”, you were way too inhibited.

You have to admire the experimentation on Persistence and the variation in the music.  I don’t see how it’s possible not to AT LEAST admit that the rapping in “Blood” was infectious in the most virulently viral of ways, or that it was possible to avoid getting immersed in the groove of the song. I don’t see how it’s possible not to conclude that this was Joey’s best vocal performance, both in tone and in crafting memorable vocal melodies. That chorus in “In My World” is just too much of an anthem not to throw yourself into it with all the cheesy 80’s vigor you can muster.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the album was lacking in fierce thrashers in the classic Anthrax style. You had stampeding numbers like “Gridlock” and “Discharge”, one of my favorite Anthrax tracks ever.

The rest of the songs exhibited Anthrax writing good, catchy material and working with the post-thrash sound that was starting to peek into their sound. This represented the best out of all the old-school bands, probably next to Overkill’s mid-period work.

I don’t have as much to say about Persistence as I did Slaughter of the Soul, but SOTS had a massive influence on metal, and this album didn’t. As a matter of fact, I think this album was unfairly overlooked. It’s Anthrax at the height of their glory, the synthesis of everything in all of their previous albums, and the peak of their maturity, yet it was mostly ignored. Very sad to me, indeed: Maybe they wouldn’t have felt pressured into their shoddy groove-metal material later had this album invoked a stronger response.


  1. Of the albums with Belladonna, it’s either this or State Of Euphoria that’s my favorite. I will agree that this one was a bit more mature and in some ways better than its predecessor. I liked Sound Of White Noise as well. Sure, it was odd to hear a different voice and a different kind of Anthrax backing John Bush in the process, but it was still pretty damn good and one could tell it was still the same band. Unfortunately, the albums that came after that…. well, I kind of lost interest in Anthrax’s new output.

    I’ve heard “The Devil You Know” from Worship Music. Shows some promise, but as some commented over at MS, it’s not hard to tell that it wasn’t written with Joey’s voice in mind. Still, I’ll probably check out the new album when if finally drops, but I sure as hell won’t expect it to be a continuation of the initial Joey era (and it shouldn’t be either).

  2. This was my favorite album for about a year. I got the cassette within a few weeks of it’s release and listened to it at least once a day for a long fuckin’ time. Hell, it’s on my ipod even now. I always felt that Got the Time was a weak link but still a link that had to be. Nice to see Persistence get some love.

  3. This is the only album from Anthrax I bought. Loved it. Never could get into their other stuff. Always was a fan of Bring the Noise to with Public Enemy. That was just a good time, even though it was a ripoff of the Walk this Way thing with Aerosmith and Run DMC.

  4. “Among The Living” will always be my favourite Anthrax album for the simple reason that it contains the track “I Am The Law”. I have been a big fan of the comic that inspired it for pretty much ever… and funny that you mention Dark Angel, since their “Darkness Descends” was based on the same comic. I agree that Persistence was a more mature album, though.

  5. I never liked “I Am The Law.” A song about a comic book… couldn’t get past it. But, “Caught in a Mosh” is great. I also don’t really like “funny” Anthrax: “Startin’ Up a Posse,” “Cupajoe.”

    Persistence of Time is my favorite Anthrax album. Although I preferred John Bush.

    Oh, to the author, “Got the Time” is a Joe Jackson cover. Jack Johnson is a Hawaiian folk singer. 😉

  6. I knew that. Did I seriously say Jack Jackson? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck me.

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