Also, an erratum: yesterday I claimed that Anthrax was from New Jersey, when in fact everyone knows that it's Overkill who are from Jersey, while Anthrax are from Queens. I deeply regret the error. Deeply. Please don't hurt me.
Okay, on with the metal: today we start with United's tenth studio album, “Tear Of Illusions”. The album feels a little wobbly getting out of the starting blocks, but by the time the third track starts, things stabilize. As “Tear Of Illusions” progresses, it builds and builds, not unlike an intensifying case of Hulkamania, until finally the last minute of the album gives way to a breakdown (announced by the subtle lyric, “Time for us to break down!”) which is actually faster than any other breakdown this year. What you're left with is a rarity in modern music: an album that starts weaker than it finishes. And while it wears its nostalgia on its sleeve, and you could be forgiven for thinking it sounds like some yet-undiscovered Coroner album from 1990, that's not really such a bad thing.
Speaking of nostalgia, Anthrax fires back with their tenth studio album, the awkwardly-named “Worship Music”. This album marks the triumphant return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, and while it's probably not 100% directly related, “Worship Music” nevertheless feels like more of a sequel to the band's seminal 1990 classic “Persistence Of Time” than anything since (never forget “Only”). And yet, this is a band who has obviously been refining their own vocabulary for decades, with evidence of their maturation on virtually every song on the album. As one arbitrary example, check out The Giant. This is no mere nostalgia trip, and by the end of the album I find myself celebrating the old as well as the new. Anthrax scores a potent win over United, sending them on to the next round. Nice work!
That's it for the first week of metal madness! Join us next week when we pit Unearth against Deicide.