If you want to hear Anthrax live, don’t buy this album.
There is not too much wrong with the band’s performance per se, but it was released by Island Records as a contractual obligation album, trying to cash in on the band any way they could.
The band was aware they were being recorded, but the overall feel of the album is that it is unfinished. Most of the album was recorded in October 1991 while Anthrax was touring to support their stunning ‘Persistence Of Time’ album. Live recordings are not always easy to get right, and here, the mix just sounds wrong. The rhythm guitar and drums are prone to fading out at inopportune moments, just for a split second, but enough to be distracting. Charlie Benante is well worth listening to, but the drums are too loud, a problem the band struggled with throughout the whole tour. No effort was made to correct the mix in the studio, and the band had no input into it whatsoever.
The first part of the album follows a complete live show set list, but the song selection is a little unusual. “Keep It In The Family” is suitably impressive, but at the same time pointless, as a live version had already been released on ‘Attack Of The Killer Bs’. “Caught In A Mosh” and “I Am The Law” had already appeared live on the B side of the ‘I’m The Man’ EP, and “Metal Thrashing Mad” had been on the ‘Armed And Dangerous’ EP. Two of the 12 tracks are covers, and a third, “Bring The Noise”, was a collaborative cover with Rappers Public Enemy. The band would not have selected some of the live versions used themselves either. “Indians” in particular has several mistakes, with Dan Spitz messing up a solo and someone on backing vocals was a mile out of tune. It may have been a true reflection of Anthrax’s performance that night, but there would undoubtedly have been better shows.
The performance of “Bring The Noise” with Public Enemy is downright annoying. The freestyle rap before the song starts is braindead. Once the song starts, the mix has changed entirely, with vocals dominating, but it’s hard to tell who is singing what. The vocal face off at the end of the song is probably par for the course for a hip hop performance, but it seems like a fish out of water here, and the freestyling which follows is just plain fucking stupid. Anthrax and Public Enemy’s intentions in mixing rap and metal were good, and worked well in the studio, but the result in this live environment is a product of a lesser value than the sum of its parts.
The final four songs were recorded live in the studio in January 1992, but the results are worse than the real live performance, this time with the bass and vocals too high in the mix.
There are also glaring omissions. While it is not to everyone’s taste, there is no “I’m The Man”. There was already a live version on its EP, but then there were also versions of two other songs included here. Anthrax without “I’m The Man” would be like Motörhead without “Ace Of Spades”. There’s also no “Madhouse”, “Armed And Dangerous”, “Gung Ho”, “Misery Loves Company”, “Who Cares Wins”, “Gridlock”, “Persistence Of Time” or “Got The Time”.
This album did the band few favours at all. It was released three years after the first of it was recorded. Joey Belladonna had left, ‘Sound Of White Noise’ had been released, and Anthrax had changed musical direction. This is not a good representation of Anthrax live.