[Album Review] “Sound of White Noise” – Anthrax

Sound of White Noise - AnthraxAlbum Title: Sound of White Noise
Artist: Anthrax
Year: 1993
Running Time: 57m 13s

Track listing: 1 Potters Field; 2 Only; 3 Room For One More; 4 Packaged Rebellion; 5 Hy Pro Glo; 6 Invisible; 7 1000 Points of Hate; 8 Black Lodge; 9 C11 H17 N2 O2 S Na; 10 Burst; 11 This is Not An Exit

Loud obnoxious thrash music. That was how I always interpreted Anthrax prior to the 1993 release, ‘Sound of White Noise”. A friend of mine, who had a propensity for metal, told me to check it out ‘cos it’s great’. ‘Alright’, I said in a rather dubious ton e . However the frightening memory of ‘I’m the Man’ from 1987 quickly faded into the past as the textured metal tones of the power-ballad, ‘Only’, invaded my consciousness. What a long way Anthrax had come. ‘Only’ was a brilliant piece of music; a less-than -subtle assault both vocally and musically.

The album kicked off with a wrongly-tuned-radio-style static sound and the announcement that we were taking ‘a journey into sound’. It was almost like Anthrax were climbing out of a black hole and travelling through a tunnel to immortal notoriety. Then suddenly…BANG! They arrived. ‘Potters Field’ crashes in with a thumping rhythm and drum accompaniment and a swirling lead riff that embraces the powerful tones of lead singer, John Bush.

‘Room For One More’ is also one that originated in the channelled aggression department with some marvellous strained solos from Dan Spitz. The 80s metal influence is still audible but somehow the music manages to emerge with 90s credibility. The politically-themed ‘Packaged Rebellion’ features a low-key entrance which graduall y ascends to the status of a determined and purposeful all-out rocker – almost reminiscent of Faith No More at their roughest but at the same time sounding nothing like them.

The thoughtful ‘Black Lodge’ is a unique song on this collection and a very welc ome one too. A wavering guitar quickly envelopes a calm vocal and the song only raises the tempo during the chorus but still never rises above mid-tempo. A really pleasant track. Faster and harder but still reminiscent of the ‘Only’ sound, ‘C11 H17 N2 O2 S Na’ (Sodium Penathol), is an excellent piece of metal. Wonderful anarchic performance from Charlie Benante on drums and the entire rhythm section. If only I knew what the hell they were talking about!

‘1000 Points of Hate’ is aggressive with a nice vocal and rhythm structure that rambles a bit eventually and ‘Hy Pro Glo’ starts off a little mundanely but has a kick-ass chorus that takes over for the most part.

Is it the Sex Pistols? No, just ‘Invisible’. First of all a gradual introduction for each instru ment and then the song struggles with a dated punkish sound for a short while before sliding safely into metal territory. The main riff is excellent but the thinness of the sound during the chorus is a let down. There’s a great mid-section however that do es make partial amends.

‘Burst’ is the shortest song on the album and seems a bit pointless and lacking in quality. Certainly not as good as what preceded it…

…or indeed what followed. ‘This is Not an Exit’ wraps up the album pretty well. It never quite explodes like it should and there seems to be pandemonium itching to escape throughout but the tom-toms in the finale are rather cool and are indicative of the variety and imagination exhibited on this release.

‘This is Not an Exit’ then almost implodes with the message that perfectly describes this album: ‘be dangerous, and unpredictable and make a lot of noise’. The static returns. Fade to black.


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