Recap: That Metal Show, Episode 2 & 3

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The fourteenth season of That Metal Show was “caught in a mosh” last week Saturday as Anthrax returned to the show and caused a state of euphoria. Eddie Trunk and the guys from Anthrax are longtime best friends and this week’s episode featured the comedic sounds of white noise….

Right off the bat, Don Jamieson introduced guitarist Alex Skolnick from Testament and he proceeded to ferociously rip apart the fretboard. Honestly, it felt great to see a musician of Skonick’s caliber appear on That Metal Show considering his virtuosic skillset as both a metal and jazz guitarist. I’d welcome him back for another guest appearance during future episodes or seasons. For anyone interested, he released his first acoustic record Planetary Coalition last year and the album features over 25 guest musicians. To the joy of metalheads everywhere, Testament are touring with fellow trash legends Exodus this spring and will perform their first two albums in their entirety.

This week’s “Take It or Leave It” segment featured Eddie, Don, and Jim discussing the validity of cover albums since artists like Anthrax, Alice Cooper, and Stone Sour release them more frequently nowadays. More or less, does That Metal Show approve of this recent trend? Jim made some good points about how Metallica’s Garage Inc. and Rage Against The Machine’s Renegades were solid pieces of work but he also mentioned how most cover albums are created to satisfy record label obligations. Simply stated, Don believes cover albums belong in the 99-cent bin at local record stores. Right or wrong, Eddie mentioned some interesting tidbits about radio programmers giving unknown bands airplay if they cover a popular song. Historically speaking, think of all the bands from the 1950s or early 60s that were contractually obligated to record covers before they wrote any originals.

Once Don mentioned how Motorhead won a Grammy for their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Eddie knocked the clueless award show for their lack of common sense. It’s always entertaining to witness Eddie diminish the credibility of these musical instantiations since his criticism is totally accurate. In his own words, “How could you give a band a Grammy Award for a cover song? Isn’t this supposed to be a great artistic achievement? They didn’t even write the song.”

Once Jennifer walked onto the stage, the guys nearly fought in the octagon when choosing “The Top 5 Greatest Cover Songs.” Both Don and Jim made some cool picks for System of a Down’s “Snowblind” and Type O Negative’s “Summer Breeze.” The running joke of the segment occurred when Eddie called Anthrax’s “Antisocial” a poppy tune – this statement was referenced multiple times throughout the show. Ultimately, the top five picks were:

5) Iron Maiden – “Cross Eyed Mary 4) Anthrax – “Antisocial” 3) Metallica – “Am I Evil?” 2) Judas Priest – “The Green Manalishi” 1) Van Halen – “You Really Got Me.”

To a New York City worthy applause, hometown heroes Anthrax made their way towards the set and quickly turned this conversation into a comedic affair. The guys in Anthrax were jokingly offended over Eddie’s comment about “Antisocial.” While Frank Bello busted Eddie’s chops, Eddie hilariously replied, “Why don’t you sit next to me so I could punch you in the mouth?”

Anthrax is currently recording their eleventh studio album and neither the album title or any of the song titles were revealed. However, the band members are very confident about surpassing or matching the songwriting quality heard on their recent masterpiece Worship Music. If anyone hasn’t listened to Worship Music, I highly recommend adding this record to your collection. Once the conversation shifted, Eddie kicked into the highly entertaining “Video Vault” where Anthrax discussed their distaste for over the top arena shows back in 1986. Besides the eighties hair and ripped jeans, Scott Ian’s hardcore New York accent was absolutely hilarious. He lives in Los Angeles now so his New York accent has completely vanished over the years.

Afterwards, Eddie asked Scott, Charlie, and Frank to rank their favorite to least favorite Anthrax records. This was the episode’s most interesting segment since the band offered honest criticism and revealed some interesting stories about their catalog. From favorite to least favorite: Anthrax ranked: Among The Living, Worship Music, Spreading The Disease, Sounds of White Noise, Persistence of Time, We’ve Come For You All, Stomp 442, Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, State of Euphoria, and Fistful of Metal. While Anthrax discussed State of Euphoria, it was crazy to see how all three members instantaneously recalled their disappointment. Long story short, the album suffered from poor timing as they rushed the songwriting so they could tour with Iron Maiden. On the positive side of the spectrum, they acknowledged how Spreading The Disease put them on the map while comeback albums like Sound of White Noise and Worship Music saved their career.

Once “Stump The Trunk” arrived, the third contestant asked Eddie to name the two Quiet Riot albums that featured Randy Rhoads on guitar? The only issue – Eddie heard Rudy Sarzo and completely missed a softball question. This turned into a relentless ball buster moment as Anthrax, Don, and Jim ripped on Eddie. Regardless, this lady won a signature ESP Alex Skolnick SSB. As I mentioned last week, I love the moments in the show where someone walks away with a guitar, especially when the contestant plays. The black and gray color combination is really unique and stands out amongst the countless brightly colored guitars out there.

My personal favorite moment from last weekend’s episode occurred when Eddie, Don, and Jim picked their favorite albums of the week. Much credit goes to Jim Florentine for choosing Crobot’s Something Supernatural. On behalf of Pop-Break, we witnessed Crobot’s growth from the beginning whether it was HYPERLINK “http://pop-break.com/2012/01/30/shipwrecked-at-the-shore-interview-series-crobot/”opening up our site’s small showcase or “http://pop-break.com/2014/03/27/interview-crobot/”signing a recording contract with Wind-Up Records. Here’s what makes Something Supernatural special, Crobot’s ability to merge the exhilarating thrills of vintage and modern rock demonstrates something euphoric and transcendent that is severely missing in music nowadays. Especially on a widescale television platform, it felt great to see a band of Crobot’s caliber receive this exposure before they tour with Anthrax and Volbeat this summer. If you never listened to Crobot beforehand, drop whatever is that you’re doing and find this record. Trusting in the laws of attraction, I’m confident this band’s dedication to their craft will eventually lead them to the promised land of a massive fanbase.

To conclude this episode on a high note, the “Throwdown” saw the guests and hosts make the argument for the better Kiss record – Dynasty or Unmasked? Both records were the last to feature the original lineup of Kiss. I’ll fully admit – neither album sparks my interest and I initially questioned this segment but I still found the roundtable discussion highly entertaining. Case in point, Scott Ian refused to vote but changed his mind to Dynasty last second. Charlie Benante also made an interesting point about Dynasty was the last remaining high point for the original Kiss before things fell apart.

On behalf of Pop-Break founder Bill Bodkin and myself, we’re both longtime Anthrax listeners so it felt great to see the core three members enjoy each other’s company. Actually, let’s not forget about Joey Belladonna’s conversation on the metal modem where he also cracked jokes with his fellow bandmates. While this episode wasn’t truly informative, I consider the band interaction as a very good sign of things to come. From what I gather, there are positive vibes surrounding this upcoming record and it’s totally realistic to expect another Worship Music. If any of the Big Four thrash bands are capable of churning out another masterpiece, Anthrax is the most likely candidate. –Anthony Toto

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