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State Of Euphoria

Megaforce / Island (1988)
Rating: 10/10

This completes the releases this year from the so-called ‘Big Four’ (that’s Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax to the uninitiated), and in my opinion the best has been saved for last.

More instant than Among The Living, State Of Euphoria is without a doubt Anthrax’s finest work to date. No long drawn out marathons here, just hard hitting powerful slices of metal with that unmistakable Anthrax sound, and even the production can be commended this time around.

From the catchy rifferama of the opening song, ‘Be All, End All’, the listener really is dragged into a state of euphoria from which there is no way out. ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’ and the current single ‘Make Me Laugh’ are all sharp and to the point both musically and lyrically, with the latter reminding me a little of Metal Church with its crunching riffs.

‘Antisocial’ is a strong studio cover of the Trust song stamped with that distinctive Anthrax sound, while side one’s closer ‘Who Cares Wins’ winds up slowly from a quiet intro into a frantic dash to the end.

Side two is even better. The powerful ‘Now It’s Dark’, the excellent ‘Schism’, with its onslaught of razor sharp riffing, and the pounding of ‘Misery Loves Company’ all shine through with flying colours. The latter is a prime example of the longer instrumental breaks that Anthrax are now injecting into their songs, which allows guitarist Dan Spitz more opportunities in the soloing department; all for the better in my opinion.

‘13’ is a short mayhemic instrumental blur which in all honesty I find a complete waste of time, but the last song on the album, ‘Finale’, is possibly Anthrax’s best ever. A real powerhouse of a track, with the occasional injection of thrash, and a superb vocal performance from Joey Belladonna. ‘Finale’ offers a fitting climax to the year’s best release so far. Ignore all the hype and the image; just buy, listen and enjoy.

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 31 (1988)