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ANTHRAX- Soldiers of Metal, b/w Howling Furies 7″ (Megaforce Records, USA, 1983)

A couple of months before Megaforce released ANTHRAX “Fistful of Metal” LP, this limited edition 7″ single came out. I had never heard of ANTHRAX before the LP though. I bought it in the winter of 83, the winter that also brought us the first MEtallica, Slayer, Hawaii and other records that were so incredibly amazing and completely new in their heavyness. I thought Anthrax was a cool name (band names with an x were always cool with L.A.’s X being the ultimate “x in a name” band) and they had a great logo you could easily put on your denim and it would look kinda aggressive. And the LP cover, I mean, dude – tough shit! I had to buy it, it was inevitable.
In 1986, I personally met Dan Lilker (by the time, he had left Anthrax and founded Nuclear Assault, a nice Thrash Metal band with a formidable demo) and that was a bit weird. Not only did he keep his records in his parents living room cupboard (he still lived at his parents) – when he took the other boys & me out for dinner later the evening, he brought us to a White Castle somewhere in New Jersey. I vaguely remember loads of rednecks, gals with died hair and fake tits and cheap ass country songs. Very uncomfortable: We with our long (not died) hair and Septic Death and Venom T-Shirts and all these truck drivers giving us dirty looks. It took some guts to go on the toilet and empty yours.
A week later, when we were somewhere down in Florida, we met these super cool guys from a local Hardcore band named CORE OF RESISTANCE (totally unknown band – will rip the tapes one day. Raging stuff in the vein of STARK RAVING MAD). We hung out, played lots of Thrash records and I told them about Dan Lilker and White Castle. They laughed out loud and said that these restaurants were the number one redneck breeding spot in the USA and the song “White Hassle” by ADRENALIN O.D. was just about those places. Who knows, we might have spent an hour in the exact same White Hassle up there in NJ that inspired A.O.D. to write their great song.

What I especially like on this record is the thing I’ve written so much about in this blog: Check out the song “Howling Furies” on this 7″ and compare it with the version on the “Fistful of Metal” LP. In between the two recording sessions, within only a few months, something had happened in the international Metal scene. On this 7″, the song sounds like it’s coming from a NWOBHM band, with quite a bit of JUDAS PRIEST thrown in. On the LP, the same song sounds remarkably more “modern”. Maybe it’s only me who hears that (or believes he hears it).
The LP version is great – in fact, the LP is one of the most important records of the first half of the 80s, for both Metal and Hardcore, though it often gets overlooked a bit. But I like this single version even more. Both songs have a lot more punch than the LP and oddly enough, this 7″ was produced by Ross the Boss from MANOWAR. And MANOWAR do have a lot of punch, man! They even have fur boots!

Soldiers of Metal.mp3

This goes out to Dave and Pär. To Dave because he gave me a new pair of ears for Judas Priest’s “Unleashed in the East” LP (I had never heard before this LP the way he explained it to me). To Pär because he asked for some Metal and as a blogger, you can’t just ignore one of the most devoted commentators, can you.