Anthrax - Persistence of Time (1990)Release ID: 1533

Anthrax - Persistence of Time (1990) Cover
Sonny Sonny / February 26, 2021 / Comments 0 / 1

I've recently been extensively revisiting Anthrax's earlier stuff and whilst Spreading The Disease and Among The Living still retain their classic status for me, I have had a huge about-face with the subsequent two albums, State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time. I was originally much better disposed towards State of Euphoria with it's catchier choruses and less so to PoT's denser material. However, I feel time hasn't been too kind to SoE, whereas Persistence of Time has aged much better. Neither are as good as the previous two albums and I feel the main reason for this is the fact that there are less by way of backing vocals (particularly Scott Ian) that helped to beef up Joey Belladonna's performances on those earlier releases. Joey is a perfectly fine singer, but lacks the  vocal presence to carry off such aggressive thrash in isolation, sounding a little weak as a result.

SoE comes across as a bit throwaway now and, to be honest, in places a little silly, fuelled I'm sure by the "success" of I'm the Man. PoT, however, whilst not having as many great songs as Among the Living is much more akin to the 1987 classic and songs like Blood and Gridlock wouldn't feel out of place next to tracks like A Skeleton in the Closet and Imitation of Life. There is some filler and I think it peaks with Gridlock - Intro to Reality, H8 Red and One Man Stands failing to match the preceding highs and sounding a bit vanilla. It does go out strong with Discharge, but overall the latter half is ordinary.

It is a more mature-sounding album than State of Euphoria, but just doesn't have enough killer tracks to justify higher ratings. Would have been much better if they had trimmed the length to about 40 minutes and lost some of that Side B filler.

Ben Ben / March 26, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

Anthrax had some great albums in the 80s with Among the Living and Spreading the Disease of particular note. But then they released State of Euphoria, which was a disappointment to many. To follow that album up, the band needed to try to write a more consistent release, and possibly let go of some of the silliness that had started to creep into their style. Persistence of Time is the album they needed to make and it's a thoroughly enjoyable album throughout.

Tracks such as Time, Blood, Keep it in the Family, Gridlock, Intro to Reality, Belly of the Beast and Discharge are all good, solid Anthrax tracks. The main problem here is that there are simply no 5-star tracks. No tracks that stand out as classics. So, while the album is consistently entertaining and has no real failures, it just doesn't force me to come back and listen to it again. Still, it's another 4-star album from Anthrax that could have been higher with a little more spunk.

Daniel Daniel / August 13, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

My revisit to New York thrash metal legends Anthrax’s 1988 fourth album “State of Euphoria” a couple of weeks ago left me feeling a little surprised to be honest. That album was my entry point with Anthrax back in 1989 & has subsequently seen me maintaining some fairly significant feelings of nostalgia over the years but this revisit saw reality finally setting in as I discovered that “State of Euphoria” is not everything I’d convinced myself it was. 1985’s “Spreading The Disease” (my personal favourite) & 1987’s “Among The Living” were both undeniable classics but the follow-up saw Anthrax rushing things a bit with the result being that it sounds a little undercooked in comparison. The song-writing & hooks aren’t as strong as we have a right to expect from such an esteemed member of the Big Four with the album relying too heavily on singalong choruses to win their fanbase over. This mission was only partially successful & it resulted in “State of Euphoria” coming across as a decent but inessential inclusion in Anthrax’s discography. This discovery certainly caught me off guard & left me wondering what else I may have been overstating. For that reason, I decided to follow-up with a similar revisit to Anthrax’s 1990 fifth full-length “Persistence of Time”, a release that I purchased on CD on the day of release & played to death over the next year or so.

“State of Euphoria” had seen Anthrax starting to hint at a more serious approach to their music with the lyrics to several tracks taking a much more hard-hitting thematic direction than we’d seen from the band in years gone by. The lack of substance & attention to detail in some of the song-writing & chorus hooks did very little to take advantage of it though which was part of the reason that the album has proven to be less popular than it’s more highly regarded older siblings. “Persistence of Time” sees Anthrax rectifying that failing with a darker & more mature sounding record than we’d heard from the band to the time. The subject matter is confronting & in your face while the song-writing is more developed & less basic. In fact, there’s a level of consistency to “Persistence of Time” that greatly exceeds that of its predecessor with only the very popular Joe Jackson cover version “Got The Time” failing to get me fully engaged. The rest of the tracklisting is rock-solid though &, unlike “State of Euphoria”, we actually get a few genuine Anthrax classics here this time (see “Time”, “Belly Of The Beast”, “One Man Stands” &, to a slightly lesser extent, “Keep It In The Family”).

Perhaps one the reasons that “Persistence of Time” isn’t as highly praised as Anthrax’s mid-80’s classics is the tempo as the band don’t often hit top speed, instead opting for chunky mid-paced chuggers quite often. In saying that though, there’s no hint at moving away from thrash just yet as Scott Ian’s devastating rhythm guitar performance never veers far away from the thrash metal model. Ian’s thick guitar tone doesn’t do him any harm either & shows him to be one of the premier exponents of his craft so I’d have to suggest that these two elements make the album noticeably more appealing than it might otherwise have been. The other major improvement is in the song-writing as it’s clear that Joey Belladonna & co. had worked long & hard on making sure that every transition & drum roll were perfectly placed & executed. Drummer Charlie Benante & lead guitarist Dan Spitz are both in awesome form on this record too which makes it really hard for anyone to question Anthrax’s Big Four credentials in my opinion.

If you only like Anthrax for their silly nature & fast, thrashy moshpit numbers then “Persistence of Time” is possibly not the album for you. If you’re looking for something a little less obvious & with a touch more depth then it might just be in your ball park though. Has nostalgia seen me overrating this record? I actually don’t think so. I think I just have a penchant for a darker & less obvious style of thrash than Anthrax have pushed at times & can appreciate all of the hard work they’ve put into the record. Fans of Overkill, Nuclear Assault & Metallica should not hesitate to check it out.

UnhinderedbyTalent UnhinderedbyTalent / March 18, 2019 / Comments 0 / 0

I have never really got on all that well with any Anthrax release.  Whether it is the debut, the much lauded Among The Living or their live output, I just find everything to be lacking somewhat overall.  Their best release has to be Spreading the Disease but even then the world doesn't get bathed in flames for me.  I think that fundamentally I have never enjoyed any of the vocalists over the years.  Whether it has been Turbin, Bush or Belladonna things have always felt underwhelming and decidedly weak on the vocal front.  Whether it has been to please a younger audience (or maybe just a more accessible one) I have found the output in recent years to be weak overall and lacking in any real power.

1990's Persistence of Time was by all accounts disappointing.  Two singles released from the album had been given mixed response.  The cover of Joe Jackson's Got The Time being less well received than the more anthemic In My World and this is probably the story of the album overall, a mish-mash of some good ideas and some real filler thrown in to permeate the cracks.

The album does take a while to get going, the first three tracks - despite being memorable enough - just don't really make me feel like this is a positive start to an album.  Time feels clunky and cumbersome in both structure and delivery, Blood comes off as quite immature from a songwriting perspective and likewise Keep It In The Family lacks any real bite despite seemingly trying to say a lot.

It is the aforementioned single, In My World that kicks things off proper for me.  It feels authentic and angry like a thrash metal album should do.  Seething with despair and crippled by hatred for mankind it is one of the few real gems of the many songs that Anthrax have written.  Unfortunately, the next few tracks just pass me by and without the record playing I could not recall any context of how they sounded at all.  Only Belly of the Beast provides some glimmer of well constructed thrash metal but it is not until the penultimate track One Man Stands that things get back on course, albeit fleeting before the horror of Discharge closing the album.

I hadn't quite realised just how much I disliked this record until I sat down to write this review, I even neglected to notice I owed a copy on CD which I have no recollection of picking up.  Sorry Anthrax fans, after 30 years of listening to metal I doubt much is going to change in the way of my low opinion of Anthrax.