Reviews, Interviews, and Podcasts concerning the best Extreme Metal music

Anthrax – The Sound of White Noise

When I was thinking about what reviews I would do for Harsh Vocals, I thought I would focus on albums that may have not have gotten the attention they deserved and that new(ish) metal heads can go back and check out. That will still be my focus but I thought i would also shine a light on some albums that get a LOT more hate than they truly deserve. Most of the time, this hate is based on the artist in question changing up their sound or trying something new and the fans not liking the new direction. I will submit right now if these albums were strictly judged only on the merits of the songs provided instead of preconceived notions on what fans believed the albums “SHOULD” have been, the albums would not get the hate that they do. My first foray into this idea is the 1993 album from Anthrax, “The Sound of White Noise”. 

To say this album was a significant shift in approach and overall sound would be a rather sizable understatement. Going from the more pronounced and aggressively heavy Thrash Metal sound the band had been known for, to a hybrid of a groove oriented and modern metal sound of the time was quite a change. Additionally, the change in vocalists from Joey Belladonna to John Bush added to this overall feel of disappointment from the fans. I also love Joey as a vocalist and believe he is perfect for what Anthrax does but if we are being 100% honest here, John Bush IS simply a better singer overall in his range and the power in his voice. Admittedly, all of this was a lot for fans of the band to wrap their heads around. That being said, if you look at this album completely objectively without comparing it to their previous albums you will come to the realization that this album does a great job of showcasing a fantastic balance between the very aggressive riffs the band is known for with some intricate songwriting and the cherry on top of Bush’s powerful vocal delivery. This all created a unique blend that really stands out in the band’s overall discography.

One stellar aspect of the album is the diverse range of songs on display throughout the entire runtime of the album. The aggressive opening track “Potters Field” to the more mellow and introspective “Black Lodge”. There is a lot of variety on display here. This is easily the band’s most experimental album with the inclusion of some moments of alternative metal and rock. This is probably the biggest issue that a lot of fans have with it. I really believe this album could very well be the album the band put the most amount of work into simply from the effort of experimentation and trying to evolve the sound without alienating the existing fans and trying to bring new fans into the fold. It really is one hell of a tightrope to walk. Oddly enough, I remember clearly the album garnering quite a bit of critical acclaim even though more than a few fans were not exactly thrilled with the new direction.

I honestly believe if you listen to this album without the expectations that come with a band like Anthrax, you will find the album is actually pretty good. Is it on par with the classic masterpieces the band released previously? Of course not, but the amount of hate this album gets is certainly not justified either. If you haven’t listened to this album in a while, give it a spin, you may come out of the experience with a new appreciation for it and if not, well, I tried…:)

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