Anthrax – Serfs Out (Grow Your Own Records) – Bones are growing old, and not just the bones of Mrs Jones, we are all still in this together right? Anthrax are bleak, they always have been, their observations, their reflections, their anger, their bite, but there has always something positive to be found in an Anthrax album, lots of positives actually, it is always there and especially so this time. It almost perversely heart-warming to have them blasting it all out even if they are telling how it really is. And they are still blasting after all these years, that anger as an energy, that bite and bile, that thrash and spit, that slash of proper thrashing hardcore punk rock guitar, those gravel-throated vocals, Anthrax aren’t ready to take it east quite yet. Questions, accusations, the blindness of the masses and the clowns they (we?) follow, the shit that’s swallowed. You have to love Anthrax, they’re growing old disgracefully, they’re still full of fight, you can’t keep ’em down. Serfs Out sounds and feels bleaker than ever, but then look what we’ve collectively gone through over the last half a dozen years! Look at our so called leaders, the the Little Englander xenophobic poison of Brexit, the ripping apart of culture, the rents going up on our meeting places, the “all lives matter” lot, all of it touched on here on this latest beautifully defiant album. These are bleak times, dead air, dead air, dead air while the rich fat cats sit pretty in the social cleansing, out with the old in with the new, just for the few. we am making this sound rather bleak aren’t we, I’m not making this sound like a good listen, but that’s the thing, though it all Anthrax and their defiant spirit shine though, not all hope is gone, there are still people doing it the right way, saying it but with a positive slant, through adversity comes great art, Serfs Out is positive, it is uplifting, it is heart-warming, Anthrax have always been a fine band, an important band, a vital part of of the hardcore punk rock underground, right here, right now, here in 2022, they feel more so than ever, who’d have thought it?
And yeah, I admit, it was a social media posting a day or so ago, a posting about a review of this latest Anthrax album, a review via the pages of Suspect Device – how good is it to see Suspect Device is still functioning, we’re not the only survivors – it was only a post on a social media feed that those damn algorithms for once allowed us to see that brought our attention to the fact that we’d missed a new Anthrax album. Surfs Out came out in late November last year – hey, don’t blame us, better late than never, gone are the days of information in the post, soaped stamps and gloriously smudged photocopied zines at gigs warning of these things, distro lists telling us all. I though I followed Anthrax of the book of faces but hey, that doesn’t mean we get to see anything they post, I really do detest how Facebook has become the frontline in terms of communication and that we’re forced to use it everyday but then if that posting about the Suspect Device review hadn’t passed by then this review (that I will no doubt share on Facebook in a moment) would not be here.
There are many things to like about Anthrax, one of those things is that they never ever fall into the trap of making what becomes just another Anthrax album, they never just dial it in, it always feels like it matters, like they want to challenge themselves as much as challenge anyone else. Not that this Surfs Out is radically different, not that they’ve gone all experimental, this is still warm-hearted thrashing growling hardcore anarcho punk rock, they still bang it out, it still roars, it feels a little more reflective this time though, it reflects where we are, where they are, when this country is, where the almost broken spirit is, it mirrors what’s out there and what’s happening out there right now, on the whole, isn’t good! The hand of friendship little more than a token, every racist bigot awoken, the Etonians have spoken.
Anthrax matter, nice years on from the previous one, this album matters, does it matter that we’re late with the news? Yeah, a little, but hey, better late then never. Surfs Out is an excellent album, Anthrax are still on good form, we have no right to expect this from them but somehow we knew we could expect all of this from the now frankly ageing band, this is a heart-warming slice of proper punk rock and right now, with everything that’s happening, that feels good. (sw)
Find all the details on Bandcamp
P.S I do believe this, after many many years, if the first piece about the band via the various forms of Organ, of which there have been many, that doesn’t mention the fact that this is the British Anthrax and not the U.S thrash metal band, I’m sure you all know that but hey, just in case.