Anthrax, Ashley MacIsaac, Atomic Fireballs

Sharp-eyed readers will notice I’ve begun numbering the albums, to accompany the review post numbers (and yes I went back and did yesterday’s post too). I thought it might be fun to keep track this year and see how many I manage to do. If I keep a pace of 5 per day, that’s over 1800 records! Ha, we’ll see about that.

But rest assured, I am playing all of these albums. True, some that I already know well I can do quicker scans to refresh my memory, but new-to-me records get the full spin. It’s a beautiful life to have so much music so easily accessible! The real work lies in trying to encapsulate a full record in a paragraph – the songs, the production, my impressions… I find myself writing them up full and then culling for the best bits. But I will prevail on this mission…

Anthrax – Among The Living

The first three tracks I already knew, and they’re sheer brilliance. The rest is just as good. Seriously, I didn’t hear a song here that was even close to mediocre. To my ears, this is high energy, riff-heavy full-throttle drumming thrash metal (sometimes by way of punk) fun. I had such a blast spinning this restless slice of majesty!

Anthrax – Persistence Of Time

This is a solid album. I loved the riffs and I believe the structural integrity is there. I liked the roomier bottom end sound. A highlight for me was the instrumental Intro To Reality going straight into Belly Of The Beast. Maybe an inspiration for Mastodon? I can hear it in there. There’s even a cover of Joe Jackson’s Got The Time, which was good fun. This is a very different record from Among The Living, and it’s that difference that makes it very impressive indeed. Well done.

Ashley MacIsaac – Hi How Are You Today?

Controversial fiddler (it was fun typing that!) hits it big by combining east coast celtic roots and pop-rock. This hit Canada just right in the mid-90s. You’ll know Sleepy Maggie, and probably others if you were anywhere near this CD at the time. I give him a cool cred nod for his cover of Bob Snider’s What An Idiot He Is. Saw him on this tour – he had a cold and blew his nose on the crowd (nice one, Ashley). Still a very listenable record in 2015.

Ashley MacIsaac – Fine Thank You Very Much

Ashley wasted no time putting out this aptly-titled follow-up to his big smash record (see above). But instead of trying (successfully or not) to recapture the magic of that release, he throws a change-up and drops an excellent disc of traditional music. These are jigs, reels, airs, strathspeys, clogs… often together in the same song. It’s a great listen and very well done.

Atomic Fireballs – Torch This Place

This is another of my late-90s swing revival favourites. The growly vocals of John Bunkley are fun, and I really dig this band’s jump blues style! You might know their fun cover of David Bowie’s Magic Dance (from Labyrinth), here called The Man With The Hex, and maybe Spanish Fly, but the whole record is a great big swingin’ dance party!

10 thoughts on “Anthrax, Ashley MacIsaac, Atomic Fireballs

  1. stephen1001 says:

    Among the living’s on the 1001 – and I was a big fan!
    Nice call on the numbering as you go, my 2015 prediction: you don’t quite keep up the 1800/year pace but instead end Dec. 31 at a very respectable 1001!


    1. keepsmealive says:

      ATL was a great listen. I loved the energy of it.

      The numbering idea came to me when I realized it was too much of a pain in the ass putting all the album art in. I’m not lazy, just arrived at the notion I could better be spending time writing instead of mucking with all of that!

      If I hit 1001 I’ll be really surprised. Fingers crossed!


  2. deKE says:

    Hmmmm well….Anthrax I always had a hard time getting into and I dunno why! I bought State Of Euphoria back in 88 and that is the only release of there’s I have owned! I liked there singles like Indians/Got the time etc but for some reason these guys would,not click for me! My brother did buy the First one they did with John Bush and that one was good but crazy though…..dunno why?!


    1. keepsmealive says:

      I get that. The vocals ain’t exactly amazing (though they do decent service to the music), and thrash ain’t for everybody. But sometimes albums like these are the only things that can scratch that itch for mayhem, you know? Give ‘er!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mikeladano says:

    Ashley MacIsaac…what a talented guy. I loved his stuff, both traditional and electronic…and then he blew it. Did some awful interviews talking about how he liked being peed on and some shoddy performances…I don’t know what happened. But what great music. Those are two great albums, completely different!

    And ANTHRAX! Yeah…Persistence is my pick.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yeah, Ashley did well for a while there and then the wheels fell off. Fame can muck with people, it’s actually a tired old story retold in every musician biography, it seems.

      You like Persistence, eh? Yeah it’s a great one. Slower, heavier, bigger-sounding. But for tight, compressed and bursting at the seams thrash, I’d go for ATL, especially the second half. All the hits are up top, then they really get down to it!


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yes, ANTHRAX! These were great albums (very different, but I liked that), and one called State Of Euphoria seems aptly-named if it’s as good or better than these! Thanks for the recommend, adding to list.


      1. Heavy Metal Overload says:

        It’s a funny one. People don’t rate it as high as the others but I really like it. And its the album that I remember everyone my age getting into first so it’s got that going for it too! And Spreading the Disease is awesome as well ! Not as Thrashy but a brilliant Metal album anyway. Belladonna sang his ass off on that one.


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