This EP first came out in 1985, the year after Anthrax’s first album, Fistful Of Metal. It was the first release to feature Joey Belladonna, who would be the band’s lead singer through its most successful years, on vocals. As such, it serves kind of as a reboot for the band, a chance to set themselves on a new course without all the pressure of an entirely new album full of new material while also working a new singer into the mix.
And new material is surely in short supply here. The five tracks on the original 1985 release really only have one song you can’t get elsewhere in some form or another. There are two re-recordings of songs from the first album (“Metal Thrashing Mad” and “Panic”), this time with Belladonna singing. (They’re listed as “live” tracks, but I think that means they were played live in the studio instead of being tracked individually.) There’s also a preview of “Armed And Dangerous,” which would appear on Spreading The Disease with a different mix, a faithful, but slightly faster and metal-er cover of Sex Pistol’s “God Save The Queen,” and finally, “Raise Hell,” which is the only track that I think is here and only here. And even then Fistful‘s lead singer, Neil Turbin, still has writing credits.
In 1992 the expanded re-release included both sides of the band’s first single…the original versions, with Turbin on vocals. The tracks are “Soldiers Of Metal” and “Howling Furies,” both of which were re-recorded for Fistful Of Metal.
That’s a really long way of saying there are seven tracks here, only one of which is a song that appears here and only here, and that’s the worst song of them all. Everything’s somewhere between good and really good, it just feels like the band is kind of running in place. Still, if this is what the band needed to do to make sure Spreading The Disease, which would come out later this same year, would be as good as it was, this fine but wanting release was more than worth it.