Anthrax – State of Euphoria
Due to a back injury, I had to take a day off from this stuff while I writhed in pain every time I stood up. It’s a little better today and I’m able to leave my bed and be somewhat functional. Though I lost a day and half of work because of this shit. hopefully, I won’t lose any more work, I really can’t afford it.
Anyway, today I’m checking out Anthrax’s 1989 record ‘State of Euphoria’, though I like it, it’s one of the bands least popular records. A view shared by the band themselves.
So, the story goes, Anthrax’s previous record ‘Among the Living’ was a big success and sort of broke the band into the mainstream, at least within the metal community. Though they weren’t as big as Metallica, Anthrax’s popularity was arguably larger than the other two ‘Big Four’ thrash bands, Megadeth and Slayer, by the time 1988 rolled around. Thanks to Metallica, thrash metal was becoming more and more mainstream and major labels were looking to sign all sorts of thrash bands. Though Anthrax had already been signed to a major label for a few years at this point, they still felt the pressure to release a new record to cash in on Metallica’s success. The band claims that the record company applied tons of pressure on them, and sort of forced them to finish writing and recording ‘State of Euphoria’ to have a fall release. The result being a collection of songs the band wasn’t comfortable releasing. The record met lukewarm sales and reviews.
Now I’m not sure how true that is, but it sounds feasible. I first the record months after its release and wasn’t blown away by it. I had been listening to the band for about a year now, and really liked them. So, I was looking forward to hearing it when it came out. I don’t remember how long it took for me to finally hear it, but when I did I felt it didn’t measure up to ‘Among the Living’ or ‘Spreading the Disease’. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
That’s not to say I didn’t like it, it just wasn’t that memorable. I think I borrowed it from a friend and listened to it a few times, I might have even dubbed it, I honestly don’t remember. I seem to remember listening to it for a few months through my 8th-grade year and then never listened to it again until I bought this CD in 2010.
But a few songs did stick out for me. The opening track ‘Be All, End All’ I really liked, plus ‘Now it’s Dark’ and ‘Finale’. Those songs stuck out and I remember running around the hallways of Holland Middle school singing the chorus for ‘Now It’s Dark’. That very well could be because the word ‘fucking’ was in one of the lines. But like I said it didn’t leave enough of an impression on me as a kid. It would really be another 20 years before I developed more of an appreciation of this record. And though it’s not my favorite Anthrax record, it’s not my least favorite either.
But it was on the ‘State of Euphoria’ tour where I got to see Anthrax live for the first time, and I must be honest, they didn’t impress me that night. It was in the late fall of 1988, Tuesday, November 29th to be exact (yeah, I still have the ticket stub). They were opening for Ozzy Osbourne on the ‘No Rest for The Wicked’ tour. Our seats were way in the back of the Auditorium, and we could barely see the band. Though I don’t remember too much as far what songs they played, I don’t think I had heard ‘State of Euphoria’ yet, so I didn’t recognize a lot of the songs. They’re sound was terrible and they sounded sloppy and lifeless. At least that’s how I remembered it. I was 14 yrs old and it was my 3rd concert ever, so what the hell did I know? But I have read and seen documentaries where the band talked about how much of a nightmare that tour the was. According to the band, Anthrax usually never got a sound check and Ozzy’s crew was rather hostile to them. So, when I thought they sounded sloppy and lifeless, it might simply be that the sound sucked, both out front and on stage. They probably couldn’t give their best performance because they couldn’t hear themselves properly on stage, which could lead to them not being as tight as they’re normally. Without hearing a recording from that night or tour I can’t say for sure.
Whatever the case was, I was left with a negative impression of the band that night and sort of passed them off as being a shitty live band for a few years until I saw them on the Clash of the Titans tour and they slayed.
Conclusion, ‘State of Euphoria’ both the record and tour wasn’t the best time for the band. But according to many, they would make their triumphant return on the next record. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but that is the general consensus among most Anthrax fans. We’ll tackle that subject tomorrow, or the next time I sit down and do this.