Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker. The group was considered one of the leaders of the thrash metal scene during the 1980s and is one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands with Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer; Anthrax is the only one of the four from the East Coast. As of April 2017, the band has released 11 studio albums, several other albums, and 26 singles, including collaborating on a single with American hip hop group Public Enemy. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Anthrax sold 2.5 million records in the United States from 1991 to 2004, with worldwide sales of 10 million…
The trio of Craig Handy (on tenor and soprano), bassist Charles Fambrough, and drummer Ralph Peterson lives up to its potential during a wide-ranging set. The improvisations are explorative yet melodic and logical, while the interplay between these talented players is consistently impressive. Together they explore tributes to Clifford Jordan and George Adams and at times hint at Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and even Grover Washington, Jr.. Pianist David Kikoski is heard on four selections, but his presence is actually unnecessary. Handy's unaccompanied solo on "West Bank: Beyond the Berlin Wall" is a highlight of this recommended disc.
A sketchy and underfocused debut, Rocka Rolla nonetheless begins to delineate the musical territory Judas Priest would explore over the remainder of the decade: frighteningly dark in its effect, tight in its grooves, and capable of expanding to epic song lengths. On the other hand, Rocka Rolla is also murkier, less precise and powerful in its riff attack, and more blues-based; the stylistic debts to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple are obvious at this juncture, although they would become much less apparent on subsequent releases. The compositions alternate between short songs and extended suites; some are decent, but overall they don't establish a real direction and tend to plod aimlessly in many of the longer pieces. Mostly a curiosity for hardcore fans, Rocka Rolla definitely hints at Judas Priest's potential and originality, but doesn't always suggest the quantum leap in vision that would occur with their very next record.
The Nashville Sessions was a project begun for Poppy in the early '70s, but languished in the vaults for over 20 years, finally being completed and released in the early '90s, and remains one of Van Zandt's most interesting and mysterious records. When Poppy Records went bankrupt in 1973, it left Townes Van Zandt with two unreleased albums. One was Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas, which was released by Tomato, Poppy's successor, in 1977. The other was a studio recording that languished for 20 years until being issued by Rhino/Tomato in 1993 under the title The Nashville Sessions.