After thrash-metal pioneers Anthrax signed a $10-million, five- album deal with Elektra in 1992, they lost the hunger that propelled them early on. Their 1993 album, Sound of White Noise
, was aimless and lackluster, and while its follow-up, Stomp 442
, restored some of the band's former glory, it took Elektra's severing the band's contract (after just two records) to light a real fire under Anthrax's collective ass. Volume 8: The Threat Is Real!
seethes with betrayal and animosity, lashing out like a lean, rabid Doberman. This isn't just the raging Anthrax of days past. It's a revamped, reinvigorated beast with a modern, pugilistic sound. Songs like "Inside Out" and "Killing Box" combine the full-fisted groove of Pantera with the melodic roar of Aerosmith, while "Crush" and "Catharsis" deliver a power-metal assault that recalls vocalist John Bush's last band, Armored Saint. The last couple of Anthrax efforts may have been false alarms, but this time the threat is definitely real. --Jon Wiederhorn