Guest Post by Mark Crook
You like “metal” music”?! Really?! But you have short gray hair, wear glasses, you’re middle-aged, you wear a suit, work a corporate job, no tattoos, drink good wine… no way!!
I’ve heard this far too often and I’m sure many of you have as well. According to society, we should’ve outgrown this music by our late twenties and calmed down listening to nothing heavier than Tom Petty (I like Tom Petty, by the way, but everything has its place).
I don’t care what anyone says… a gym can be playing rock or hip hop or rap and when you change it to metal, the room changes… the energy, the aggression, the focus all picks up.
As far back as I can remember, I was the guy that brought the heavy music… bringing metal to wrestling practice or to the locker room before Saturday football games. And even as a kid, I could sense the mood change in the room and guys dial it in a bit.
Sure there will be those that state they don’t need or you shouldn’t need aggressive music to get amped up. And I could agree with that… I could train in absolute silence and still be just as focused. But I just love getting ready for a heavy triple or single as Dimebag is blasting as loud as the speakers in Renegade Gym will allow.
Now for us metalheads, we know there are many genres of metal and I don’t discriminate. I just love a good heavy riff, wherever I can find it. But if I had to choose certain genres or an era, I’m from the school of thrash, new wave of British heavy metal, 70’s/ early 80’s era metal.
So today, I’m going to offer my opinion on the Top 10 Songs To Train To from a member of the “Big 4”— ANTHRAX. I chose Anthrax as my first contribution as my brother, Paul Crook, played lead guitar for Anthrax for 5 years.
I was a fan of Anthrax before that but certainly a bigger fan after my brother played with them (he also engineered/ produced an album/ singles, etc.). I’ve been to many of their shows, got to know the guys in the band and needless to say, they’ve written some incredible music over the years. You also won’t find many bands greater than Anthrax when it comes to performing live.
What I did was include songs that may not necessarily be my favorite Anthrax songs (though many are) but are songs that amp me up in the gym. For example, I love the “Persistence of Time” album and I think it has some of the heaviest, crunchiest Anthrax songs and riffs ever but they are darker, angrier songs vs. getting my heart rate up and making me want to run through a wall. I also tried to list at least one song from various Anthrax eras.
So here we go, in no particular order:
Among the Living:
Probably my favorite Anthrax “training” song because of the first minute or so. One of the best Anthrax riffs ever. I think the reason I also like this so much is the live version and how crazy the crowd goes during that period before the first verse. Just one big room of heads banging– the band and crowd in unison with pits forming all over. Also, when my brother was with them, they filmed a pay-per-view concert and the footage/ edit during the first minute of this song was amazing… as heavy as it gets. So whenever I hear this song, I recall either being in the crowd, looking at the crowd from the side of the stage or recalling that video footage.
Caught In A Mosh:
Strum…Chunk Chunk, Strum… Chunk Chunk followed by another one of their classic opening riffs ending with that crazy Charlie fill. A frantic song with the patented breakdown mosh mid song.
Random Acts of Senseless Violence:
From the very underrated Stomp 442 album, I think this song has a great, aggressive riff. It also is a song that features my brother on lead. A little inside tidbit… because of the song’s theme and tone, Charlie asked my brother to write a solo that was violent sounding, “like someone stabbing someone”. I think my brother pulled it off.
Room for One More:
This was the first song I heard when “Sound Of White Noise” was released. I remember sitting in the car with a few friends as we cranked this. I wasn’t sure how to take it. It certainly wasn’t the Anthrax I was used to listening to. But I grew to really love this song… great riff, great chorus and is amazing live. Bush at his best.
I Am The Law:
Not a fast paced, crazy song but this is one song, of many, where I just really enjoy Scott’s guitar tone and his patented crunch rhythm playing style.
Bring The Noise:
Nothing really heavy or special about the riff but it has Chuck D. ‘Nuff said.
Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t:
Great song, great riff. I like this new album and the direction they are going in. Joey’s voice still in top form after all these years. Will be interesting to see how they will follow this up… if Rob Caggiano will produce the album even though he recently quit as lead guitar player. Speaking of Rob, even though Rob replaced my brother as lead guitar player, they were great friends then, remain great friends, are fans of each other’s playing and I am a fan of Rob’s playing as well– should receive much more recognition in the metal world.
A Skeleton In The Closet:
Classic thrash style, another of the great Anthrax riffs and the tempo of the song keeps you up.
Brutal from start to finish- doesn’t take a breath.
Discharge, Madhouse, Crush, Phantom Lord (Metallica cover/ Paul Crook guitar). Metal Thrashing Mad (so I could include a Turbin era song)
So there you have it… the Top 10 Anthrax Songs To Train To. Look forward to Top 10’s from other old school metal bands in the future. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my selections or any cool memories or experiences of an Anthrax gig. And if you’re a fan of my brother, thank you!
PS. Catch Anthrax on their U.S. headlining Metal Alliance Tour (with Exodus) currently underway. Tickets can be purchased on the band’s site- www.Anthrax.com. This is a show worth seeing!
If you go, wear your Renegade t-shirt and send us the pic to post up on the Renegade Facebook page.