The end of Roadrunner. It's sad, but that's what this compilation stands as in my eyes. As well, it serves as a reminder to those of us who thrashed through the glory days that were the early/mid 90s-Roadrunner. Of course, it's not the literal end of the label, but as far as any true thrasher is concerned, that label left us for dead long ago. "Anthology" serves not only as a deserving monument to one of Death Metal's founding acts, but also as the proverbial final nail in Roadrunner's coffin.
At first glance, "Anthology" may conjure images of 92's "The End Complete". Marschall, who was responsible for that album's barren and grim cover work, makes a triumphant return to the easel, and manages to capture that same dark, end-of-the-world spirit of days gone by. It's nice to see the effort being put forth into this from the instant you pick it up.
As for the general layout and filling of the booklet… well, a three page collage of photos spanning their tenure just doesn't cut it on it's own. I mean, it's cool that they're in there, but shit. Give us a biography, a discography, a something-ography for fuck's sake. This band was a corner stone for many of us for close to a decade - I think they've earned a bit more attention.
That brings us to the songs themselves. Great picks and arrangement primarily by Donald Tardy, OBITUARY's life-long skinsman. What a great idea it was starting this one off with demo-track "Find The Arise"; showcasing the band while in their pre-Roadrunner embryonic state as XECUTIONER back in Nineteen-Eighty-fucking-Six!! From there on, it's a pretty basic selection of songs in chronological order. That is, until we get to track 19, "Buried Alive". This little number was a left-over from the "World Demise"-era, and features a bit (I stress the term 'bit' as in, you may get an idea, sort of, of how John Tardy really sounds for like 2 seconds) of clean vocals, and even some clean guitars! While it's not the greatest OBITUARY-song ever written, it sure was an interesting surprise for this long time fan. Track 20 they could have left out. An electro-mixed version of "Boiling Point" takes up the rear to finish this one off. A more suitable finish would have been "Back From The Dead" (which appears at no. 18). The absence of that song would have left a slot open perhaps for one of my favorite songs that were left out ("Body Bag", "Solid State", "Killing Time", etc.), but hey, you can't please everyone. In addition to ALL of the classicks, there are several other great tunes thrown in for good measure.
But, the fact remains that when it comes to "Best Of"-compilations, sometimes the songs that appear on them simply aren't enough. That may sound shallow, but when you own all of the albums already, what you're really looking to find is something of historical value and content.