Anthrax has a new record coming out (February 26th) called For All Kings. Anthrax is in a good place right now. So good it’s easy to forget it wasn’t that long ago that they were a band in limbo. Frankie left to join Helmet. Then rejoined along with Danny Spitz and Joey Belladonna for a reunion of the “classic lineup” for the 20th anniversary of Among The Living and do one of those nauseating “Play the entire album” tours that were en vogue. After which we got a “No I didn’t.” “Yes you did.” back and forth between Joey and Scott regarding whether or not he said he agreed to stick around and do a record with them. After being spurned by Joey, John Bush did the same confirming that having your ex who replaced your ex replace that ex after they dumped you for that ex isn’t the most enticing proposition.
Bring in Dan Nelson! A man who’s contribution to the band makes me wonder if he even merits me mentioning his name. But they started working on the music and recording the album that would become Worship Music with him, playing some of the tracks live at least once. Then it got weird. The band canceled a tour saying Dan was sick. Dan countered with he was feeling super kick ass but that the band fired him for no reason. I’m still not sure what to make of that whole mess but this left the band with a finished record with an unknown singer who was no longer in the band. Meaning in the least they once again needed a singer.
So John filled in for a couple of shows before agreeing to re-record vocals for the record Dan Nelson sang on. Then he changed his mind and didn’t want anything to do with Anthrax anymore. Without a singer the first of the Big Four shows started happening and apparently that was historic enough for Joey to come in at least for those shows. Which healed the wounds enough to, at least, say “Look. I said some things. You said some things. Why don’t we just agree we both were wrong and kick some ass again?” (In my head that’s how the conversation between Scott and Joey went) and BAM! Joey’s back! When they first brought John Bush in 1992 to replace Joey it made sense. Bringing Joey back for Worship Music also made sense.
FINALLY Worship Music was released. And it was smoking. Their strongest record since The Sound Of White Noise and they seemingly haven’t looked back. Worship Music was so strong the thought of its follow-up, For All Kings (drops February 26), sent the hairs on my body into icy horripilation (look it up). But as a self-described expert on music-induced erections, my excitement for this record will not affect my honesty. To the record!
Here’s the thing. It’s damn good. Just not Worship Music good. I will say that those who didn’t care for Worship Music (what is wrong with you?) may actually like this record better. I don’t like it as much but I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. It picks up right where Worship Music left off. From the opening notes of “You Gotta Believe” to whatever ends up being the last song (I’ve seen track sequences that are different from the advance I got), it’s a fresh blast of thrash metal. Unless I’m The Man is how you identify with Anthrax this is a great ‘thrax’ record. Produced by Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Adrenaline Mob, the Donnas) means it’s going to have drums that make your face hurt. New addition on lead guitar John Donais from Shadows Fall is a good fit, but I did find myself missing Rob Caggiano a bit. And while Charlie misses shows as he deals with what seems to be a half-decade struggle with tendinitis I feel for us fans. After Dave Lombardo he may be the most important drummer in thrash. And he brings it on this.
Highlights of this record are “You Gotta Believe”, “Monster In The End”, “For All Kings”, “Breathing Lightning”, and “Blood Eagle Wings”. But the rest of the record isn’t far behind. The band sounds complete. They sound like this is where they belong. They sound like Anthrax.
This record leaves Metallica as the only Big Four band not to release a record in the last 6 months. And whenever they release whatever they will probably sell more but the bar has been set pretty high with the releases of Slayer, Megadeth and now Anthrax.
Buy this record!