ANTHRAX – For All Kings
OUT – February 26th
ANTHRAX Line up:
Joey Belladonna| vocals
Scott Ian | rythym guitar
Frank Bello | bass
Charlie Benante| drums
Jonathan Donais | guitar
Anthrax has been a name synonymous with heavy metal for the past four decades. A member of the Big 4 of thrash, a staple of music festivals worldwide and after a five year gap between albums, now ready to unleash the brand new record For All Kings, this February 26th via Nuclear Blast Records.
For All Kings immediately inspires images of all things grandiose. It’s big in every way imaginable. For starters the artwork, by Alex Ross, his third collaboration with the band, sets the scene. With band members depicted in mammoth statues beckoning the listener inside. The album itself begins with an almost ‘Game of Thrones’ type instrumental enticing the audience, the atmospherics hauntingly inching towards the first track, ‘You Gotta Believe’. The riffs, the hooks, the production, the delivery, front man, Belladonna’s incredible vocal performance, it all sounds huge…..and that’s just track one! The beginning is something to play loud…..and I mean annoy the shit out of your neighbourhood loud!
Where 2011’s Worship Music was an emphatic return for the ‘80s version of Anthrax with Joey Belladonna taking back the reigns of vocalist, For All Kings is a stout exclamation mark. There will no doubt be John Bush v Belladonna arguments before or after the album’s release, heck, even I can’t hide from being a massive John Bush fan, however there can be no denying the form of Belladonna on these last two albums, in particular For All Kings. He has delivered in spades.
When the album calls for melody, ‘Monsters at the End’, ‘Suzerain’ and the incredible, ‘Breathing Lightning’, Belladonna soars, when the harder egded Anthrax thrashier tracks come in such as opener, ‘You Gotta Believe’ or the finishing ‘Zero Tolerance’, Belladonna crushes. All the while the guitar work from Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais on guitars, the latter an ex-Shadows Fall axeman slay on this album. Some great hooks to reimagine some moments from State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time, a prime example the powerful track ‘Evil Twins’. There’s even a nod to Bush vocalised albums with Sound of White Noise, as tracks such as ‘You Gotta Believe’ and ‘Defend Avenge’ that would not of looked out of place on that ‘90s classic.
The mix between knowing when to transcend into lighter moments and then destroy amps sits succinctly on this record. The brooding beginnings and then the outro to ‘Breathing Lightning’ and the melodic title track two shining examples. The epic ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ breathes in and out, often climaxing to heavier tones but seeping back to a story telling moment, both lyrically and with music. The combination of all out attack and melody within For All Kings as a whole is quite stunning.
Worship Music was great, in fact it was downright killer and with For All Kings the band have left nothing in the tank, smashing out an equally as good an album. I’ll forget Anthrax’s cover album Anthems ever occurred, For All Kings is truly an awesome start to 2016. Out February 26th, we’ve got an early contender for album of the year!
|2||– You Gotta Believe||6:00|
|3||– Monster At The End||3:56|
|4||– For All Kings||5:01|
|5||– Breathing Lightning||5:37|
|6||– Breathing Out||0:55|
|8||– Evil Twin||4:39|
|9||– Blood Eagle Wings||7:55|
|10||– Defend Avenge||5:13|
|11||– All Of Them Thieves||5:16|
|12||– This Battle Chose Us||4:54|
|13||– Zero Tolerance|