Anthrax – For All Kings (Released 26th February)

£15.99 – LP

TV has soap operas, literature has Shakespeare, and metal – well, metal has ANTHRAX, that fire-breathing, thrash-spitting, multi-headed beast of a band. You’ll have heard of their meteoric rise in the 80s alongside the likes of Slayer, Megadeth, and a little band that once crashed on ANTHRAX’s studio floor, known as Metallica. You’ll know all about their game-changing, crossover hit with Public Enemy on “Bring The Noise“ in 1991. You’ll have listened to generations of bands that owe everything to their signature stomp and crushing riffs. Over the past 30 years, ANTHRAX has achieved sales in excess of 10-million.  The band has also received multiple Gold and Platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and, even, the Classic Rock ‚Metal Guru‘ Award.

Co-produced by Rob Caggiano and Jay Ruston (both Grammy-nominated producers),  their last (UK Top 50) album “Worship Music” was a fitting sentiment for an undeniable masterwork of skewering melodies powered by herculean riffage and a tunefulness that bespeaks ANTHRAX’s utter supremacy as songwriters. While the band continued to dominate the world‘s Arena and Festivals stages,their (2013)  8-track „Anthems‘ EP was a heartfelt  tribute to the ‚70‘s rock acts that inspired the band.Acts like Rush, Journey, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy – bands that created a trademark sound and subtly influenced many of heavy music‘s biggest acts today.

Beginning in the Autumn of 2014, ANTHRAX — Charlie Benante (drums), Scott Ian (rhythm guitar), Frank Bello (bass), Joey Belladonna (vocals), and lead guitarist Jon Donais — took their time in the studio recording their 11th studio album. The band recorded some 20 original songs, almost twice as many as they had ever brought into the studio in the past. In terms of how the new music sounds, Bello says, “The thing about ANTHRAX…we have this heavy, thrashy music and Joey‘s powerful and melodic vocals. I love heavy music, but I also love melody, so the challenge is to blend them together so they sound like ANTHRAX. I think we’ve done a really good job of that on the new album.” For proof, check out the title track, ‘Suzerain’ and, especially the soaringly infectious ‘Breathing Lightning’.

First evidence of that is the single “Evil Twin”, whose lyric video is a compelling barrage of places, victims, actions, and some of the infamous zealots and others who have perpetrated violent extremism on innocents around the world, aptly exemplifying the song’s powerful message. Musically, “Evil Twin” is a full-on thrash-metal tune that blasts off with a raging guitar riff, accelerates expeditiously and is completely uncontrollable.”Yeah, that opening riff is really evil,” laughed Benante. “We had done a lot of touring with DEATH ANGEL and EXODUS, so I was in a really thrashy state of mind when I starting writing the riffs for that song. I think along with Scott‘s lyrics and Frank’s melodies, we came up with a really great, old-school thrash metal feel.” And as Bello puts it, “it’s a song that begs to be played live.”Lyrically, the track unapologetically denounces the self-righteous religious extremists who spread their bloody terror under the guise of a Holy War.

Other highlights, of which there are many, are the frenetic, breakneck opener ‘You Gotta Believe’, the fist-punching title track and possibly one of the largest hooks the band have committed to record in ‘Breathing Lightning’.The album artwork is equally hard-hitting.Benante continues: “My idea for this one was to show this hall and these huge statues of these kings — who, of course, are us — and trying to tie in the last album cover with these creatures who are drawn into this room with our ANTHRAX ‘A’.Nearly 35 years into their career, Anthrax are still spreading the disease.

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