Album: For All Kings
Release Date: 26.02.2016
Label: Nuclear Blast, Megaforce
Another giant band with your everyday member and line-up melodrama. You know, Dan Spitz stuff and such. It is a necessity to be a part of the Big-4 I guess. Alright, alright, none of the other big-4 members come anywhere close in means of drama when there is a Megadeth on that list. Anyway, our subject is For All Kings today. So, how fares Anthrax with their newest release?
Every song starts with that familiar feeling of “I HAVE to grab a beer from the fridge!” That is always a good sign in my book. However, this doesn’t give Anthrax the “all-pass” card as they so predictably fall into the same gaps they are pretty much repeating since… a long time. The rhythm section, particularly the aggressive guitars of For All Kings is the high point and they are shouldering majority of the album’s success. Great guitar work and fast paced drumming carries the songs and you never want to reach for the “stop for fucks sake!” button. Especially when the sound quality is as good as this. However, then comes the formulated structures and the “I am listening to a pop-rock band” passages make you want to puke and reach for your Kreator – Coma of Souls CD. Now, Anthrax fans, hold your horses. This album is good, that is a fact and if you liked Worship Music, you will probably like this one, if not more.
That said, here are some issues…
There is nothing extraordinary going on for the vocals and the vocal melodies. They are mostly generic, with only exceptions happening here and there to put a smile on your face. This does not make the album a bad one but it truly steals from a possible classic. Sadly, I know Joey Belladonna can do more (nope, I am most definitely avoiding the Bush or Belladonna debate). The songs are formulated as I previously said, and this may sound as a bad thing – and in some cases, it is – but the formula works. Generally. There are songs like Suzerain where things start with pace, aggression and zeal that only end in “umm… OK” moments.
If this was the “Anthrax moment” you were waiting for as an old-school Anthrax fan, I am sorry. There is no Spreading the Disease or Among the Living here, although the foundation is pretty much the same, but it is a solid album non-the-less. Only if the guys have given up on trying “pop-rock” add-ons. Oh, a note: I am not talking about mid-tempo thrash songs. I am talking about those weird hooks that pop up every now and then through the whole disc.
If you liked the first single, Breathing Lightning, it is a rather good showcase of the album and one of the high points. I am not expecting to hear another Anthrax classic (just as I am not expecting to hear another Seasons in the Abyss or Master of Puppets) and if you can put that urge aside, you may very well love this album and can add +1 to that grade down below. My confusion is all about the word “thrash metal”. Not sure if everything fits to that category. As I have to cover all bases for old-school Anthrax fans as well as looking for something original, I am keeping it at 8. Best is to listen it for yourself and decide on your own.
Well, maybe next time it will be a 9.
Joey Belladonna – lead vocals
Scott Ian – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Charlie Benante – drums
Frank Bello – bass guitar, backing vocals
Jon Donais – lead guitar