Anthrax is back! After their previous record Worship Music released with Joey Beladonna thankfully back in the band everyone was ready for some serious Thrash. Worship Music delivered the goods, but perhaps with a depth and thoughtfulness normally not seen in the band. That is not to say the band isn’t thoughtful but Anthrax is rarely accused of being overly introspective.
With the release of For All Kings fans were wondering what this seemingly new direction might bring and the answer is, badassness.
Although Anthrax has its ‘80’s thrash heart intact they have layered some new and wonderful things around it. Melody, seriously dynamic modulations, nuance, and lyrics with surprising depth have developed over the years for this band and it is performed with awesome artistry on this record. Full disclosure I’ve loved the band since they released Spreading the Disease in 1985, and I know Fistful of Metal came out in 1984 but there was no Internet so everyone didn’t know everything back then so get the fuck off me.
The record kicks off with an instrumental called “Impaled” although this is an intro to the track “You Gotta Believe” and has no track listing itself. “You Gotta Believe” delivers the sucker punch right away to get the thrash started. The riff takes me back to “Madhouse” from Spreading the Disease, but with much more confidence and precision. Thrash leads to mosh leads to thrash in this song, and then when you have it all figured out they decide to toss in a Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’esque bit in the middle to make sure you were paying attention. Which you will be. This band is seriously tight and if you focus in on Scott Ian’s masterful rhythm playing his picking is dead on perfect with the snare and bass drums from Charlie Benante’s always interesting drum performances. Normally I notice this type of cohesive quality in a bass and drum performance but it’s found across all the members here. These guys must freaking rehearse like madmen because I don’t think these are digital fixes.
Monster at the End offers an off center rhythmic intro coupled with a melody that made me wonder what was coming next. Of course its groove metal! The chorus is melodic without taking you out of the overall dire tone and delivers some of the introspection I mentioned earlier. Remember? Pay attention!
The title track for all kings has a very melodic, even operatic intro that reminds me of an Iron Maiden song up to the first verse, which by the way is a good thing in case you’re crazy. Joey Belladonna is really showing what he can do on this record, and on this track in particular he moves around his wide range with grace and ease. Another singer trying to pull this off on a thrash record would really screw with the tone but Belladonna knows how really sing without detracting from the HEAVY.
The song Suzerain rocks and is enjoyed on several levels. I recommend checking out the lyrics and reading along as you listen. I’ll put them in the description below. Just so you don’t have to Google it, a Suzerain is a sovereign or state having some control over another state that is internally autonomous or a feudal overlord. Or both. Read more about Suzerains and the Ottoman empire somewhere else.
The quick hit for the record is “Breathing Lighting”. This song has an intro that sounds almost like a lullaby which builds into a huge heavy sound. Like many songs on their previous release Worship Music, Anthrax is not afraid to take their time and build a freaking song. Their sure hand and confident chops slowly build up to a powerful chorus and break down. The outro takes us back to the original lullaby and then takes a bow. This was the first song that I really loved off this record and it is no surprise what it is a release.
The song that took me the longest to warm up to is “Blood Eagle Wings”. Don’t get me wrong it’s a bad ass song but it has a lot more going on that say an “Evil Twin” and because of this it takes a few listens to really get a feel for it. Once the song got in my head I loved it, but again I had to warm up to it first. Also the video for the song is awesome and very disturbing. Seriously it’s gory as hell so I would treat it like the movie Deliverance. Yeah it’s amazing and you should see it once because it has a lot to say but if you watch it again you may have something wrong with you.
I love Anthrax and I’ve followed them their entire career. I really really wanted to give this album an A…so I did! For All Kings gets an A, if you like Anthrax you should have already bought this, and I mean pay for it you tube people! They earned their $15 bucks on this. If you like thrash in general I am confident you will like this and I fully recommend it to you.
I hope you enjoyed our review of Anthrax’s For All Kings. If you did please like the video and subscribe to the channel for a chance to win an increasingly hypothetical product or service to be named at some far future date. We’re out!