Anthrax - For All Kings Review

Anthrax - For All Kings
Anthrax - For All Kings. Megaforce Records

Metal in the 1980s was a magical moment in the history of music. The burgeoning thrash metal movement was an inspiring and explosive time and was crucial to the development of metal. Between the Bay Area, New York and the German movements countless legendary bands were discovered and created some of the most paramount music.

Thrash’s Big Four has earned their legendary status throughout the years. Anyone who lived through that era knows it was Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax that were leading the metal revolution.

The New York band has experimented the most with their sound throughout the years and with the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna with 2011’s Worship Music they started to rediscover their thrash roots. 

Back with their eleventh album For All Kings, can Anthrax follow in the footsteps of Megadeth who just recently released one of the most consistent albums of their career? Can it live up to their legendary past catalog? 

Regardless of what era you prefer of Anthrax, Scott Ian’s melodic and thick riffs blended with Charlie Benante’s inspiring drumming is the backbone of their sound. After a quick intro, “You Gotta Believe” slams out of the speakers with a classic throwback Anthrax riff that could have been taken right from their prime. Benante’s precise footwork is on display and syncopates incredibly with the main riff.

Along with “Evil Twin” and the closing song “Zero Tolerance,” Anthrax revisits the speed and aggressiveness that launched their career.

When they enter into this arena they continue to show they are still towards the top of the heap in the thrash metal world. Ian has always been one of the best rhythm guitarists in metal and to execute some of this material he shows the dedication it takes to play at this intensity.

Vocalist Joey Belladonna is back and like on their previous release is utilizing most of his mid range vocals and doesn’t hit the high notes as he once did.

I believe this is where his voice is the strongest and most appealing. His range isn’t what it used to be, but it is incredibly more consistent.

They also show off their more accessible side as “Breathing Lighting,” “Monster At The End” and “Suzerain” all contain great hooks. Hearkening back to the era of John Bush, these tracks all would have fit perfectly for his voice.

The albums highlight is the unstoppable “The Battle Chose Us.” A driving riff propels this track forward with a huge groove that is impossible not to head bang along with. The chorus is insatiable and drills into your brain and refuses to leave long after the track finishes. The last minute and a half is a rollercoaster as the intensity explodes with Benante’s drumming being chaotic and intense and perfectly matching the incredible melody.

New lead guitarist Jon Donais of Shadows Fall replaces longtime shredder Rob Caggiano. His leads blend with the material as he writes more for the song instead of senseless shredding. His lead in “Evil Twin” moves at a million miles an hour.

Overall Anthrax capture the same magic that was present on Worship Music, a diverse selection of songs that captures the essence of their entire catalog.

Belladonna sounds more comfortable as the material was written with his voice in mind. Along with Megadeth’s latest, Anthrax continue to show there is no slowing down as they are still writing some of the finest material of their extraordinary career.

(Released February 26th, 2016 on Megaforce Records)