REVIEW: ANTHRAX – “For All Kings”
Coming straight to the point, Anthrax will release their 11th full length album ‘For All Kings’ on 26th February via Nuclear Blast records and how much you love or hate it will depend on how much you enjoyed their previous release ‘Worship Music’. If you are one of those who expect them to churn out tracks similar to ‘Among The Living’ or ‘Spreading the Disease’ on this new album, please look away, but if you care less about the past and are open to listening to something new and interesting, read on.
The band teases you in the intro of “You Gotta Believe” starting with a drum roll, slowly building up a crescendo with an ominous string arrangement and a crowd chanting in the backdrop to finally burst into a fireball of crunchy thrash riffage. “You Gotta Believe” is a kickass catchy opener and has that familiar Anthrax ring to it, but just when you think you have figured out how the song will unfold, they completely twist it to traverse an entirely different sonic scape with an elaborate solo over a simplistic yet intriguing guitar line. The track ends in a flurry of double bass and snare hits amidst a faster solo over the intro riff making you realize that you are in for hell of a ride. The band does not make any conscious efforts to sound like their former self and are not at all afraid to transgress musical boundaries on multiple occasions on this album. The end result is a great amalgamation of groove and melody. Tracks like “Breathing Lightning” and the title track “For All Kings” are a perfect blend of kickass hooks and catchy rhythms.
Guitarist Jonathan Donais delivers amazing solos throughout the album that will surely make up for many kickass air guitar moments during the course of this album and Scott Ian’s punchy riffs will take you back to some of their old stuff. Tracks like “Evil Twin” will most definitely hit those neurotransmitters in your brain to make you gush with nostalgia as the groove laden hooks enter your ear drums. However, on the whole, the band exhibits a newer approach to their songwriting style combining melodic guitar lines amidst the razor sharp groove attack, as can be seen on tracks like “Blood Eagle Wings” and “All Of Them Thieves”. They go really well with Joey Belladona’s soaring NWOBHM influenced vocals and leave me no doubts that he is the perfect fit for this band.
There are some weak moments as well on this album especially during in the verse sections of some of the songs. Tracks like “This Battle Chose Us” and “Monster at the End” sound too simplistic and offer very little variations during its course and stand out as the weakest tracks for me, although, the solos still kick ass.
Scott Ian mentioned in one of his interviews that ‘For All Kings’ is the heaviest and the most Metal Anthrax record, but I would totally disagree with him. This album although has its heavy and thrashy moments but on the whole it sounds less thrashy even when compared to ‘Worship Music’, let alone their earlier releases. However, this does not mean that ‘For All Kings’ is not enjoyable. Barring some minor flaws, this album will most likely end up in many people’s year end lists for the best records of this year. The album also features nice bonus tracks including gems like “A.I.R”, “Caught in a Mosh” and “Madhouse”.
‘For All Kings’ is a thoroughly enjoyable album. It will make you nostalgic but also surprise you with some new tricks. All you need to do is to just keep an open mind and give it a chance to grow on you as you spin it multiple times.