Written by Alex Stojanovic
You Gotta Believe
Monster At The End
For All Kings
Blood Eagle Wings
All Of Them Thieves
This Battle Chose Us
Release Date: February 26, 2016
Label: Megaforce Records (NA), Nuclear Blast Records (EU)
Joey Belladonna - Lead vocals Scott Ian - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals Charlie Benante - Drums Frank Bello - Bass & backing vocals Jon Donais - Lead guitars
There are a few more faster tracks and moments on this album than the last album like "You Gotta Believe", "For All Kings" and "Evil Twin". You can always count on Scott Ian to deliver memorable riffs, whether mid-tempo or warp-speed thrash. The ominous intro in "You Gotta Believe" builds a sense of anticipation until the track explodes into an onslaught of classic Anthrax thrash riffage, followed by the more groove-oriented "Monster At The End". Obviously Anthrax aren't trying to write songs for the radio, but I could see "Breathing Lightning" played on the radio due to its accessible vibe and it's also one of the strongest songs on the record. If you're looking for captivating choruses, perfect examples would be the title track, "Monster At The End", "All Of Them Thieves" and "This Battle Chose Us".
When it comes to epic songs with hooks and soaring riffs and vocals, for Anthrax, "In The End" from Worship Music is one of those songs that can't be topped, but they've created another track along the same line of excellence on For All Kings with "Blood Eagle Wings". Not only does it contain probably the biggest chorus on the album, but it's the album's longest track clocking in at just under 8 minutes and Frank Bello channels his inner Cliff Burton with a melodic bass lead that compliments Scott Ian's soaring riff extremely well and is reminiscent of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls". After a few groove-oriented tracks, ending the album with one more dose of classic thrash is "Zero Tolerance", which I think many people will refer to as a modern day "A.I.R." or "Caught In A Mosh". It's the fastest track on the album and it prooves why Charlie Benante is one of the three kings of thrash drummers.
When Rob Caggiano departed from the band 3 years ago, he left some big shoes to fill. Jon Donais of Shadows Fall was first announced as a fill-in member, but after a few months of touring, it was pretty evident that he would become an official member at some point. As a big fan of Shadows Fall as well, and knowing what Jon is all about, I was really excited to hear what he would bring to Anthrax. He shines brightly with solos that are the perfect amalgamation of melody and shred.
I love the material they released with John Bush from Sound Of White Noise to We've Come For You All, equally as much as the first five records, but Joey Belladonna is the voice of Anthrax if you ask me. Aside from the crunching and memorable riffs and melodies, Joey's voice is the icing on the cake. You know you're an amazing vocalist when you have the ability to create vocal melodies that will not only stick in people's heads, but get them singing along as well. I wouldn't say that For All Kings tops Worship Music, but it's in the same line of brilliance and there's no doubt that it will be featured on numerous critics' and fans' year-end lists for the best albums of the year. Buy it when it's released!!
Highs: Joey Belladonna...period. Everyone shines brightly, but Joey is the star of the album. Too many standout tracks to name.
Lows: The punch might not be as powerful here as on Worship Music, but that's no big issue.
Final Rating: 9.5/10