Anthrax over the years is known for flipping the script; different voices, different influences, and different attitudes. Looking back over the years this Big 4 band has done things to the liking of themselves. Across the river from Anthrax in New Jersey Frank Sinatra sang “I did it my way.” That is the anthem of Anthrax. “For All Kings” follows this same process.
Anthrax could have easily pumped out another version of 2011’s Worship Music and made the thrash faithful happy, but Anthrax isn’t one to appease. They are ones to push the envelope, explore new realms, and melt your face in a manner you didn’t expect.
There were a lot of questions going into For All Kings. With new guitarist Jonathan Donais in the mix one had to wonder if he could hang with the thrash veterans. He did! Could Scott Ian find more head banging riffs to carry a full album after all these years? He did. Could Charlie Benante and Frank Bello find inspiration to give Anthrax their trademark back end that defines their thrash sound? They did. Could Joey Belladonna still hit those notes that cemented Anthrax as metal legends? Not only did he do that, Joey turned in the best vocal performance of his storied career.
Song after song displays the melodic voice of Belladonna in a manner that quite frankly steals the album. Tracks like “You Gotta Believe” and the instant thrash classic “Zero Tolerance” uses Belladonna’s voice to let the guitars and drums roam all over the songs showing the punk roots Anthrax has always kept in their hearts.
“Breathing Lightning” and the title track “For All Kings” expand on thrash with excellent songwriting and traditional influences. Ian’s presence is felt the most in these tracks over any others on the album. “Suzerain” is a very modern and dare I say “Bush” era song. It’s heavy as hell and something that begs to be played at a volume comparable to ear shattering. Like many places on the album Donais knocks out a solo that deserves to be covered by every guitar fan on YouTube.
If you’re a Benante fan have no fear. “Voice of the People” with speak to you. A fairly simple song in style it allows Benante to reach out and pull in some beats you don’t always associate with metal. The song needs to be played live with a drum cam on Benante.
To get back to the original point you can count on Anthrax for one thing: to do things their way! “For All Kings” keeps that tradition alive with strong song writing and musical muscle that shows a legendary band that has found a new light and motivation. For the average metal fan “For All Kings” will be a party waiting to happen; for the super fan, “For All Kings” is the beginning of a new age of thrash.
Album Release via Megaforce (NA) / Nuclear Blast (World) on February 26, 2016
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