Return Of The Kings
Bands don’t come much bigger than the Big 4 of thrash metal, and of those four, only one hails from the East Coast: Anthrax. After 30 years and numerous lineup changes, the classic formation of the band, including returning vocalist Joey Belladonna, is back to bring the heavy to you. Despite being the band’s first album in 8 years, Worship Music is unmistakably Anthrax.
The record starts with “Earth On Hell,” a spastic thrasher that recalls Among The Living and features the powerful leads of guitarist Rob Caggiano. “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t” showcases the band’s signature machine-gun riffs and gang vocals, delivered by Caggiano and perennial figurehead Scott Ian. “In The End” is a slow, ominous grind, complete with church bells and operatic wails, while “Judas Priest” is an apocalyptic strut, anchored by a chorus inspired by scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The journey ends with “Revolution Screams,” which allows drummer Charlie Benante to unleash the fury, ably supporting the subversive musings of Belladonna.
The production is suitably modern here. Anthrax didn’t attempt to recapture their old sounds, instead utilizing the advances in metal recording over the past decade. Benante uses a triggered bass drum in place of his “au natural” sound from 2003’s We’ve Come For You All, giving the low end a necessary punch. This complements Frank Bello’s overdriven bass tone, and the guitars’ well-balanced attack. Taken together, these choices bring Anthrax’s inimitable style into 2011.
Even after 3 decades, Anthrax hasn’t slowed down a bit, and it shows on Worship Music. Fans of the band should not let this one pass by, and fans of “modern” metal should pick this up to see how metal is done. If you like it heavy, and have a pulse, this should be on your shelf.