Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian shed some new light on the next Anthrax album in an interview with KNOTFEST.com’s Terry “Beez” Bezer. The interview also goes into his experience working with Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo now that Lombardo and Ian have both joined Mr. Bungle.
Ian had a lot to say about the upcoming Anthrax record, “We started writing new Anthrax last year — obviously, without a crystal ball knowing what was going to happen in the world, but with the intent of having a record out this year. Obviously, that’s not happening now. So we’re still writing — we’re still working on it. The COVID has obviously put a crimp in our plans, because we can’t just get together and jam when we want to, and traveling has become not so easy, and all of that. So we’ve just been, slowly but surely, working on new material. And if anything, it just affords us more time to come up with more stuff.
“We’ve never been the kind of band to have, like, 30 songs, and then we’re gonna choose the best 10 — we’ve never done that,” he continued. “I think the most we’ve ever had was maybe two more than we needed for a record, and it’s usually pretty obvious, like, ‘These two aren’t gonna make the record.’ But maybe this time around we’ll end up with 15 songs or something. But because we’re afforded this much time to be writing, it’s not like we’re gonna know, ‘These are 10 for the record, and who knows what we’ll do with these five.’ So I have a feeling it’s gonna be more, like, we’re gonna have 15 album tracks. We’re not releasing a double record, if it’s up to me, because what a waste of material that would be. But I just like the fact that we will have a lot of great material.
“Maybe sometime early next year we’ll be ready to go in and make a record — if it makes sense. I’ve said it before — I don’t wanna put a record out till we can play shows. For me, to put a record out in a vacuum, it makes no sense to me. I’m not gonna put a record out and not play proper gigs — I’m not gonna do that. So we have to be patient — everyone has to be patient.
“We can’t wait to play shows again. That’s all I wanna do. This is the longest, I think, we’ve ever not played a show. Our last ANTHRAX show was November 15th of last year.”
Bezer asked him about the sound of the tracks. Ian replied, “Yeah. It sounds like us… If I had to say what this next record sounds like to me, or a vibe, in a way, it’s riffier — it’s a riffier record.
“I think we’ve kind of proved to ourselves over the last two records that we’ve gotten pretty good at a certain style of Anthrax songwriting, and now we’ve taken a left turn away from that, because we don’t want to do the same thing again. So if anything, I think this record is a little bit riffier, maybe a little less linear, and certainly faster.
“We’ve always been really good at making things more difficult for ourselves. So if anything, yeah… I hate to say, ‘Well, it’s more of a thrash metal record,’ because I’ll let people decide what it is when they hear it. But from my point of view, it’s definitely faster and riffier.”
Charlie Benante, Anthrax’s drummer, has previously made similar comments on the new Anthrax. During the UK Download festival last year, he said “There’s some extreme stuff on this record that we touched on. There’s different things that we’re gonna try and do that’s gonna make it next level.” When talking to the Everblack podcast, he said it would be “a little more in the aggressive style.”
Anthrax’s last album was For All Kings, in 2016. Scott Ian has also been working on music with his other bands The Damned Things and Motor Sister since then, as well as working on the re-recording of Mr. Bungle’s demo album The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo. In the interview, he touches on the first two and goes into depth about his experience with Mr. Bungle.
Photo credit: Marv Watson