Anthrax - For All Kings

Anthrax For All Kings cover
Anthrax
For All Kings
Megaforce
2016
8
Anthrax are releasing their eleventh studio album in a month or so, which since their last album replaced Rob Caggiano who joined Volbeat with Jon Donais of Shadows Fall who is quite capably replacing him.
 
“For All Kings” is a touch more modernist and rhythmical than “Worship Music” or at least feels thus… while it hardly changes anything in the band’s equation in a major way, it feel slightly less edgy, more mid-tempo and punishing and less in your face. Even Belladonna seems into singing more melodiously… it’s quite interesting but done in a way, which keeps the band’s trademark sound more in focus than for instance the 90s material did.
 
“You Gotta Believe” is a decent opener with a nice build up and dynamics, which however is a little underwhelming and kinda slow for an opener, but not bad in any case…
 
“Monster at the End” is even more melodic and follows a similar pattern. It’s got a nice chorus.
 
“For All Kings” despite not being faster is more lively and anthemic and has quite the air of a “classic” about it… You’d easily include it in a best of compilation.
 
“Breathing Lightning” is kind of weird, as it’s kinda soulful, almost like a hard rock version of Anthrax but since I like the overall sound and I do like hard rock in general, it’s “softer” nature didn’t seem to bother me at all.
 
“Suzerain” had me looking up the word in a dictionary. It means feudal lord, and it’s a mix or the typical rhythmical Anthrax with a quite melodic bridge/chorus...
 
“Evil Twin”, the leadoff single that was released in advance of the album, is way more typical of what is expected of “Anthrax to sound”. Again wha’s interesting is the maturity with which Belladonna is singing, as well as the sharp but balanced lyrical content that condemns those who out of zeal indulge in acts of terror, to promote their ideas, while not really caring who is hurt or killed. I guess if you have meat with a certain head of state, it would make sense to try to go after him. But because that’s “difficult” those people settle with just killing the random 50 people in a square or in a music venue, just to make a point, which really doesn’t win them or their “cause” any sympathy. At least, the way in which Anthrax lyrically tackle the subject is way more eloquent and smart than say Exodus.
 
“Blood Eagle Wings” is another mid-tempo and quite melodic number that is pleasant. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and ultimately feels like it belongs to the album...
 
“Defend/Avenge” is decent, but it’s more in tune with the style that got me “disinterested” in the band. It’s not “terrible” and the chorus is even kinda sing-along, but it’s probably one of my least favorite moments of the album...
 
“All of Them Thieves” has a somewhat more epic tone and I’m guessing is more of a throwback to the band’s peak (nice leads an all), but it’s not on par with the classic material…
 
“This Battle Chose Us”… damn I’m sort of feeling that a few of the numbers here could have almost easily been on one of the latter day Armored Saint albums with the way in which JB is singing, (lol I’m guessing he might not like the comment, but it’s honestly meant as a compliment) and this is quite a number like that with just the chorus being a little too repetitive at some point for my liking.
 
Last but not least, “Zero Tolerance” is quite cool with a nice riff, as it sharply theorizes against – police violence, political indifference and financial extermination…
 
In the “Special Edition” a 4 track second CD – includes some live tracks, like “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t”, “A.I.R.”, “Caught in a Mosh” and “Madhouse”, a quite nice selection with quite good mixed soundboard recordings that don’t seem to have been seriously doctored, just mixed so as to sound OK. While I have no clue where the tracks are from, they do seem to have difference ambiance and Belladonna sounds a little different and on the latter there’s quite a bit of crowd noise, so I’m guessing it must be different cities/countries…
 
Anthrax return with a pretty solid and melodic new album that is quite pleasant. It seems that the New Yorkers are probably the ones out of the big four that are doing it best in this day and age. Despite Metallica being vastly more popular and Megadeth probably a bit better, Anthrax combine talent with superior songwriting and decent production values. They might not be as brutal as Slayer, but still… hail to the kings and pray that Joey De Maio doesn’t feel too butt-hurt…