ANTHRAX – FOR ALL KINGS (2016)
Release Date: 26th February 2016
℗ 2015 Nuclear Blast
- You Gotta Believe
- Monster at the End
- For All Kings
- Breathing Lightning
- Evil Twin
- Blood Eagle Wings
- Defend Avenge
- All of Them Thieves
- This Battle Chose Us
- Zero Tolerance
Due for release on February 26th, 2016 is the eleventh studio album for Anthrax, namely For All Kings, and this magnificent masterpiece is their very finest work. The archetypical magnum opus.
Their moniker is more fitting that ever before because their namesake, Bacillus anthracis, can form dormant spores that are able to survive in harsh conditions for decades or even centuries. How very fitting after 35 years of producing and performing through all manner of challenges and changes, now to produce this chef-d’oeuvre. A true colossus of unprecedented magnificence.
I have enjoyed Rob Caggiano with Anthrax over the years and more recently, his work with Volbeat, and was firmly of the belief that his departure from Anthrax in 2013 would leave very large shoes to fill. This album is the debut recording for Jon Donais and suffice it to say that I was blissfully at ease with his killer contribution.
The album opening of string harmonic eases our passage and presents a distinct environ of passing ages, before escalating chants, seemingly the yearning of eager fans awaiting this recording, beckon the band into eruption. Then the fury begins with You Gotta Believe and one is helpless to hold still the desire to mosh along. It is at this point that you realise that Joey Belladonna has lost nothing to time, nor has his magnificent voice. Like a fine wine, the years have brought a certain maturity and elegance to his vocal delivery. Mid track we are treated to a guitar ballet between lead and rhythm and I really can’t help but sense a subliminal satisfaction of sorts, which surely is the property of the mighty Scott Ian. To bear witness to this tremendous development to the groups sound, with new members, original members and everyone in between. This recording must be a tremendous vindication to Scott as the sole constant over the journey. It must also be said that Charlie Benante, as the second longest serving devotee has us immediately impaled on the pike of percussive brilliance.
The ebb and flow of Monster At the End is a triumphant and glorious achievement, albeit sprinkled with righteous riffage sure to keep more traditional fans appeased. Then All Kings comes along in brilliant Maiden esque introduction, before being lassoed by the band and brought back to the Anthrax glory. This track truly has the magical blend of familiar metal staples more traditional to most palates, but with a blissfully progressive instrumental accompaniment. This track is also a tremendous celebration of Joey’s contemporary vocal abilities, as his wails with that signature sound that most of us could barely achieve, let alone sustain. Frank Bello also comes to the fore with his bass brilliance, just before providing us with his percussive dominance and skill in the brilliant Breathing Lightening. This track is a fantastic demonstration of each band member’s abilities and superior skills as they slalom through genres, pace and sounds. Could we see Anthrax at the top of mainstream charts with this astonishing display? This magnificently uplifting track will raise you to heights only paralleled by the elevation of the solos. Spin this track, strap yourself in and soar like an eagle with Anthrax.
Breathing Out has us again in wistful reflection of past rock and roll giants, before Suzerain takes you by the throat, and makes you its bitch. Then releases is death grip marginally to allow enjoyment of the vocal refrain. Though the guitar work and drums keep you within grasp of this track.
Evil Twin provides us with the direct reference to the Anthrax might of old, that many may have thought could be long gone. This track is a tremendous achievement all on its own, but its placement on the album and timely arrival are of special significance. A reminder of 35 years of magnificent metal heritage and surely a prompt for fond memories of prior releases to return to the fore in glorious fashion.
Blood Evil Wings is musically a more malevolent track with tremendous overtones of foreboding and Joey is utterly perfect in accompaniment. You will feel the darkness in your own soul bearing its presence with this track, brought forth by lyrical prompt or drawn from the brilliance of each instrumental delivery. Sheer brilliance from malicious commencement to melancholic finale.
Defend Avenge brings about a new series of emotions as something wicked lurches this way forth. Soaring vocals again are the highlight on this brilliant track, before All Of Them Thieves alters the pace and direction, but in sensational fashion. This Battle Chose Us brings images of an Anthrax infused crowd moshing and heaving in unison, paying homage to this magnificent band.
Zero Tolerance is a beautifully placed powerhouse at albums end as we are launched skywards again in metal magnificence, leaving you wondering if each track on this album, was indeed better than the last. It leaves you powerless to resist the temptation, nay necessity, to start the journey again. And an entire journey this album is. Each band member’s superb delivery seems to lift the others to new paramount peaks of contemporary brilliance.
The better part of five years since the release of Worship Music and worth every second. So early in the year and Anthrax have already provided us with a sure contender for number one of 2016. You want it…you need it…you MUST have it. Bravara Anthrax.