Saturday, 5 March 2016

Anthrax - "For All Kings" (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released:  26/02/2016
Label: Nuclear Blast



The verdict? This is undoubtedly the best Anthrax album for many years. The thrashing songs, when the band burn rubber, are the best things here. The less interesting aspects of the record are the slower tracks. Overall, a cautious endorsement from me. Next time, please, just keep the tempos and energy up all the way!

“For All Kings” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Impaled (1:31)
2. You Gotta Believe (6:00)
3. Monster At The End (3:55)
4. For All Kings (5:00)
5. Breathing Lightning (5:37)
6. Breathing Out (0:55)
7. Suzerain (4:53)
8. Evil Twin (4:40)
9. Blood Eagle Wings (7:53)
10. Defend Avenge (5:13)
11. All Of Them Thieves (5:14)
12. This Battle Chose Us (4:53)
13. Zero Tolerance (3:48)

The Review:

Anthrax, that most contentious of the Big Four... The other three bands have several classic albums to their name. In my view, Anthrax do not. I am actually a big fan of the John Bush era, and while I cautiously enjoy “Among the Living”, I just don't rank it up there with, say, “Rust in Peace” or “Seasons in The Abyss” and so on.

With Joey Belladonna returning to the band, my hopes were not high for 2011's “Worship Music.” I was correct not to be too excited; that record is OK, but just not that good. Two things are for sure: Anthrax still slay live and “Fistful of Metal“ is a fantastic metal album.” Probably my favourite of theirs. I also love the “Armed and Dangerous” EP.

On to “For All Kings”, then... First impressions are good. The intro sets things up just fine for “You Gotta Believe”, which is a fine and thrashing track, as is “Monster At The End”... The album is on a roll! The title track is nice and crunchy but with that textbook Belladonna- style melody to the vocals, which, truthfully, I am not a huge fan of. “Breathing Lightning” is a mid paced chugger with some nice syncopated cymbal work from Charlie Benante- who is the stand out player as usual. While I am on the subject, Benante is a superb technician and very fast when he wants to be. Perennially under used- in terms of skill- in Anthrax, I wish he would play more, much more, on every track. Very odd that his name is not often mentioned in the same breath as Lombardo, but there we are. Again, the melodic bent of the Belladonna style Anthrax is all over this track- I will leave you to find out if you like the style or not.

“Breathing Out” is an acoustic intro style track and then it is straight into the bruising thrash of “Suzerain”; this is more like it! It all gets more melodic, of course, but the heavier sections are great. Weirdly, this track would have suited “Sound of White Noise” and John Bush down to a tee. “Evil Twin” is up next- the advance track for the album- and it is thrashy, with time changes and an excellent half time chug riff towards the end. Excellent.

“Blood Eagle Wings” is the album's longest track, but for me it did not quite cut the mustard. Some good riffs here and there and a good melody to the vocals, but it is slow paced and while well put together, it is not why I listen to Anthrax. “Defend Avenge” is better- with some cool stomping riffs and a strong chorus. Lovely bass drum work, too. “All of Them Thieves” has some real thrashing for the solo and is a strong track overall.  This Battle Chose Us” is also a good track- the album is finishing strongly! Finally “Zero Tolerance” puts the pedal to the metal with great effect. The guitars lock tight and the drums propel all along very effectively.

The verdict? This is undoubtedly the best Anthrax album for many years. The thrashing songs, when the band burn rubber, are the best things here. The less interesting aspects of the record are the slower tracks. Overall, a cautious endorsement from me. Next time, please, just keep the tempos and energy up all the way!

“For All Kings” is available now


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