Five years on from the immense Worship Music – and after months of press build up – Anthrax finally unleashed For All Kings, their first album since recruiting Jon Donais on lead guitar.
Simply put, this album has everything you want and expect from a band of Anthrax’s calibre. Stomping riffs courtesy of Scott Ian? Check! Frank Bello’s live wire bass lines? Check! Charlie Benante’s always phenomenal beats? Check fucking check! Credit must go to Jon Donais who fits the band like a metal studded glove, some of his leads and melodies on this album stand toe to toe with the bands finest work and the man solo’s like the glory days of 80’s thrash never ended.
“You Gotta Believe” is a ferocious opener, all razor sharp riffs to begin with before launching into a mellifluous mid section that gradually builds into what Anthrax of 1987 would label on the inlay card as the “mosh part”. It’s sure to become a live favourite. Next up is the mid paced “Monster At The End”, which along with “Breathing Lightning” is as catchy as a particularly virulent dose of herpes.
Anthrax have been at this game long enough to know that speed is not the be all and end all (pun completely intended) and there is a grinding malevolence to the music – and a political edge – that harkens back to the classic Persistence Of Time. The band have rarely been sounded so pissed off at the world with the likes of “Evil Twin” and the hulking “All Of Them Thieves”, taking aim at religious extremism and crooked politicians.
For all the real world rhetoric, mature and expressive songwriting and stomping riffs, For All Kings is a triumph for one good reason; Joey Belladonna’s vocals. In the 80’s, Anthrax set themselves apart from their peers through Joey Belladonna’s classic rock and metal vocals, a huge contrast to the standard barking of most thrash throats. On For All Kings Belladonna simply serves up one exquisite vocal after another, delivering what is possibly his finest performance to date.
If you like your thrash with a hefty – and we mean hefty – dollop of melody then look no further, Anthrax have served up a veritable head banging melodic thrash masterclass here. So far in 2016 we’ve had a seering return to form from Megadeth and now this gem! When compared to the lacklustre Repentless and the never-ending lack of new material from Metallica, it’s a comfort to know that at least half of The Big 4 are still writing world class albums! 9/10