Anthrax – For All Kings (Nuclear Blast 2016)

Anthrax is by far the weakest of the big four. In my opinion most of their classic 80s material sucks and why Bush left Armored Saint to make boring, self righteous music with Scott Ian, I’ll never understand. To be honest I think that Anthrax didn’t really make a great record until 2011. They made some fantastic stand alone tracks, but not an entire record.

I was surprised by Worship Music and how great it sounded and was really looking forward to the release of For All Kings. I won’t go as far as to say I’m disappointed, but it’s nowhere near as good as Worship Music. The music seems to be lacking the final bit of inspiration and umph that it needs to tip the scale in its favor.

I guess I feel this is a little sloppy and unfocused, both in songwriting and in production. Belladonnas voice sounds good, but seems to lack some of the passion from his initial return to the band. He really shines on a few tracks though, like Blood Eagle Wings or Monster at the End.

The guitar sound is a bit bland, generic, throughout the album.  I’ve have never really been a Scott Ian fan, as I find most of his riffs to drag out and to be unimaginative. Also this media-persona he has created for himself makes him seem like a self righteous prick. Captain Hindsight to the rescue! But I got to give him credit for making some rocking, headbanging, powerful guitar parts to. The title track has a killer riff and so do Evil Twin and Zero Tolerance.

New guitarist Jon Donais makes his recording debut with Anthrax and his lead work is at time stellar, absolutely amazing, like on You Gotta Believe. I just love that guitar part from about 3 minutes into that song.

Benante is such a precise a drummer, that it almost takes away from the music. He’s got the chops for sure. I have always found the bass players of Anthrax to unimportant to their overall sound, so that trend continues on this album.

All in all, this is kind of the record I expected, not the one I wanted. Heads and shoulders above most of their back catalogue, but a step back from the last record.

 

Recommended tracks: Blood Eagle Wings, Monster at the End, Evil Twin, Suzerain

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