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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Variuous Artist – Ronnie James Dio: This Was Your Life

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Every now and again a tribute album comes along that really catches my eye. Ever since his passing, Dio tributes of various sorts and quality have been floating around, the best by far has been Jorns Song for Ronnie.

The list of contributors should alone be enough to trigger the interest of the hard rock and metal community, and the fact that the profits goes to Dio’s cancer fund should be an extra incentive to go out and buy the disc.

I’ll do a track by track review:

Neon Knights – Anthrax.

Scott Ian hasn’t really put any effort into making a unique cover, and does a blueprint cover. Belladonna vocals are great as always. I expected Anthrax to do Heaven and He’ll, but no matter. Except for the odd butchering of the guitar solo, I like this cover.

 

The Last in Line – Tenacious D.

This was a bit of a let down, I expected something much more creative and fun from Tenacious D.  In stead you get massive evidence that Jack Black is not a great singer, but just OK.

 

The Mob Rules – Adrenaline Mob.

Sounds like like the original, but with better production. Bit of a let down from this so called super group.

 

Rainbow in the Dark – Corey Taylor, Jason Christopher, Christian Martucci, Roy Mayorga, Satchel

I love this track, and Corey Taylor does an impressive job behind the mic. This track is truly a  great cover, it stays true to the original and yet adds a new vibe and energy to the song.

 

Straight through the Heart –  Halestorm

The best song on this tribute album. There is heavy metal magic present in every aspect of this recording. Lizzy sounds absolutely amazing. Her voice, like Dios, is full of power and honesty, consider me blown away. I’m definitely going to check out more from this band.

 

Starstruck – Motörhead with Biff Byford

This one is pretty straight forward, Biff sings great and Motörhead play great, without putting much of their sound and style in the mix.

 

The Temple of the King – Scorpions

I don’t really care for the original Rainbow version, I don’t really care for Scorpions and I don’t really care for this bland and boring cover.

 

Egypt (The Chains are On) – Doro

Doro has slowed it down and added a lot new elements, and has totally made this her own song. If hadn’t known this to be a Dio song, I would have thought she wrote it herself. And it sounds great and heavy.

 

Holy Diver – Killswitch Engage

When you receive the honor it is to be the ones to cover Dios signature song on a tribute album filled to the rim with metal gods, you should do a better job than this boring, slightly out of tune, uninspired waste of my time.

 

Catch the Rainbow – Glenn Hughes, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren and Simon Wright

It’s been a long time since I heard Mr. Hughes sound this high. It’s a real interesting group of people who made this laid back, slightly stoned and cool version.

 

I – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson and Brian Tichy

This is one of my favorite Sabbath with Dio songs. I have never heard Oni sing before, but he does a stand up job. Robertsons guitar work is impeccable, and the same could be said about the rhythm section. But there is just no magic, like the original has.

 

Man on the Silver Mountain – Rob Halford, Doug Aldrich, Vinnie Appice, Jeff Pilson and Scott Warren

This collection of metal Gods deliver, never doubt it. Everything sounds good, as it should. Halfrods puts his signature on this song and makes it something special.

 

Metallica – Ronnie Rising medley (A light in the black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill the King)

Metallica have way of making their covers sound like a Metallica song, and they do this here as well. The sound of Hetfields voice and Hammetts wah-wah is ever present. I was excited to hear if Ulrich would attempt the drum intro for Stargazer, but he didn’t, no shocker there. This is one of my favourite songs on the album.

 

Dio – This was your Life

A litle quiet song fram the man himself. Just a piano and Dios magnificent vocals. I am sorry to say that I can see way this wasn’t released before. It’s a run of the mill song, and nothing special really