After two turbulent decades and plenty of downs and disappointments, the 'Thrax is back in full force with "Worship Music", a beast of a metal album, and perhaps their best release since "The Persistence of Time". Having operated within groove and alternative metal territory (with a couple of heavier things, too) in the John Bush era, Anthrax have returned to a more melodic thrash oriented style which is very similar to their classic 80s albums. Thus, Anthrax bombard the listener with crushing thrash riffs and fast drums intermingled with more melodic and traditional heavy metal elements, and, while this album represents a return to the band's traditional metal and thrash metal roots, Anthrax have not completely abandoned the alternative groove metal that they experimented with in the 90s, and there are a couple of very groovy passages which fit perfectly into the overall sound of "Worship Music". The album starts out with a solemn atmospheric intro called 'Worship', which is abruptly interrupted by the chaotic, noise-accompanied blastbeat that is the introduction to 'Earth on Hell' - and the thrash-fest starts. 'Earth on Hell', 'The Devil You Know', and 'Fight 'em 'til You Can't' are primarily uptempo rockers, with "Earth on Hell" and 'Fight 'em...' being melodic thrashers and 'The Devil You Know' being more of a traditional metal tune. 'I'm Alive' is more akin to the Bush-era alternative metal style of Anthrax and is based on some pretty cool riffs, while Joey Belladonna adds a melodic aspect above and beyond what could be heard on Anthrax's output in the 90s. 'Hymn 1' is a dark and almost intense cello-intermezzo which is followed by the heavy riff-ladden "In the End" which draws on thrash metal, power metal and traditional metal and contains a passage with the same sort of drive as in 'Belly of the Beast'. 'The Giant' speeds things up and has the same sort of intensity heard on "Persistence of Time", which is neatly balanced by its melodic rock-ish chorus. After 'Hymn 2' which is a snare drum solo of sorts, 'Judas Priest' kicks in and delivers delivers the goods in the form crushingly solid metal riffs galore. 'Crawl' is is an Alice in Chains-tinged affair, while 'The Constant' combines Southern groove with the characteristic 80s Anthrax melodic thrash sound, and the solid 'Revolution Screams' is a multifacetted tracks with lots of changes and impressions going on. The musicianship is top notch across the board: Scott Ian's rhythm guitars are crushing and precise, while Rob Caggiano's guitar solos are multifacetted, combining both melodic leads and shredding, and the Bello-Benante rhythm section is as rock solid as a really solid rock. The highlight for me is the return of Joey Belladonna, though, and, while he does not hit the same high notes as he did on the 80s releases (his singing style is more akin to his performance on "Persistence of Time", his performance adds both power and melody to the overall sound on the album is a manner that no other vocalist can, and his voice is just as integral a part of the Anthrax sound as the guitars and bass and drums are, and he proves that his voice fits both melodic thrash metal and groove metal. 'Thrax is back and, combining the best of the power-thrashing 80s with the best of the groovy 90s, they have committed what I think is their best album in more than fifteen years, and "Worship Music" is both retrospective and prospective at the same time. It's a riff-fest. It's a melody-fest. It's a thrash-fest. It's a groove-fest. It's Anthrax! (review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
Zombies and thrash metal!!!!!!
That's f*cking awesome!
Not only that, this is Anthrax sort of finding their old musical self. I know that a lot of people who are a bit younger than me prefer the alternative metal Bush era Anthrax, and, truth be told, I originally got into Anthrax when they released "Sound of White Noise", but eventually I started going back and explored their older releases, and I ended up preferring the Belladonna-fronted melodic thrashing Anthrax to the Bush-fronted grooving Anthrax (I still love "White Noise" though).
So, to me, this new track which is more akin to the Anthrax of the 80s than the Anthrax of the 90s obviously clicked with me right away. Most of the riffage is solid and crushing just like the Scott Ian riffage on albums like "Among the Living", "State of Euphoria" and "Persistence of Time". Combined with this thrashy riffage is an extremely melodic four-chord chorus accompanied by melodic guitar leads - the guitar solo is also extremely melodic and has a nice 80s quality to it.
I am aware that some people might cringe at the though of Joey Belladonna fronting Anthrax once again, but I like what he did with them in the 80s, and I like what he is doing on this track. He does not hit the same high notes as in the olden days, but his voice is still very powerful and his use of vibrato and other singing techniques contributes very positively to the music.
It really seems to me that Anthrax have gone back to their 80s melodic thrash metal style and taken the comic-book lightheartedness which, combined with crushing riffage and melody, made Anthrax really special back then, and they've successfully applied these element in this song.
If the rest of their upcoming album sounds like this song, I will certainly buy it - no questions asked.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
The melodic thrasher 'Fight 'em till You Can't' from the forthcoming "Worship Music" album seemed to indicate that Anthrax had returned to form. The second single off that album "The Devil You Know" further suggests that Anthrax has returned to the style known from albums like Spreading the Disease", "Among the Living", and "State of Euphoria".
Now, "The Devil You Know" is not as thrashy as "Fight 'em till You Can't", and is more of a traditional heavy metal affair with a set of solid rock-ish verses and a simple 3 chord chorus plus a groovy bridge with a some rock 'n' roll-ish lead guitar leads every now and then. And, of course, Belladonna's vocals are just the way they should be.
Now, before you start griping about this not being a thrash song as such, please remember that back in the day, Anthrax typically included a couple of more melodic and less thrashy tracks on their albums, so this track just seems to be another indicator that Anthrax have returned to the style and format that I, at least, prefer: thrash plus a bit of traditional metal.
Although a solid heavy metal track (commercial though it might be), which I definitely like, I do prefer the more thrashy "Fight 'em till You Can't" (hoping that ther will be more "Fight 'em"-like tracks than "Devil"-like thracks). Still, "The Decil You Know" has further whetted my appetite, and I most certainly will invest in "Worship Music" when it comes out.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
"Among the Living" is a thrash metal classic by Anthrax, one of the thrash metal giants.
From beginning to end, the album is full of high energy thrash metal tunes which emphasize speed and aggression, and fast killing monster riffage. There are some non-thrashy passages, too, such as the epic intro of"Among the Living", the clean guitar at the beginning of "A.D.I./THe Horror of it all" as well as the intro of "Indians" which reminds me a bit of a blend of Thin Lizzy's "Massacre" and "A Passage to Bangkok" by Rush. I should mention that "Indians" is probably one of my favorite Anthrax tracks (an-trax?), because it contains everything they are good at.
Anthrax were one of the few first generation thrash metal bands whose vocalist sang rather than screaming and shouting, and his high melodic vocals suit the music very well. While he generally sings in a higher register, he does show in several places that he is able to sing in a lower register, too, and I think he is probably a more versatile singer than John Bush (not that I have any problems with John Bush - it was when Bush was in the band, I first got into Anthrax).
This is a thrash metal classic and certainly belongs in any thrash metal collection. Power metal fans and some fans of traditional heavy metal might like it too.
(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)
Among The Living is to me one of the finest thrash-metal achievements of the 80's, Anthrax really defined their sound on this one and it shows them at their creative peak, in my opinion. It avoids the risk of being boring and all songs have powerful and thrashy riffs (some of the genres best) with tight playing from the band. The title track remains one of my favorite metal songs of all time! Of what I know from them, Anthrax have yet to top this one.