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Anthrax, ‘For All Kings’ – Album Review

Megaforce Records
Megaforce Records

As one of thrash metal’s “Big 4,“ Anthrax’s place in metal history has always been secure. But by the early 2010s they had seen their share of ups and downs and lineup changes and hadn’t released a studio album in several years.

The unexpected success and nearly universal positive response to 2011‘s Worship Music gave them a significant boost, which they have been making the most of for the past few years. Their recent run of success has also increased expectations for their latest album, For All Kings.

Like the legends they are, Anthrax were more than up for the task. For All Kings delivers the thrash that they are known for, but also sees them explore other sonic pathways without losing touch with their core sound. After an opening interlude, the proceedings get under way with “You Gotta Believe.”

It’s a strong opener with great lead guitar work from Jon Donais on his first Anthrax studio album, blending seamlessly with fellow axeman Scott Ian. Like most songs on the album, it has a lot of depth and diversity that includes a lengthy instrumental break that mellows things out for a while before kicking back in.

Tracks like “Evil Twin” and “Suzerain” follow the path blazed years ago by their classic ‘80s albums, with big hooks and plenty of crunch. “Monster at the End” is one of the most streamlined songs on the record, and probably the most accessible and catchy, as well.

Joey Belladonna did a fine job on Worship Music singing songs that weren’t originally written for him. With For All Kings, he sounds even better and completely at ease. He has great range and plenty of power, which is on display throughout the album.

One of the standout songs on For All Kings is the epic “Blood Eagle Wings.” Clocking in at around 8 minutes, it’s dark and moody, an introspective song that’s an effective counterbalance to the aggression found elsewhere.

With For All Kings, the wave of momentum the band has been riding shows no sign of ebbing. Anthrax’s songwriting on the album has matured, but it hasn’t stopped them from thrashing harder than bands half their age.

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