Nuclear Blast [Release date 26.02.16]
I will admit it has been awhile since I heard an Anthrax album right through, although I was a big fan back in their 80′s period when thrash metal was at its commercial peak. This is the band’s first album since 2011′s ‘Worship Music’, although they did release a covers EP in-between. This album also marks the full recording debut of Jonathan Donais (Shadows Fall), the covers EP aside.
The album starts with the pomp laden intro ‘Impaled’ before ‘You Gotta Believe’, a classic piece of Anthrax at their more trad metal end of their sound. Those after a quick dandruff shaker will love the frantic beats of ‘Monster At The End’ and the next song, ‘For All Kings’ – Charlie Benante drums as if his life depended upon it!
Now the one song that I urge even those who would not normally touch Anthrax with a musical barge pole, is ‘Breathing Lightning’. Anthrax go melodic prog rock anyone? The vocal harmonies would not look out of place on an album from say Journey, whilst the verses maintain the band’s trademark heaviness and the outro verges into prog rock/Rush. The song segues into ‘Breathing Out’, quite possibly one of the mellowest things the band have ever done.
The band hark back to their classic 80′s sound on ‘Evil Twin’, the guitars on this one are stunning. Both Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais creating a wall of razor sharp riffs. Lyrically the band don’t shy away from topicality as this one is a reaction to the Paris attacks. Proof on this on that Joey Belladonna has lost none of his vocal power and delivery.
It is very heartening to see not only long standing bands like Anthrax still producing new music, but more importantly music that is as good as, and at times better than, their classic era. Listening to this has tweaked my interest in all things thrash and metal again. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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