Album Review: Anthrax – For All Kings by Chris Akin
Depending on your perspective, Anthrax is either having a career resurgence or floundering at the end of their career. I’m stunned how many people actually didn’t like their last effort, FOR ALL KINGS. In these ears, that was the best effort of their career. What made it great, to me, was the mixture of crushing heaviness combined with some of the melodic elements they had during the Bush era of the band. Simply, I’ve played that album over 1000 times according to my cloud player, so it’s safe to say I love it!
Anthrax is back with FOR ALL KINGS; an album that guitarist Scott Ian has been heralding as this super heavy return to the band’s glory days. Well, let’s dispel that right away. It’s not. While it might be heavier in spots than WORSHIP MUSIC or WE’VE COME FOR YOU ALL, It certainly is not even in the same league as AMONG THE LIVING or PERSISTENCE IN TIME as far as heaviness is concerned. That’s not to say it’s bad though, as it’s not. It’s just not heavy as advertised.
FOR ALL KINGS is the logical next step from WORSHIP MUSIC, in my opinion. The songs are rich with great guitar work, big drum sound, and vocalist Joey Belladonna’s upgraded vocal tone which has given the entire band a lift. To his credit, Belladonna adapted his vocal sound slightly on WORSHIP MUSIC to adapt to what had been written before he came back to the band. That worked, and apparently Belladonna decided to keep that sound. This change has allowed the band to showcase a bit more of a melodic edge. Songs like “Breathing Lightning” could never have worked in the old days, but they work well here. This is a great song. Another one in the same vein is “Monster In The End”. This is another great track, even if it does almost completely rip off “The Crawl” from WORSHIP MUSIC. It’s their own song, so I guess it’s OK to plagiarize it.
There are heavy songs on FOR ALL KINGS though. Songs like “Evil Twin” are fast and heavy. “Suzerain” is not only heavy, but one of the best Anthrax tunes they’ve written in 20 years. Guitarist Jonathan Donais has stepped right in and added his flavor to Scott Ian’s rhythms, and the results are consistently solid throughout. Mixed against the always powerful rhythm section of drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frank Bello, you get the always reliable and strong sound from the band.
RATING – 9 out of 10 – A worthy follow-up to WORSHIP MUSIC, FOR ALL KINGS is not the heavy juggernaut it was advertised to be, but it’s a damn solid effort. It’s not likely to disappoint anyone – especially those that loved WORSHIP MUSIC.
Chris Akin is the editor and chief at Pitriff.com, one of metals most influential websites and a frequent contributor to clevelandrockandroll.com