Anthrax

Worship Music

Written by: MGA on 15/11/2011 05:17:03

There's an easy trick to figuring out who is fronting thrash metal pioneers Anthrax at any given time. When the top of the letter ‘r’ in their iconic logo stretches horizontally all the way back to the front of the word, that’s an indication that Joey Belladonna is lending his melodies to the band. This was the logo used by the band until 1991, when Belladonna was dismissed. With his replacement, John Bush, came a slightly altered logo; the top of the ‘r’ was shortened, and gone with that chunk of the letter was the classic thrash sound Anthrax helped popularize, and in its place was a grungier, more modern take on metal.

And that’s how things would remain for the next two decades. Anthrax released a slew of albums ranging from miserably bad (1994’s “Stomp 442”) to worthy additions to the Anthrax discography (2003’s “They’ve Come for Us All”). However, after some vocalist swapping over the last 10 years that reached soap opera proportions, Anthrax took Belladonna out of metal purgatory and gave him vocal duties on "Worship Music", their first album in eight years. Back with Belladonna is that original Anthrax logo, and back with the both of them is a thrash sound that the band hasn’t embraced since their last album with Belladonna in 1990, "Persistence of Time".

But in a present day that consists of the oldschool acts either slogging away with the same sound they’ve been playing for close to thirty years or completely bastardizing their legacy, where does "Worship Music" land on this crossroads of modern thrash? Anthrax shockingly carves out a new path that consists of paying proper tribute to their classic sound while at the same time putting a modern, polished spin on things.

"Worship Music" is an absolute triumph for Anthrax. Always seen as the runt of the litter when it came to the Big Four, the album establishes them as an act that is light-years ahead of their contemporaries when it comes to writing new, relevant material. What makes this feat particularly amazing is that a sizeable portion of the album wasn’t even written with Belladonna in mind. Anthrax had written and recorded almost all of the record with a largely unknown vocalist named Dan Nelson, with a release date coming in the fall of 2008.

However, as has come to be the norm for Anthrax, the rest of the band ran into trouble with the vocalist and ended up dismissing him, resulting in the shelving of the album. After a brief flirtation with John Bush that amounted to a few shows but his ultimate refusal to sing as a hired hand on the shelved record, the band went back in time to someone who was clearly their third choice; Joey Belladonna.

Belladonna’s vocals on "Worship Music" are not third choice vocals. In fact, they establish him as someone who should have never been fired from the band 20 years ago. When he sings on “The Devil You Know,” “I’m Alive,” “In the End” and several other tracks, there’s a feeling of overwhelming yet satisfying nostalgia. Scott Ian still piles on the chugging, stop/start riffs and Charlie Benante puts on an understated thrash clinic on the drums. But make no mistake; this is very much a modern effort. This is by far the most melodic album the band has ever produced, with choruses that are so infectious they will entrench themselves in the minds of even the most casual thrash fans. "Worship Music" is the gift hidden behind the Christmas tree that came from that weird uncle that unexpectedly turned out to be the best of the holidays. It would not be over-the-top to say this album may be the best album the metal world will receive from the classic thrash luminaries of old, and for that, much credit is deserved by Belladonna and the boys from New York City.

8

Download: The Devil You Know, Earth on Hell, Revolution Screams, In the End
For the fans of: Testament, Metallica, Megadeth, Exodus
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.09.2011
Nuclear Blast

ANTHRAX - The Devil You Know by NuclearBlastRecords

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