Anthrax – “For All Kings” (Nuclear Blast Records)
After Megadeth’s blinding new album, I did wonder if Anthrax – one of the ‘Big Four’ thrash pillars of the 80s – could make it a lucky double?! As a fan of the band going right back to “Fistful Of Metal”, my memories of Anthrax’s glory days are unforgettable as was equally their desire to break down barriers like on their collaboration with Public Enemy on ‘Bring The Noise’. Well, “For All Kings” does pretty much that, serving up a platter of rock, thrash and metal tracks not to mention an album cover perhaps befitting fellow New Yorkers Manowar – although the band have since explained the self empowerment aspect, that of being a king of oneself. Whatever the case ‘Evil Twin’ leaves nothing to the imagination being classic thrash from the classic “Among The Living” era with its aggressive riffing matching its dark subject matter of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Shadows King guitarist Jon Donais’s chainsawing is good enough to be in unison with crazy Scott ‘Not’ Ian (a feat in itself!) – completed by Charlie Benante’s frantic drumming and Joey Belladona’s still passionate and unsubstitutable trademark voice of Anthrax, the core sound of which still rings true into four decades. Equally, the band don’t seem to have forgotten their street roots on the stomping shout outs of ‘…mark my words!!..’ on ‘Defend Avenge’ with some excellent soloing from Donais, who seems to have found his measure in the band’s sound, while Benante once again furiously brings it to a boil with some truly stupendous technical yet aggressive drumming! Despite some tracks being a tad too lengthy like the 6 minute ‘You Gotta Believe’ with its unnecessary ambient interlude between the stomping, others like ‘Monster At The End’ get straight to the point right down to Frankie Bello’s crunching bass sounds. Likewise, ‘Breathing Lightning’ harking back to the band’s Cheap Trick inspiration or even a stab at being epic on ‘Blood Eagle Wings’, show the band stretching their wings commendably, although for us die hards the heavier material like the mayhemic ‘Zero Tolerance’ shows that despite being in their early 50s, Anthrax still have plenty of gusto and insanity as no prouder spoken by the words to ‘Suzeraine’ in that ‘…nothing is over..’. Indeed!