Let me start off with this, I got into Anthrax during John Bush’s tenure. I know Persistence of Time, State of Euphoria, Among The Living, etc. well but I’ve always liked Bush better. That said, I was very cautious coming into Worship Music because this is not MY Anthrax anymore. That said and with a biased opinion already laid out, I can say that this is one un-fucking-believable Anthrax album.
Worship Music is such a metal as fuck album that gets better with repeated listens. It’s truly one of those albums that deserves not only the recognition it’s sure to receive but it’s also an album that should quell any metal fans out there who still don’t believe Anthrax should stand alongside the rest of the “Big 4”.
The band have come full circle with Joey Belladonna back behind the mic crafting a very classic sounding album while still maintaining their signature crunch of recent years. And while I’m at it, can I say how impressed I am with Belladonna here? Most know the history of this album and how it was essentially recorded with another vocalist. It’s been slightly tweaked and restructured but the bare bones are the same and Belladonna definitely comes in and makes it his own. You listen to a song like “The Devil You Know” or “The Constant” and they are immediately recognizable of the Stomp 442 or Volume 8 style of writing but Belladonna owns them with his unique take on not only those ones, but on all of the songs on Worship Music.
I wasn’t a fan of first single “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” but damn, has this one grown on me (Second teaser “The Devil You Know” was still a better representation in my opinion.). Like classics “Madhouse” or “Time Bomb” with a 2011 twist, “Fight ‘Em…” is the perfect example of rejuvenated Anthrax. “Earth On Hell” has some of the greatest 21st century thrash and manages to throw everything from Metallica sized vox to Slayer/Megadeth-style riffing into barely 3 minutes.
“In The End” is the pinnacle of Worship Music. It’s a raging anthemic stomper. Belladonna sings his ass off channelling his inner Bruce Dickinson as the rest of the band lay down a solid march that lasts well over 6 minutes. It’s bar none the most grandiose Anthrax has been with tubular bells in the intro and a real soaring guitar line laid down by Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano (And check out the dual solos happening around the five minute mark!).
Ending with “Revolution Screams”, Anthrax throw all their eggs in one basket with fantastic results. Charlie Benante and Frank Bello work so well together to plant a steady rhythmic foundation while the song just goes off into all kinds of Anthrax-ian territories until the fade out just after six minutes. Still want more? Then don’t “Refuse” yourself some more music and let the track play for the full 16 minutes and get some “New Noise”. You won’t be disappointed.
While Worship Music will not convert me to Belladonnaism anytime soon, it does get me excited for the future of this band. Even I can’t deny that this is one of the best metal records of 2011.
Worship Music is out Tuesday, September 13th. Catch them on tour this fall with the mighty Testament and Death Angel.
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