Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anthrax-Worship Music

POST # 172

With what may be the longest-awaited album from any of the Big-Four bands of thrash metal, Anthrax display a fine return-to-form effort on their latest: Worship Music. This album sees the in-studio return of Joey Belladonna, who had not sung lead vocals on an Anthrax album since 1990's Persistance of Time! It is also the first Anthrax album of any kind since 2004's The Greater of Two Evils, the studio album that featured John Bush vocals on fan-picked Belladonna-era classics; and the first album of new material since 2003's We've Come For You All. In any case, it's been a long wait for new music from Anthrax!

In hindsight, the '05 reunion seems to have been the starting point of what turned into a huge identity crisis for Anthrax at the lead singer spot. This was a brief reunion with Joey Belladonna (and guitarist Dan Spitz) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic album, Among the Living. After that tour, the band had several attempts to fill the lead-singer spot: Dan Nelson in '07, John Bush in '09. All along the way, the band was working on new material, and with each new singer, new issues were brought up, and the delays for the new album began to mount.

Eventually it would be Belladonna again coming into the fold to give a voice to the band's new material. Joey completing the band's lineup came not a moment too soon, as the first ever performance of the Big Four was announced. Anthrax joined Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica for a series of Sonisphere Festival shows, and thrash metal fans world-wide have been treated to this historic event through its release on DVD.

With Joey on the mic for Worship Music, it really feels like a classic, 80's-era Anthrax album. The album is packed with riffs that sound like instant classics. Joey's voice hasn't lost anything over the years, if anything it sounds better than ever. Heavy mid-tempo riffs, great solos from Rob Caggiano, and a few clean-melodic passages make this a truly memorable album.

In my opinion, the first few tracks on this album are the best, though the whole album is worth hearing.
-Earth On Hell (A somewhat socially conscious track depicting several current events in a brutal light)
-The Devil You Know (A great thrashing song!)
-Fight 'Em Til You Can't (This one goes great with a round of Silent Hill, or Resident Evil- describing battles with zombies!)
-I'm Alive (My TOP pick from this album. Clean guitar intro builds to a heavy riff with tons of groove!)
-In The End (This one has a string-quartet intro. Almost reminds me of Apocalyptica, then it delivers more great thrash riffs)
-Judas Priest (I had to recommend this, simply for the lyrical references to Judas Priest!)

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