ANTHRAX - Worship Music [Review]

Genre: Thrash Metal

Label: Megaforce (U.S), Nuclear Blast (Europe)

Release date: September 13th 2011

Reviewer: Tristan French

It’s been 8 years since Anthrax’s last studio release. In that time they’ve been through 3 vocalists, two years of recording/production, and most recently, a string of shows alongside fellow Big 4 members Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. The wait is finally over, as after regaining their true frontman and in the process their metal legs, in 2011’s “Season of Returns”, Anthrax have unleashed their latest studio opus, “Worship Music” upon the waiting world. It’s like they never left!

The haunting album opener “Worship” sets an almost evil overtone (similar to Slayer’s “Hell Awaits") leading into the ever thrashy “Earth On Hell” providing a real punch to the jaw for listeners. This thrash-gasmic opening is an indication that Anthrax are as good as ever, with Charlie Benante’s epic drums leading this trashy charge into combat, while the chorus provides an awesome time change, adding a progressive element to this otherwise thrashy bird. This track is almost reminiscent of the opening track of the ‘thrax’s debut album “Fistful Of Metal”, only a hell of a lot ballsier and vocally, more controlled. In short, the ‘thrax are back for us all!

The album flows pretty violently (in a good way) into tracks “The Devil You Know” and lead single “Fight ‘Em ‘Till You Can’t.” Both of these tracks sound like they were written back in the heyday of Bay Area Thrash, with modern twists added to them. “The Devil You Know”’s ferocity is contrasted by an extremely melodic and meticulous solo by lead guitarist Rob Caggiano, finally able to prove his metal after being somewhat underused on 2003’s “We’ve Come For You All”. The album’s intro/outro are reflective of a heartbeat in many ways, circulating and getting faster whilst getting the song rolling (and a fast roll at that.) “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t” ‘s music however is also reflected in it’s lyrics, a chaotically “Metal thrashing mad” song about the Zombie Apocalypse. With the resinous opening chords being almost reflective of Armageddon , leading into a main riff that literally makes you feel like beating up zombies! (courtesy of rhythm guitarist Scott Ian.)

Vocally, this song proves that singer Joey Belladona is simply the man, and that this album could not have been done without him. The wild assault of words in the chorus, followed by the awesome melody of the words “I’ll end you” are a true indication that Belladona, is and always was Anthrax’s definitive frontman (and that’s not only because his vocals are on most of the songs that define Anthrax!)

Groovefest track “I’m Alive” is up next, and in all honesty it’s probably my favorite track on the record. From its slow building, “woah-oh” sing-a-long intro, into the song’s fist pumping groovey main riff, this is sure to be a fan favorite. Once demoed by short lived vocalist Dan Nelson under the title “Vampyres” (I know right?), this track showcases Anthrax’s ability to write anthems while keeping it in the vein of thrash; similar to songs such as “Madhouse” or “Spreading the Disease”. A track that’s sure to have audiences singing along, banging their heads, or at least tapping their feet, this groove is inescapable. Seriously, if there were a song to define “fight music” then this would be it!

In a sort of intermission, the record goes string section, with “Hymn 1”, which is fair enough considering the already awesome assault that we’ve been lead on, we’d need a chance to unwind. However, this subsequent unwinding is short lived as the album marches back to the frontlines with yet another head banger, “In The End”, from it’s slightly strange yet awesome vocal melodies, to it’s tempo change to become more of a mid tempo fist raiser, Anthrax display that they know their audience and know all too well how to toy with our minds and expectations, exceeding them continuously.

Back to some old school thrash sound (seriously, this track sounds like it was made in the 80s) with “The Giant” , before the interval of “Hymn 2”. Following this are melodic-tastic “Judas Priest” , the calm and more laid back “Crawl” (most likely the softest song vocally on the record) and the sludgingly groovery “The Constant.” Closing the record as they started it, Anthrax leave us lingering with the, and I mean THE thrashiest track on the album, “Revolution Screams”. Decorated with unexpected tempo changes, this song is most definitely assured to leave a lasting impression on all listeners.

Conversely, the one negative aspect of this record is that it gears towards a formula, which is apparent on certain songs on the record, after about the 5th groovey time change. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and given that this album has taken 2 years to make, and is the band’s first in 8, it’s quite a stellar achievement. Anthrax have proved that they can stand on equal ground to their Big 4 counterparts, producing probably the best thrash metal record for a while now. I’m rating Worship Music as an 8/10

As former frontman Dan Nelson once said, “Anthrax is back motherfuckeerrs!”

Order "Worship Music" via Amazon: CD | Mp3

Leave a comment