REVIEW: AnthraxFor All Kings (2016)

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If you’re a well-learned music fan then, you should, need no introduction to Anthrax. After all they are paired with the Big 4 – alongside Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth – and have for many years been very active in the metal community, no doubt paving the way for younger bands. Their last record, 2013’s Worship Music (and their debut for Nuclear Blast), I felt was very a good record, though more like a stretching of their limbs seeing as the band had, up until the album’s release, gone through some difficulty in finding a permanent vocalist until Joey stepped into the fold again. With Joey onboard, the band knuckled down and released Worship Music and right across the board, it seemed, fans far and wide loved it. Up until that point I had only known of Anthrax and not their music, so Worship Music was a complete and utter revelation for me. I wanted more, but I would have to wait until the next record, though the band have a mouth-watering wealth of previous material to check out. The only real talking point of For All Kings may be the changing of guitarists, with Rob soon joining Volbeat after his departure, and Shadows Fall guitarist Jonathan Donias stepping in on a temporary basis, though he was soon made a permanent member. Sure, when a long-time member of the band departs there are, naturally, going to be a few questions raised and maybe some concern, but I feel that Jonathan is more than capable of handling the Anthrax chops. In October last year, the band released the first single, “Evil Twin”, as a taster for the upcoming record, which was just released a few days ago. The band also, last month, released “Breathing Lightning” as their second single. In comparison to their last album (because that is the only thing I can compare it to), I feel that For All Kings is a more straight forward album, an album which from the very first track, “You Gotta Believe”, really shows its teeth. Even the introductory track “Impaled” leads straight into “You Gotta Believe”, so it’s all good. From there on in, Anthrax, track after track, deliver one of the best albums they’ve produced since their reformation Joey, though that might not be saying a lot since they’ve only done two albums. Make of it what you will, but I certainly think this is a fine album. Even the lightest song on this album, the minute-long interlude “Breathing Out”, doesn’t feel out-of-place. There is also a hint of progress on this album too. Usually when I think of thrash metal records I tend to think of 4- or 5-minute songs rather than almost 8-minute epics, of which we see with “Blood Eagle Wings” on this record, and again much a soft song like “Breathing Out”, it doesn’t feel out-of-place on this album. On the first few listens I was a bit unsure. It’s certainly an album which takes its time to grow on you, although it’s very rare that nowadays any album I instantly like from the get-go, so possibly this is a normal thing now. Anyways, For All Kings is a great album, every track is excellent and there isn’t a moment wasted.

RATING: 4 / 5

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