It’s been eight years since the last Anthrax studio outing. However for many, more importantly, its been 21 years since the last studio outing for Anthrax with Joey Belladona at the helm. ‘Persistance Of Time’ was Belladona’s swansong back in 1990, or so we thought. In all fairness John Bush picked up the reins admirably, and Anthrax still managed to be exceptionally awesome with him up front. Now we have ‘Worship Music’, the album that old school ‘Thrax fans have been nursing semi’s about for ages, and ‘new school’ fans have just been salivating at the prospect of anything new… So, with huge hype and big stories about who was in and who was out when which song was written, does it cut the mustard, or do we have another underwhelming “comeback” on our hands?
Good news… it’s not another ‘Death Magnetic’, you dont have to pretend to be blown away just because of who it is. It’s solid, and it’s just pretty much Anthrax through and through. There’s something for everyone spanning the multi Anthrax generations; the Belladona army will mosh themselves stupid with the crunching ‘Earth Is On Hell’, ‘Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t’ and the practically radio friendly ‘The Devil You Know’, whilst the Bush era faithful will be happy in their hoodies with the likes of ‘Crawl’ and ‘I’m Alive’; huge melodies hanging over the slow burning, heavy, ominous machine-like rhythmic backdrop of Scott Ian.
The band are tighter than ever, Bello, Ian and Benante are so comfortable together they unite as one, and Rob Caggiano completes the current Anthrax puzzle perfectly. His lead work fluid and effective, complimenting the tracks without descending into self congratulating widdlefests. ‘Judas Priest’ for example has some particularly flavoursome fretwork in it.
‘Worship Music’ is an album that ‘Thrax fans will lap up. It cements their status within the Big 4, and challenges a top three finish. It’s familiar and comfortable and what you would expect from these veterans. It checks all the Anthrax boxes; comic book-esque titles, Zombie and horror film references aplenty, huge faultless rhythms, soaring vocals and the immense power to make the listener want to mosh. Because of this familiarity, you cant help but listen and think “this riff sounds like …” or, “this track could easily be on…” as they borrow from their huge repertoire, but why should Anthrax do anything other than what they do best? This album could easily be the natural progression from ‘Persistance Of Time’.