Anthrax - Worship Music
Megaforce Records
Thrash, Heavy Metal
13 songs (1:05:44)
Release year: 2011
Anthrax, Megaforce Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Full length number ten from the New Yorkers is an expectation-confounder and a half. After the non-stop drama over their choice of frontmen in recent years, the band struggling to remain relevant since at least 2003’s patchy We’ve Come For You All, it seemed like those of us still willing to call ourselves Anthrax fans were doomed to disappointment. After all, Worship Music has been ready for release since 2009, but after Dan Nelson ‘resigned’ from the band (depending on who you believe...) and John Bush rejoined and then left again the only recourse seemed to be getting Joey Belladonna back, for the second time after he was originally fired back in 1992. Confused yet? I sure am.

Despite their past troubles, however, and despite Worship Music’s daft title and artwork (which seems too similar to We’ve Come For You All’s for comfort) it’s a pleasant surprise when you actually start listening to it and hear a mature, professional album full of great songs. Opener Worship (Intro) is a pleasant, tasteful bit of cello, soon turning to outright blastbeats as first track proper Earth On Hell romps in, powerful riffs and vocal hooks aplenty with what is virtually a tech-thrash base notable underneath that hearkens back to Persistence Of Time above all. It’s easily a better opening track than What Doesn’t Die, and that it’s one of many high points goes to show the strength of this album. Following anthems The Devil You Know and Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t refer back to classic Anthrax without copying it outright, a modern sheen coating the songs without diluting their essential power. And this isn’t the dreary groove-filled dullness of the Stomp 442 era, but genuinely good songwriting that throws in little twists and turns to keep you listening.

Sure, there’s the odd bit of hard rockin’ semi-balladry, but even that manages to exceed expectations, the lead-guitar-fuelled I’m Alive as anthemic and catchy as any of the thrashier tracks. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Anthrax can even handle interludes now, the little Hymn pieces breaking up the album well. To be honest, wherever you turn on this album you’re faced with great songwriting, the slow, almost power-metal-epic In The End, which takes a turn towards stomping anthem crowdpleaser partway through; the sort of grandly serious songwriting which Anthrax should have been doing for years now. They’re still capable of exercising your neck muscles, too, as The Giant proves, hard rock chorus mixing with thrashy riffed verses to great effect. The slightly odd Judas Priest is a wonderful song once you’ve gotten over how much it sounds like an Iced Earth experiment from one of their recent albums, and although Belladonna sounds distinctly Bush-y on the grooviest track present, Crawl, it doesn’t stop it being a great song.

By the time you’ve reached closing one-two The Constant and Revolution Screams, it’s hard to think of any criticisms at all. Anthrax may not have produced another Among The Living or Persistence of Time here, but was anyone ever expecting that? Even the hidden cover of Refused’s New Noise works well – covering a Swedish band infamous for their ‘rather be forgotten/than be remembered for giving in’ mantra quite ballsy for a band that released four live albums, three DVDs and two compilations in a single five-year space! Yet I’m ultimately willing to forgive Anthrax even this thanks to Worship Music, the sort of comeback album that others can only dream of. I found myself quite amazed at how good Belladonna sounds, above all, a return from the brink that simply must rehabilitate the man in fans’ eyes and ears – and the band in those of metalheads in general.

Killing Songs :
Earth On Hell, The Devil You Know, Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t, I’m Alive, In The End, The Giant, Judas Priest, Revolution Screams
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Anthrax that we have reviewed:
Anthrax - For All Kings reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Anthrax - Anthems (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Anthrax - Volume 8 - The Threat Is Real reviewed by Goat and quoted 55 / 100
Anthrax - Persistence Of Time reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Anthrax - State Of Euphoria reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 19 reviews click here
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