Anthrax - For All Kings
Megaforce Records
Heavy Metal, Thrash
13 songs (59:37)
Release year: 2016
Anthrax, Megaforce Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

After 2011's terrific Worship Music proved that Anthrax still very much had it, back with Joey Belladonna and back making great music, it's less of a surprise that For All Kings is as good as it is. It's a little more of a grower than Worship Music, a little more given to melodic, almost proggy meandering, yet equally riff-fuelled and well-written. There are a few less hooks, sure, but the catchiest moments are amongst the band's best – I'd go so far as to say that certain songs here could be put up against the band's 80s heyday, despite the fact Anthrax in 2016 are as much of a heavy metal band as a thrash unit. There are moments of thrashiness here, but for the most part the band are content in a slower, more melodic mode, a second gear which works fine for them and produces plenty of ear candy. Opener You Gotta Believe is a great example of this, over seven minutes long but keeping your attention well with plenty of riffs after a killer build-up, Belladonna still sounding like his classic self despite any natural aging. There's a pleasantly mellow interlude section, forming some lovely lead guitar and forming a wonderful build back into a chugging song outro that allows for full widdly showing-off for guitarists Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais (Shadows Fall).

After that strong start, Monster At The End and the title track continue to impress with infectious songs that lead into even catchier choruses, with plenty more impressive guitar widdling along the way. The best song on the album is Breathing Lightning, one of the lightest present but definitely the catchiest and most emotion-laden with an impactful build-up to a perfect chorus and a short but stellar solo, a false ending only adding to the joy. It all adds up to what might be the perfect Anthrax single in 2016, and definitely one of the tracks of the year already for me. Forming the peak of the album, things can't help but feel a little downhill after that, despite the general standard being high: for example, Suzerain's modern thrash opening feeling deceptive as the track goes on to rely on almost ballad-ic vocals and only really returning to chuggy terrain towards the end. Evil Twin and Zero Tolerance have a very classic Anthrax vibe at points, almost feeling like they should belong on Among The Living, while the atmospheric touch given to the nearly eight-minute Blood Eagle Wings is intriguing and feels like it should have been built on more. No disrespect to what is a terrific slow-burning song, but the build, though effective, isn't quite as good as it could have been...

Still, when even late-album potential filler tracks like Defend Avenge and All Of Them Thieves are as solid as they are, there's not much that can fairly be complained about. Mixing thrashy riffs and catchy vocal hooklines, it's Anthrax living up to fans' ideas of what the band should be sounding like. Despite them sounding far better now than in the admittedly patchy (at best!) John Bush era, the closest comparison is the most recent Armored Saint album, Win Hands Down, built around solid guitarwork and excellent songwriting. Although I wouldn't say For All Kings is quite as good, it's equally solid, and as a follow-up to Worship Music is more than good enough. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
You Gotta Believe, Monster At The End, Breathing Lightning, Evil Twin, Blood Eagle Wings, Zero Tolerance
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Anthrax that we have reviewed:
Anthrax - Anthems (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Anthrax - Worship Music reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
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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