Devil's Review: Anthrax – Worship Music

Anthrax – Worship Music

  1. Worship (Intro)
  2. Earth on Hell
  3. The Devil You Know
  4. Fight ’em ‘Til You Can’t
  5. I’m Alive
  6. Hymn 1
  7. In the End
  8. The Giant
  9. Judas Priest
  10. Crawl
  11. The Constant
  12. Revolution Screams

In the mid to late 80’s Anthrax were a popular, dominant force in the thrash metal scene. In the six year period between 1984 to 1990 they released five very solid albums, establishing themselves in what has been called “The Big 4” for many years to come. A lot of controversy that surrounds the band (besides the Public Enemy collaboration), is the seemingly rotating door of members, to include vocalist. Joey Belladonna wasn’t your typical thrash metal vocalist. Besides being able to bark out vocal lines like most thrash singers, Belladonna could actually sing and he added an element to the band that set them apart from their peers. Unfortunately he was fired in 1992 for reasons that I really don’t know.

Replacing Belladonna was former Armored Saint singer, John Bush. The band started a more groove oriented sound and with Bush, a very capable singer, the band released Sound of White Noise in 1993. Sound of White Noise showed an adapting band during an era where Grunge was the new trend and it seemed that metal was in a slump. However, Bush’s vocals fit the bands more modern sound, though I can not say that I really enjoyed the album at the time. It wasn’t until I surprisingly found a cut-out copy of the 2001 remaster at a Dollar Tree in 2008 that I really started to dig this album and it re-sparked an interest in the Bush era Anthrax.

I bought Stomp 442 back in the late 90’s but I never really got in to it. Call it a difference in metal interests at the time, I really don’t know. Regardless, I found myself enjoying that album as well. 1998’s Volume 8 and 2003’s We Come For You All were also solid albums, but it still felt like there could be something more. While I liked those albums, my current interest in the band was still a bit low. I really had no interest in Dan Nelson when they announced him as vocalist in 2007. You tend to lose interest sometimes when a band changes key members sometimes. Even after they ousted Nelson in 2009 and rumors started to float around that Bush would be returning, I still really didn’t care. However, in 2010 when they announced that Joey Belladonna was returning, they had me feeling a bit nostalgic again and very interested.

Worship Music has been in the works for a couple of years now. It was originally recorded with Dan Nelson on vocals and had an expected release date of spring 2009. Obviously that didn’t happen. the beginning of 2010 brought rumors that Belladonna was back. A May press release confirmed it and the tentative album would have Belladonna back on vocals. This was a very smart marketing move now that Joey was back in the band.

Worship Music opens up with an intro that pretty much wastes one minute, forty seconds of your time before launching into a behemoth of an Anthrax album that brings back sounds of old and new. ‘Earth On Hell’, an obvious twist on the normal “Hell On Earth” starts things off with a very thrash/punk crunch that starts things off very well. “Crunchy” is an adjective that I will probably be using quite a bit in this review. The chorus is very catchy as you will find a lot on this album. You start thinking during this first song that Belledonna sounds great and wonder where things will go from here. Have no worries; it only gets better! ‘The Devil You Know’ was the second single that was released earlier this month. It kind of has a certain groove that the Bush era sound had, yet a kind of ‘Caught in A Mosh’ feel to it. ‘Fight ’em Til You Can’t’ was the first single released from this album and a lot of people were not very impressed with the chorus. I think most people are greatly mistaken when they describe it as having a “metalcore” feel to it and I, as well as many other people, feel that it has more of a “power metal” sound. You’ll find a few of these moments on the album. Most were not impressed with this song, but I loved it. Hey, if you expected another Among The Living, wake up. It’s 2011.

With the fifth track, ‘I’m Alive’, you almost think they are slowing things down just a hair and in a way you might be right. Things pick up rather quickly though. Belladdona’s range has already been tested with the first three songs and he has passed with flying colors. ‘I’m Alive’ obliterates any doubt you might have had about Joey’s current abilities to sing both high and low ranges. The chugging rhythms and solos in this track are top notch, but Joey’s vocals are the highlight of this tune in my opinion. It’s catchy and perhaps a bit main-streamy, but it’s nothing short of amazing. This is perhaps my favorite song from the album, but it’s difficult to pick just one on Worship Music.

‘In The End’. Wow. Another epic sounding track with a cool chorus line. “Can’t take it. Won’t Break it. In the End I’m pounding on the door but it’s already over. Too little, too late. In the end you’ll be the light in my door for when the sun goes down, for when the sun goes down on me.” The overall vibe of this song doesn’t sound like anything Anthrax has ever done before and I think that is what sets a lot of this album apart from their past album. Easily another favorite.

The rest of the album is amazing as well. Although some of the crunchy rhythms may sound a bit repetitive here and there, they are separated with killer leads and grand choruses. No filler on Worship Music. While Anthrax has reached back a bit to bring their earlier thrash sound in to the mix, they have also infused enough of their post-joey sound to keep things modern and interesting. Joey Belladonna’s voice, while it has changed over the last 24 years, is still strong and very competent. I don’t know how these songs sounded with Dan Nelson singing, but I would be willing to bet that Joey brought things to a much higher level. If you had any doubts about Anthrax and Worship Music, set them aside and allow yourself the privilege of hearing this album. Fans of both the Bush and Belladonna eras should find this album very enjoyable. Worship was worth the  8 and/or 21 year wait.

Anthrax – Worship Music will be released on September 13th via  Megaforce Records (in the U.S.) and Nuclear Blast (In Europe). Worship Music deserves a solid 9.5 out of 10.

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One response to “Devil's Review: Anthrax – Worship Music

  1. Finally got past my stubbornness and listened to this. I’m glad I did because honestly this could be my favorite Anthrax album…ever. That’s not saying a whole lot because I was never a big fan anyways but Joey sounds phenomenal here and if he sang like this on earlier material I would have been a fan.

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