Anthrax

"Worship Music"

by Noel Edge

In 5 Words or Less Back with a vengeance!
Value Paid $10 » Worth $9
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None
Explicit? Occasionally
Genre and Mood This metal album bleeds energy and aggression!
Notable Track "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" (very well constructed tune with a powerful pre-chorus and a hard-driving melodic chorus - this song burnt into my memory immediately), "The Devil You Know" (this is the kinda tune that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up), "Earth On Hell", "Revolution Screams" and "I'm Alive"
Songwriting & Musicianship Don't get me wrong, I have always liked Anthrax, but my main beefs with their previous recordings have been Joey Belladonna's voice and the lack of bottom-end in their drum sound (I'll deal with this point under "Production" below). Well folks...times have changed. I think this is Joey's best work to date. His voice is powerful and he doesn't sound like he's straining to hit the notes (which made him sound whiney in the past). He stays within his range (which is pretty broad) and belts out tunes with passion. The guitar work is top notch, with intricate leads and complex riffs. The rhythm section kicks! Let me go on the record by saying that Charlie Benante is highly underrated. Dave (the "Godfather of the double bass") Lombardo and Lars Ulrich may get the most recognition of the Big 4 drummers, but Charlie's work on this album (check out "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" for example) is second to none; pure mastery of the double bass and toms! In a word...phenomenal.
Production The guitars have their patented "Anthrax crunch" to them. I've always been a fan of Frank Bello's round bass sound, but the flat rumble works too. Now, let's get to my beef with the drum sound mentioned above. The boys have finally produced an overall kit sound that is full and rich, with deep tones. Couple this with Charlie's playing and it's audio gold.

I think Anthrax made a great choice in enlisting the talented Jay Ruston to mix and assist with production on this album. Check out his work on Steel Panther's albums and you'll see what I mean.
What Else You Should Know Unlike another one of the other Big 4 bands (who shall remain nameless), Anthrax has relied on what I call the "anchor riff formula" when constructing songs. The "anchor riff" is a track's riff that serves as the basis for the song. In "The Devil You Know", it's the riff for the verses. They use it often, explore variations of it, deviate from it and come back to it. This is a MAJOR ISSUE I had with "Death Magnetic" (oops! I guess they're no longer nameless). Just when I was getting into a tune from that album (released in 2008...what have you done for us lately?), it went off in 10 different directions for 8 minutes more. While I've been a fan of Anthrax since "Fistful of Metal" was released in '84, I've never been a bigger fan than I am right now!

Contact Noel at noeledge@knewgeneration.com