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The early 00's was the decade when great metal bands failed to impress their die-hard fans with their material being mostly focused on masses who where into the modern bands that flourished at that time. Thus, Anthrax was influenced by these bands' music and therefore decided to produce an album that combined their groovy sound which was established from their previous albums such as Stomp 442 and Sound Of White Noise with new elements that those modern bands used. The result was.... a disappointment. However the thing that bothered me the most is that there are people who actually praise this abomination and consider it "a return to the old school Anthrax from the 80's". So this is my review of this record in which I will explain why this is one of the worst albums in the whole discography of Anthrax.
The album starts dynamically with "What Doesn't Die" which would be an okay thrasher if it weren't for its shitty guitar melody played during the chorus and the irritating Kirk Hammett-style wah wah solo at the end. Then unfortunately, the entire record suddenly falls apart with "Superhero" being the next song with its spastic dururururururu riff being played over and over again+ some distorted singing. Next is "Refuse To Be Denied" which starts with an acoustic guitar segment and then John Bush unleashes the classic "shitty nu-metal scream" which can be met being executed on every modern groove metal band. When you get to the chorus, guess what! more crappy singing with effects: "R-e-e-e-e-f-u-s-e-d t-o b-e d-e-n-i-ed". After that, the listener is treated with a power ballad, "Safe Home" which fails to qualify as an Anthrax song. I mean, I've seen bands such as Megadeth and Overkill with vocalists that aren't meant to sing calmly that totally nailed "In My Darkest Hour" and "The Years Of Decay" respectively. Main conclusion of "Safe Home".... it sucks. Another track that is absolutely horrible, is "Black Dahlia" which starts with Bush rapping some lyrics and then suddenly *Poof* he turns into a metalcore singer, while he splutters some words that are completely incomprehensible to the human ear due to the once again retarded distorted vocals. By the time I heard all these songs, I subsequently gave up on listening the rest of the record knowing that there's no use on listening the rest of the album if you are at the middle of its duration and you still haven't heard a decent track.
I don't usually judge an album from its production (Take Exodus' "Impact Is Imminent" as an example. Terrible production but amazing songwriting) but all the instruments here just don't sound right. First of all, the guitars are tuned at Drop Z tuning with shitty amp settings. Then, I can barely hear the bass on most songs. Did they hire Jason Newsted to play here?? The only instrument that actually sounds all right to my ears, is the drum snare but then again the double pedal sounds like it is hitting pizza boxes. Of course, I shouldn't forget the vocals. God they fucked up so much in that section. I wonder how John Bush reacted when he found out he was going to sing embarrassing lines such as the "screaming" and the stupid rap on "Black Dahlia". But you can't blame the man. Everyone knows that the main masterminds behind this piece of shit album are Ian and Benante with their tendency of going commercial at that time and not staying loyal to their fans.
Overall, I consider "We've Come For You All" a failure, a record that could damage their reputation as one of the bands that define the thrash genre. I would rather they made an album that is plain mid to slow paced heavy metal similar to "Black Album" or since they made an acoustic cover of "Safe Home" they could have filled the album with acoustic covers of commonly known songs instead of treating fans with this garbage and then claiming "THIS IS OLD SCHOOL THRASH FUCKER!".
This album was hyped by the label and stated by the music critics to be a 'return to form' for Anthrax, a return to the melodic, wonderful style with comical lyrics, flying vocals and a solid rhythm section. This couldn't be further from the truth; it is merely a continuation of what the band have been doing with vocalist John Bush since 1993, with Sound of White Noise. However, rather than tastefully incorporating the grunge-tinged grooves of that album, the outright groove metal of Volume 8, or not so tastefully incorporating the generic hard rock of Stomp, they have added in some modern (for the time) nu 'metal' garbage.
Upon getting past the pretty cool, if not essential, intro 'Contact' this album once again roars in with the strong opener 'What Doesn't Die'. It brings to mind 'Potters Field' with the high speed pounding from Charlie. The song thrashes along very well, with some solid and aggressive riffs, and despite a solo that sounds like a slightly worse version of Dimebag Darrell, this is most certainly a highlight, not just of Bush-fronted Anthrax, but of their discography as a whole.
But then, well, it all falls apart from here. 'Superhero', 'Strap It On' and especially 'Taking the Music Back' are a few examples of the bulk of this album's material. They are about as close to the nu as Anthrax have gotten (at the time of writing this- given the past this lineup could break up any day). They all have sizable sections that are based upon vocals with mute, chugging guitars, with a worrying return to a rapped vocal style in some places, that puts me in mind of Stomp 442 That weird guitar noise floating upon an entirely generic chug riff in 'Superhero', this does not sound good at all, far too much like Korn, as well as being very grating on its own. Let’s not talk about the 'jumpdafuckup' section of 'Strap It On', either. 'Taking The Music Back' was made specifically for the radio and MTV play; it features really dumb guitar parts and lyrics pandering to the crowds. This song puts me in mind of 'Nothing' from 1995, only a bit less catchy. Radio oriented songs like these are not inherently awful ('Only' and 'Black Lodge' were excellent singles, for instance) but this is just bad. It is unintelligent and very cheesy, even for this album. 'Nobody Knows Anything' and especially 'Cadillac Rock Box' sound like an alternative tinged Volume 8. However, a lack of Dimebag Darrell, the guitar tone, and the vocal performance of most alt rock bands of time, prevent this from sounding like the better moments of said preceding album. However, they do at least sound a bit like Anthrax, and refrain from the Korn staples for their runtimes. The former in particular is oddly appealing, being a light, air-headed rocker, like a less aggressive 'Fueled' from Stomp. Though not quite as good as 'What Doesn't Die', and still not good by Bush era standards, it is at least listenable. The whole stop - start nonsense in the former song's riffs and the effect in the background is a bit irritating, especially since said riff is decent, but these tracks are better than the nu 'metal' songs overall, for featuring actual riffs, a lack of a grating rapped vocal style, and not coughing up some awful guitar effects or other ideas from the 'modern' bag.
This leaves the few stylistic outliers. 'Crash' is a pointless one minute interlude, trying to serving the same roles as 'Contact' by being atmospheric, an interlude and filler all in one. However, fails all of these; being not very atmospheric, and too short to effectively pad out the running time or serve as a rest stop. Also, and I hate to parrot on about this, but this is far too nu 'metal': very reminiscent of the likes of 'The Burning Red's' title track by Machine Head, but not quite as ridiculous. A vocal performance that is drenched in effects and no real instruments to be heard. 'Safe Home' is a radio ballad in the vein of 'Black Lodge', 'Bare' or 'Pieces'. While the song is cheesy, it manages to be more powerful than 'Bare', as well as not merging into a 'groove rock' song later on. However, it never rekindles the magic seen in 'Pieces' or 'Black Lodge' though, by a long shot. Sounds way too much like certain alt radio rock bands that polluted the airwaves in the late ‘90s and were still trendy at this point, and thus fail to have any emotional effects upon the listener, other than severe cringing or outright laughter from the corniness.
'Black Dahlia' was quite a surprise to be honest. It’s a very short song that features a really driven verse section and a very intense interlude. The chorus is non-grating, and catchy too, the former being a rarity for this album's pansy sounding nu styled choruses. The blasting and tremolo riffing is a nice touch too, but this certainly isn't the 'death metal' song people claimed it to be, even if it does transport you away from the awfulness of this album. It is still great nonetheless, a highlight of the Bush era and Anthrax in general.
Well, that just leaves the production really. It kind of sounds like how not to fix the issues with Sound of White Noise's production. The guitars sound about as muddy as said album, but of a deeper nature, and doesn't give this 90's feel I always harp on about. The drums, though very heavy, are too damn high in the mix, meaning moments like 'What Doesn't Die' or 'Black Dahlia' are drowned out by the thundering skins. As stated earlier, many of these songs have overly loud vocals that drown out the guitars too, when the drums aren't doing the same. This is probably the worst production job of any Bush era album, as it really grates on the ears at times. This might actually be worse than the production of their debut 'Fistful of Metal', and that is saying something.
And that is that really; upon the closing of the unbearably dull and nu title track, with its alternating quiet verses and loud climactic choruses (that aren't climactic at all), that is Anthrax's return to form. Two great songs and one other decent rocker is an appalling hit rate in album with 12 full length songs. This is not a return to form, and actually strays further from metal than before. While this is more captivating than Stomp 442, not sounding as forced, 'samey' and at least with some true highlights, this is still one of Anthrax's worst. For those who enjoy the likes of Volume 8 and to a lesser extent, White Noise, just download 'Black Dahlia', 'What Doesn't Die' and maybe 'Cadillac Rock Box'. Else, stay the hell away.
The cover art is quite something surreal; it shows people going along with what these guys play on here!
On what was hailed as their comeback album, Anthrax return with 'We've Come For You All', featuring new guitarist Rob Caggiano (also a producer), to try and set things straight after what had been a pretty tame 10 years since their last great album, 'Sound of White Noise'.
If you never got the album when it was first released (like me), you instantly look what it was up against from Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth. 'God Hates Us All', 'St Anger' and 'The System Has Failed' are all so different, with only one song between them even approaching thrash, Deth's 'Kick The Chair', I really wondered what the heck Anthrax would come out with in the new millenium. Bearing in mind the band hadn't released anything thrash metal since their peak in 1991 ('Persistence of Time'), and knowing the kind of people who raved about this album (hard rockers, your average John Bush fan), I never gave any thought to actually getting the album. Why bother right? Those three albums above were amongst those band's worst efforts (although Megadeth have released much worse before and since), all I'd be doing is completing the set.
Thankfully, even if there are no elements of thrash to be found on 'We've Come...', it's still an enjoyable listening experience, perhaps Anthrax's best in what must have been a very long 10 years. The music is as simple as ever, basic modern metal with groove elements, but with some great riffs and quite a memorable vocal performance from John Bush. It's hard to pick the best from this lot, because whilst each song is quite similar in quality, there aren't any real standouts either. There is a reasonable amount of variation on here, 'Cadillac Rock Box' is an airheaded and annoyingly feel-good southern rocker (featuring, who else, Dimebag), the 'American Pompeii'-esque 'Think About An End', perhaps the album's most accomplished track, with a second half descending in to Thin Lizzy like guitar attacks, and 'Safe Home' is easily the lamest thing the band has ever tried to get on to the radio, just look out the chorus:
'From out of nowhere you came strong as stone,
and now I never have to be a lone,
What it is I know: you have always been my safe home,
I walk, I run, I burn out in to you: you have always bee my safe home,
My whole world has moved on!'
But at the same time, thanks to a not entirely conventional singer in John Bush, it's not as offensive to your ears as you'd expect. In fact, I have to say I enjoy it. It might make the true-metallers cry foul, but for general music fans like myself, it's a perfectly acceptable single. It's not a perfect song in any way shape or form, and I would never choose to listen to it when faced with any other song on the album, but there's no denying it's a successful venture in to that unfortunate style of music.
There isn't much to rant or rave about guitar wise, beyond a brilliant riff or two (the strange death metal section in 'Black Dahlia', the second half of 'Think About An End'), and not once can I remember hearing the bass guitar do anything special. The most impressive things on 'We've Come For You All' are the vocals and the drumming. John Bush gives 110%, and definately seems to have improved his singing over the years. He basically exists to take this disc to the next level, from an average modern metal album to a collection of memorable anthems. Admittedly, they aren't strong enough to replace any of the real classics (your 'Caught In A Mosh', or your 'A.I.R.') in the setlist (no matter what the band thinks), but this is purely the fault of Scott and Charlie for writing such unadorned music in the first place. Bush just adds a special extra layer. On the other hand, and what I find most ironic, Charlie's drumming is practically without fault. Between the hyperbeats of 'What Doesn't Die' and 'Nobody Knows Anything' we're given a solid performance, with the odd fill here and there adding some much needed flavour.
My only real complaints are that the guitar tone doesn't hit hard enough on songs like 'What Doesn't Die', not doing the riffwork any favours, and generally being a too muddy for my tastes. 'Contact' and 'Crash' are worthless 'atmospheric' filler that I feel could easily have been left out and, along with the title track (arguably the least exciting track on the album) and one of the many interchangeable tracks on 'We've Come...' (pick your own), drag out this album far too long. The band's accessibility just can't stay interesting for 12 tracks (discounting 'Contact' and 'Crash'), and as much as appreciate most of the songs, I wouldn't care if I never heard them again.
All in all, there's not a bad or unenjoyable song on 'We've Come For You All', although the title track is a terribly flat way to end the album. Whilst it never quite lives up to 'Sound...' - the crowning moment in Bush era Anthrax - 'We've Come For You All' is a nice attempt at trying to claw back some attention for themselves from metal and rock fans. Not that it really did.
Rebirth? Rebirth of what exactly? Compared to their previous two studio efforts, ‘We've Come for You All’ was indeed a rebirth of inspiration for Anthrax. It was, however, not the promised rebirth of their eighties sound. But did they actually promise that? I can hardly remember. It probably was their label and such who did that. ‘We've Come for You All’ just simply perfects and crystallises the path already set in by their earlier Volume8 album on which the band had regained their humour, dynamics and, most of all, willingness to just try some stuff.
The metal side of the album delivers most of the time in terms of quality groove metal material. The strong opener ‘What Doesn’t Die’ is heavy. Not as good as the openers on Sound Of White Noise nor Volume8, but very good indeed. Good drive, catchy enough chorus. ‘Superhero’ has that violent-video-game kind of catchy riffing with a stompin’ midpaced drive and the main riff from 'Any Place But Here' could have come straight from Metallica’s black album or even Load, thus being very catchy and nineties-proof. Nice waltzing on 'Refuse To Be Denied' by the way. It’s post-thrash or groove metal or whatever you want to call it, but these are some good songs simply because the band does deliver in the riff and performance departments. Best metal song here, performance wise, is 'Nobody Knows Anything', a showcase for Charlie Benante to just funk it out!
Just like 'Black Lodge' and 'Harms Way' on earlier Bush-era releases this album delivers another (semi) ballad, 'Safe Home'. Not as good as Black Lodge but much better than Harms Way and especially the guitars during the middle section are sheer beauty!
The rest of the album however truly fails to deliver. Even though 'Black Dahlia' is possibly the most aggressive song on the album, that black metal riff and blast speed drums make the song sound like a parody. I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way but it just feels like a collection of leftovers from SOD’s Bigger Than The Devil sessions. A failure, just like that other joke, 'Cadillac Rock Box', a very generic rock tune which goes in one ear and out the other. Other songs like 'Taking the Music Back', 'Thinking about an End' and the title track only have a few good ideas hidden within the composition but just don’t impress nor even convince as a whole. Worthless fillers.
Yes, indeed this was once again a small step forward for Anthrax. But because of the large amount of fillers, they still did not come close to their best effort with Bush, The Sound Of White Noise. However it does come in second place from the 1992-2003 era. But to those, craving something even remotely similar to the Belladonna days, stay clear.
It's not too surprising that my feelings about "We've Come For You All" after the first few listens were mainly of disappointment. During the period that this album was released, as well in smaller amounts in the years after, this was labeled as a true return to form; a return to the thrash days of yore. Of course these days it seems like every time a band from the 80s releases an album, people are jumping all over it as a "return to form," which in reality is true only 30% of the time, if that. At that time, however, I was more naive to those sorts of claims.
After a year or two of being banished underneath my bed to collect dust, I pulled out the album again and listened to it one last time to determine whether I should get a small return by selling the album to a local music store. When I listened this time, I was able to appreciate "We've Come For You All" a bit more. This is because my expectations for this album were different. I knew that I was getting an album that was quite different from their releases from the 80s.
For the record, there is no thrash to be found here. A couple of songs could be classified as metal, but most of the material is hard rock with a metal influence. The songs are mostly mid-paced with simple riffs and most of the songs focusing on the vocals, especially on creating a platform for a catchy chorus. This will obviously turn many Anthrax and metal fans off because one of the things that made Anthrax so great in their heyday was Scott Ian's furious thrash riffs.
The main reason that this album is worth listening to is because of John Bush. He gives his best performance with Anthrax and you can tell he's giving 110%. His choruses are memorable and he sings the faster songs really well too. He takes otherwise mediocre songs such as "Refuse To Be Denied" and "Superhero." He does his best to salvage "Safe Home," but that song was pretty much DOA from the beginning. "Any Place But Here" would have been a much better choice for a single because of its catchy theme and excellent chorus.
The best song on this recording is probably "What Doesn't Die." It's certainly a fast song (not thrash) and Bush again gives a great performance. Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano plays one of his only solos on the record which also happens to be one of the only decent solos on the album. Scott Ian and Charlie Benante play the rest of the solos and while Benante is STILL a better lead guitarist than Ian even after all these years (he had the better solos on "Speak English or Die" also), but neither are able to do anything especially interesting as far as leads go. Charlie Benante has always been an amazing drummer and he has done a fine job filling many of the songs with insane hyper-speed drumming; it's a shame that he couldn't write better music to go with it.
Overall this is certainly no return to form, but it's far better than anything Anthrax has done since "The Sound of White Noise." Once one gets past the fact that this isn't a thrash album, (I had high hopes for "W.C.F.Y.A." but it's just a lousy mid-paced song), then one can appreciate it for the decent hard rock album that it is. Obviously this is far from essential, but John Bush's vocal performance makes this album worth owning, especially for those who are fans of his singing. I've seen several copies of this in local bargain bins, so at that price this is definitely worth it.
Anybody who was listening to heavy music is the early 00’s cannot deny the phenomenon of that…thing…they called numetal. Everybody and their mother was listening to Linkin Park, every new band on the local scenes was adding rapped lyrics to their mindless chugging, and a lot of the old-guard extreme metal bands unfortunately got on the bandwagon. But now with a lot of the genre’s mainstay acts enjoying greatly diminished popularity, a lot of people think the whole thing is dead and gone. Well I got some bad news kids, numetal ain’t dead. New bands spring up all of the time, but since their albums don’t have “Limp Bizkit” or “Slipknot” plastered on the cover, it seems some people have deemed it groove metal or some other erroneous shitdick tag to mask its true nature. Five Finger Death Punch, for instance, is complete and total fucking mallcore shielded behind the groove tag. In fact, so is Anthrax of late. Have people completely forgotten what numetal sounds like, or are they just unwilling to admit it when one of their beloved acts starts playing it?
We’ve Come For You All is the ninth Anthrax studio album and it is just as utterly terrible as one might expect by their late 90’s offerings. Just as with the two abortions that preceded it, what we get with WCFYA is another blending of the groovy psuedo-thrash of late-period Pantera (“What Doesn’t Die) with vocal-oriented numetal like Puddle of Mudd (“Safe Home”) and the alt. rock of the Foo Fighters (“Taking the Music Back”). This from the band that brought us balls-out fucking thrash like that found on Spreading the Disease. There’s nothing remotely similar to that album here, nor is there anything to redeem it musically. Charlie Benante is the only member with a shred of talent and he keeps all his emphasis on his double bass technique. The riffs suck, the ‘solos’ suck, the bass sucks, the lyrics suck, Scott Weiland…I mean John Bush’s vocals suck; the whole thing is just grating. At its best, it wishes it was Reload (the verses of “Any Place But Here”) and at worst….well….listen to “Superhero.” Listen to that riff and the noisy guitar thing floating above it: this is something Korn would do. There’s lots of distorted vocals and uninspired clean riffs too, because these are things that the mallcore crowd enjoys. And apparently Anthrax enjoys them too, because there really is a boatload of crappy gimmicks like this.
There aren’t any highlights to albums like this, but how about some lowlights? “What Doesn’t Die” lampoons thrash metal with low-tuned guitars and plain-Jane Pantera riffs, the kind that you can’t pay attention to anyway because the vocals are so loud. And then the chorus drops all pretenses of metal for what is THE mallcore chorus of the album. Similarly, “Black Dahlia” has a mock extreme metal chorus: it combines a blast beat, a generic tremolo picked riff, and distorted vocals. No thanks. “Taking the Music Back” has that Puddle of Mudd chorus, while “Think About An End” wins the “most ironic title” award. I’ve been thinking about an end to this shitstorm since I started playing it. And if fifty minutes of aural torment is not enough, some versions have bonus tracks…
The only debatable quality to the album is as to whether or not it’s really worse than Stomp 442 and Volume 8. And that, unlike “this album really fucking blows,” is hard to say. It’s probably just a case of whichever album you’ve had to suffer through most recently. But anyway you slice it, it ain’t pretty. It’s numetal through and through and that’s reason enough to avoid it. Add in the fact that it’s Anthrax at their most embarrassing and you should be petitioning your local music stores to burn all their copies of it.
Anthrax has had a tough time the last few years. Their change from thrash metal to a more straightforward plain metal sound hasn't gone over well with fans of Anthrax. Fans of Anthrax have been divided with Joey supporters and John supporters. It's been a tough time for Anthrax and this long awaited
album needed to come eventually. What we all received was We've Come For You All, an eclectic mix of the newer
Anthrax sound and a more aggressive approach to the music. Where the other John Bush era albums fail, We've Come For You All picks up the slack and gives us the best Bush era album.
The guitar work has increased in aggressiveness and complexity and rather than focusing solely on heavy riffs, this album takes that sound and adds a bit more complexity and interplay between the guitars. The riffs are still heavy and the slight distortion is still present but there are more leads and solos present on the album as a whole. There are some interesting guitar tones they use on the album (including some that sound relatively industrial) so expect a mix of guitar styles overall. There are some great melodic (sometimes acoustic) passages too - including the intro to "Any Place But Here" that give the album something for everyone. None of it is too spectacular in the guitar area but none of it is bad either. A lot of catchy guitar work that I'm sure works very well in a live setting. It helps that Dimebag Darrel (of Pantera fame) contributes a few guitar parts (including some amazing solos) to the record to help them out.
The bass parts play a kind of ghost role on the album. They disappear and reappear at times. For most of the faster pace songs the bass lines completely meld in with the guitars or drums but at other times it's a main focus point for the song as a whole. "Black Dahlia" has a massive bass guitar part on it that, had this been used the entire album, would have made the album soun VERY modern.
The drum parts on We've Come For You All represent some of the best variety in an album I've heard. There are blast beats ("Black Dahlia") to progressive lines ("Nobody Knows Anything") and pretty much everything in between. This is a controversial topic because of his massive variety. I found the drums to be one of my favorite parts of the album and are something you can listen to over and over again.
John Bush delivers a massive album on his part. His vocals, although not very thrash, do fit very well with the music. Whether you love the man or hate him he presents damn catchy vocal melodies on this album. More sing a long material than anything but it helps when he has help from a lot of vocal layering and some great back up vocals from the band. Some of the distortions on his voice get a tad annoying and I'm still not sure what is being said on the track "Crash"...overall I really like the vocals though.
This album is not for everyone. This is a very modern approach to metal. This is not the Anthrax from 1986 and they haven't been since 1993. Personally this is the best the band has given us since Joey was fired and I'm not going to complain about it. We've Come For You All is one of the best albums Anthrax has done in a long time.
Songs to check out: What Doesn't Die, Superhero, Nobody Knows Anything.
Nice to have you back, guys. After a couple of disappointing albums - Stomp 442 and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (I was far less impressed with Stomp than the tracks I heard from Volume 8, for anyone wondering), Anthrax have roared back with their best album with John Bush at frontman. This album isn't exactly thrash, but it is music we all know they are capable of making.
The music and rhythm is more groove based and the production is surprisingly good, considering how Anthrax is given credit as the main producers on this album. Almost every song is a highlight in some way, as most of the songs here are either excellent or very good. There is only one totally throwaway track ("Black Dahlia"), which lacks inspiration and direction, but that cannot be said about the rest of the tracks here. For anybody wondering, there are no collaborations with rappers, which in my opinion, is a good thing. "Contact/What Doesn't Die" greets us first, with the stutter riffing in the beginning of "What Doesn't Die" being very good. John Bush sounds incredibly inspired in the chorus of this song, and the rest of the band backs him very well with just as much inspiration. "Superhero" has a nice groove in the chorus, and "Refuse To Be Denied" does as well. The guitar playing is somewhat slower than the norm though.
"Safe Home" is a ballad, and got some airtime on my local active rock station, as this is probably as close to radio-safe as they get on WCFYA. It sounds a lot like "Black Lodge" (from The Sound Of White Noise). Charlie Benante's drumming in "Nobody Knows Anything" is some of the best I've heard from him since the Among The Living album, and check out the tribute to Judas Priest at the end of "Strap It On". It sounds a little like "Love Bites" (from Defenders Of The Faith). "Cadillac Rock Box" has a nice winding chorus, as well as some good rhythm guitar playing, while "Think About An End" and "W.C.F.Y.A" end the disc with a slight thrash edge. Two fairly unique songs, and a great way to end the album. Both tracks would also make a great ending to an Anthrax show, now that I think of it.
One of the best CD's of 2003, and a keeper at that!
Anthrax had all but descended back into relative obscurity. They had just released 1998's Volume 8 through Ignition Records, when said label went bankrupt, which effectively left Anthrax without a label and without distribution of volume 8. More turmoil followed, with the departure of longtime touring guitarist Paul Crook (quite possibly frustrated with never being asked to join as a full-time member), the Maximum Rock And Roll tour fiasco, and the public outcry over their name due to the anthrax scare (in which they apparently temporarily changed their name to Basket Full Of Puppies). Five years later, Anthrax finally released their new full-length album We've Come For You All.
This album is essentially a continuation of their work since the arrival of John Bush. The songs are more vocal-based, which to me isn't really a problem given John Bush's voice, with the guitars supplying a more groove-based rhythm as opposed to the ripping thrash tunes of the Belladonna era. However, this album sees a small incorporation of their older thrash-style, most notably in Charlie Benante's drumming. The combination of the straightforward rock along with the thrash influences makes this Anthrax's strongest album in years.
John Bush (vocals) - I swear, this guy consistently improves with each recording that he does. For the most part he seems to stay in a lower range through most of the album, preferring to use a powerful throaty delivery. However, some of the range that he used in Armored Saint (which for the most part has been absent since he joined Anthrax) is employed fleetingly in
Scott Ian (guitars) - Scott Ian's guitar attack is tight as usual, although mostly taking on a groove-based feel. A few of his rhythm tricks show up in areas, such as the blastbeat sections of Black Dahlia and some areas of What Doesn't Die, but for the most part he favours a pulsating down-picked rhythm.
Rob Caggiano (lead guitars) - Caggiano's role in Anthrax is mainly being a touring guitarist, and as such doesn't contribute much to the album. His lead style seems rather conventional, as seen on Nobody Knows Anything and What Doesn't Die. Special mention goes to his work on Safe Home, which is melodic and quick without being too sloppy.
Frank Bello (bass, vocals) - Frank is still continuing with his trademark style, holding down the bottom-end and locking in tight with Benante, while adding licks in here and there to keep it interesting.
Charlie Benante (drums, guitars) - The other member of Anthrax that seems to consistently be improving with every album, Charlie Benante supplies most of the power to this album, with some of his craziest work showing up here. Top spots include the blastbeats in Black Dahlia, the incessant double-bass towards the end of What Doesn't Die, and Nobody Knows Anything, which is more like an extended drum solo underneath the song. Benante also continues laying down guitar tracks as he has been since Persistence Of Time, contributing the bulk of the leadwork. His style seems to be more understated. Overall, an excellent performance from Benante.
Production was handled by Scrap 60 (Caggiano, Eddie Wohl and Steve Regina) in conjunction with Anthrax, and the result is one of the best mixes achieved by Anthrax. The guitars are processed clearer than in the past, and the drums are perfectly mixed, sounding better than any of Anthrax's previous mixes. Bush's voice is pushed to the front, keeping with the more rock oriented feel of the album. The overall feel is quite bass-heavy, due to the detuned guitars and a good bass presence.
What Doesn't Die - This one starts with a staccato guitar section before going into an uptempo verse reminiscent of some of their early work (Be All, End All in particular) before descending into a slow funky chorus. It also features a trademark Anthrax midsection featuring one of the few leads from Caggiano, before picking up into a double-bass drenched outro. Good way to kick off the album (if you don't count Contact).
Safe Home - Seems to be the closest thing to a ballad that I've ever heard out of Anthrax, and it features a tightly played verse section from Ian, and a chorus that shows off John Bush's vocal talents. This cut speeds up toward the end and features another lead from Caggiano (who is tremendously under-utilised given he's the new lead guitarist), which turns out to be the best lead on the album.
Any Place But Here - Although not being all that heavy, this is a really catchy tune with a tightly played verse featuring trademark work by Ian, and an uptempo chorus featuring a catchy vocal harmony. This also features another lead from Caggiano (bringing up the total lead count to 3 so far).
Nobody Knows Anything - I never really understood why Lar$ Ulrich got all the recognition that Benante should get, as Benante is ten times (at least) the drummer Ulrich is, with only 10% of the recognition. This song, which is more of an extended drum solo, shows exactly why I believe this is so. This song shows Benante working a basic beat and gradually building on it with some insane double bass and snare work. This is perhaps the track that bares the most resemblance to Anthrax's early days.
Black Dahlia - This one seems more than a little out of place here, but is quite enjoyable if you like blastbeats. The song starts out with a pulsating midtempo section which moves along nicely, until out of nowhere it morphs temporarily into a grindcore-esque section punctuated with blastbeats and tremolo-picked riffing before returning to the midtempo feel of the previous section.
Contact and Crash - These two tracks are complete filler and serve no useful purpose whatsoever.
Those still hoping for a return to the thrash sound of their earlier days can pretty much give up now, but if you don't mind a more hard-rock style infused with some thrash elements, then this is for you. Definitely the best effort they've made since Persistence Of Time.
Haven't I heard this before? And much better done on albums like Reinventing the Steel. Here they take the worst aspects of Pantera (silly Vulgar Display and Far Beyond shit) and throw in some crap a la Machine Head and come up with some rather weak songs. Yes, this is occasionally heavy. No, it isn't good. And yes, there are some mallcore moments too, and even some random hip-hop/techno parts! However, there are the occasional good moments too. So it's not a complete loser - but almost.
First song... What Doesn't Die. What a schizophrenic little song. Some cool riffs, and at times there is a nice headbanging groove, but the chorus just fucking sucks - especially the guitar tone underneath it, and John's horrible articulation. Very forced-sounding. Also, the lead guitar is crap - I have no idea who's doing the leads on this album (Charlie?) but he's gotta stop trying to be a weakened version of Dime Darrell. But the verses are cool, with the nifty rhythm guitar underneath it.
Superhero... this was advertised as a return to Among the Living days. Hah, fucking hah! Check out that really dumb vocals-driven verse passage. Mallcore, kids. Not quite as whiny as Korn, but this is still really fucking shitty. Also, the chorus is again a total miss. Yelling one syllable at a time does not work. Pray! For! Help! Cry! Whatever... dumb effects hurt this one badly as well, as does the general vocals-oriented mix. Scott's rhythm guitar can still be quite good at times, but it is buried very badly in the mix. The final chorus before the middle part is better, because they throw in more lyrics - and the middle section is pretty decent. But again, the solo fucking sucks. This makes Jeff and Kerry sound like the epitome of technicality. Bring back the Jesusboy watchmaker, I say!
Refuse to Be Denied... little "cute" intro, then an entirely forgettable riff, and then the verses are totally vocals-oriented. Not quite mallcore, but still this is shit. At least it builds up to a nice pre-chorus and an acceptable chorus. "I stand and resist!" But the second guitarist comes and fucks everything up with his dweebish noodling. So far, this is the best song on here, though, because after the first stupid intro verse, it doesn't stop having a continuous riff basis. Plus the middle section is well done, with a nice riff around 2.26 - though I think I'm not the only one that thinks it would work better if it were played at 140% speed. So far this is very slow, very laid back, and missing on some serious aggression. Blood or One Man Stands, this is not.
Safe Home. Hmm, this is such a cheesy song, but why does it work so well for the first few seconds? A little bouncy riff that is bordering on self-parody... oh but it totally falls apart around 0.37 where I suddenly feel like I'm listening to Creed. Bring back the riff. Another schizophrenic little song, with two really bad choruses. It kinda builds up halfway through, though - and that lead guitarist finds approximately one testicle. Hey, it's better than what he had before, and this section harkens back to the Sound of White Noise era. Pretty decent solo when all is said and done, but they should have totally knocked off the first two choruses and done the entire song in the style of the third chorus.
Any Place But Here - little acoustic intro, and then - a great fucking guitar riff!!! Then, the drums come in and kill it. Plodding drums to fuck over that nifty riff - good job, Charlie. Then a far more ordinary groove riff, and we get into a fairly standard modern Anthrax number. But hey, the chorus actually kinda works. Come on, come on! Sounds like a White Noise era chorus. Unfortunately the middle section just drones on and the cool guitars of the intro just turn into yet another lame "solo" that goes nowhere and silly vocals, and then another slightly better solo that is still kinda crappy. This would be the best song on here, but for the shitty middle part. Still, though - what a boring song.
Nobody Knows Anything... kinda crappy intro riff leads into a slightly better one that would be even better if it didn't pause once every second, and if the second guitarist wasn't fucking around with some stupid effect in the background. Then the part under the vocals - more groove-stuff a la a Pantera album. The chorus would be pretty cool if the drums weren't so mixed so fucking high in the mix and so annoying - and that part after the chorus, that's total fucking hip hop bullshit. Seriously, listen around 1.07 in the song - that is not fucking heavy metal. Yeah kids, let's take the hiphop back. Decent solo, okay riff underneath it, but seriously, someone beat Charlie over the head and turn his drums down a few notches, because they are highly annoying.
Strap It On... hey, now here's a nice opening riff - cut right to the chase and here's the first verse, and the pre-chorus is pretty nice too. Take me back to a golden time!! Unfortunately, the chorus is very shitty. There's the mallcore "strap it on! strap it on! strap it on!" jump-teh-fukk-up segment and the boring endless repetition segment. This song has nothing to do with old school, really. Man, they just can't write an entire song that's a winner - gotta throw in some loser passages every once in a while just to keep the fanbase miffed. Decent solo section too - if it weren't for the really uninspired chorus this would be decent.
Black Dahlia - this is supposed to be the br00tal s00ng of the alb00m. Starts off pretty nice (well, after seven seconds of random shit). The verses are very driven, and remind me nicely of Fueled. Then... around 0.32. What the fucking shitweasel, Batman?? What was that? Someone spliced in some pure noise!! Fucking shitty drums and distorted vocals. Some mallcore/grindcore bastard child. It's like someone decided to have a practical joke at the band's expense and spliced in random segments because that section just doesn't make any sense - not in the context of the verses or the chorus. Cool chorus too, and man those verses are pretty fucking great. Middle section is very short and understated and then one final chorus. There's a good song here, too bad someone sabotaged the final production version.
Cadillac Rock Box - dumbfuck "mighty fine grooving going on on this record here" intro. What the fuck - is this an advertisement for the people like me that have only the mp3s? "Buy the album!" Then an okay riff, but the whole thing gives me a vibe of Black Crowes or something similar. It gets better around 0.52 but is still kinda mediocre. They cranked the "groove" up to ungodly new levels, but they threw out the riffs in the meantime.
Taking the Music Back. Okay here we go, here's an intro riff that is worthy. Worthy of Sound of White Noise that is... Spreading the Disease this is not. Oh no, then the verses, and man this is utter shit! No kids, no no no no! That is not how to do a verse passage. Another borderline mallcore segment, especially with the distorted yes-man backing vocals that kinda repeat certain lines only talking out of a prosthetic ass. Okay chorus, I guess. Again, there is nothing overtly spectacular on this album. Some cute sections that don't abjectly suck, but nothing here that totally fucking completely rules. Man this band has gone so far down the shitter that they've dug a hole to China. Stupid middle section will not be acknowledged, especially with the weak-ass solo.
Crash. What the fuck in the name of all that is sacred?? This is pure fucking mallcore here, that's all I gotta say about this one. Utterly fucking worthless.
Think about an End. Yay, finally. Sounds like a good thing to think about, because here's yet another vocals-driven shit passage, with the guitars barely there and playing an eminently forgettable riff. Finally, the rhythm is brought to the forefront... and another eminently forgettable riff. Guys, quit ripping off half the Machine Head catalogue, this is shit! The drums are again way too loud under the verses, the guitars not doing anything worthwhile, and the vocals are left to carry the song. But hey, the chorus is, ironically enough, the best part of the song. The middle section is cool too - now here's some actual riffage! This one almost, but not quite, could be considered thrash! "Where is all the mercy???" Fuck, why did they wait this long to throw this in? This is total White Noise, and almost, almost!! could be State of Euphoria.
Ah well... can't win 'em all. Give me the new Overkill any day - they're the first, and at this rate, they'll be the last..... Anthrax has gone by the wayside. (And seen a few.) The overall verdict - boring as fuck. There really isn't anything that grabbed me by the genitals and forced me to kill my neighbour. Sorry. Black Dahlia almost did, but just when it was getting good, they threw in that joke of a grindcore interlude. Seriously - these guys are suffering from "too many dumb interludes" syndrome. The very last few minutes of the album - Think About an End - are the very best thing they've done since Sound of White Noise, but otherwise it's a loser.