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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.