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Decent above average music that doesn't sink - 76%

Face_your_fear_79, March 8th, 2018

For All Kings is the second new studio album from Anthrax since re-uniting with singer Joey Belladonna. The last album, Worship Music, was written with a different vocalist in mind and Belladonna had to come in and work around the songs that weren't written for his voice and style. However, he did a great job and the album was very good so it was with much anticipation we all waited for For All Kings. This was the album written with and for Belladonna and come a long five years after Worship Music. The question is, can this album surpass Worship Music, or for that matter can it live up to their legendary past catalog? For the most part For All Kings follows in the footsteps of Worship Music. The album is heavy but melodic and built around Charlie Benante and Scott Ian’s melodic and thick riffing driven by Benante’s inspiring drumming. After a quick intro, You Gotta Believe rips through the speakers with a classic sounding Anthrax riff that could have been taken right from their classic 80's catalog. The song is fast and furious, which is not the norm for the album. For the most part the band avoids the speed of thrash metal and keeps things more mid-paced. However, there are exceptions such as Evil Twin and the closing song Zero Tolerance where Anthrax revisits the speed and aggression that made them one of the Big 4 back in the early 80's. These three tracks are three of my favorites on the album and should please any longtime Anthrax fan.

With above average songs like Breathing Lightning the band shows off their more accessible side, not unlike the hooky The Devil You Know on Worship Music. Likewise Monster At The End and Suzerain contain solid hooks and remind me of the John Bush-era of the band. Perhaps one of the best tracks on the album is buried at the end of the album. The Battle Chose Us is a driving song with a big groove and monstrous, head-banging vibe and memorable chorus. However, what really makes the song one of the best is the last half of the song which is a smattering of the glorious thrash metal of the past with Benante’s controlled chaotic drumming driving the song without forsaking the melody. Vocalist Joey Belladonna is back and his clean mid-range vocals fit the material ever so perfectly. He's not forcing out the high notes as he once did, but his voice is strong and aggressive. New lead guitarist Jon Donais of Shadows Fall fame replaces longtime guitarist Rob Caggiano. His leads throughout the record blend seamlessly with the songs.

Overall Anthrax captures the same blend of melodic heavy metal and thrash metal leanings that were present on Worship Music. No, nothing they do now will be able to overtake the raw, youthful energy of their early catalog or even Worship Music for that matter. The nostalgia most fans hold alone would never allow it. However, they deliver a diverse selection of songs that is easily one of the best in years.