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Album review: Anthrax - For All Kings

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★★★★

The time is finally near.

The eleventh album by thrash metal legends Anthrax is quickly approaching, after an agonising five-year-long dry spell.

But allow me to reassure all of you eager, starved music fans: For All Kings is definitely worth the wait.

The new record demonstrates Anthrax at its most epic, demonstrating that its regal artwork is not just some attractive imagery, but also a metaphor for the album's contents.

This is the most melodic Anthrax have been in a very long time, with Joey Belladonna’s powerful vocals and the band’s rhythm section of bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante providing a perfect mix of pace and grandiosity.

Almost every song – especially the title track, second single 'Breathing Lightning' and 'Blood Eagle Wings' – can be sung along to thanks to their memorable hooks. Which, for a heavy album, is an absolutely astounding feat.

And of course, as you would expect from Anthrax, there are still heavy riffs galore! Especially in lead single 'Evil Twin' and the pounding opening to 'Suzerain'.

For All Kings marks the debut of Anthrax’s new lead guitarist Jon Donais, and the shredding and soloing on the album definitely serves to showcase the skills of both the newcomer and the band’s founder Scott Ian on the strings.

It’s almost cliché for jaded metal fans to dismiss new releases by veteran bands like Anthrax with the classic argument of “Their old stuff will always be better.”

And while Anthrax oldies like Persistence of Time and Among the Living will always stand out as thrash classics and examples of the some of the best heavy records of all time, For All Kings is possibly my favourite Anthrax album to date.

A band being able to fuse pure, guitar-fuelled brutality with melodic hooklines and grandiose singing is almost a lost concept. Many younger metal bands now place their stock in either one or the other, but Anthrax show the immature how it’s done!

So I wouldn’t call For All Kings a thrash album as many others would. Rather, I am labelling it simply a metal album with heavier moments spread throughout.

If you’re looking to bang your head so fast your neck snaps, For All Kings is not your album.

However, if you’re looking for a powerful, melodic and appropriately regal-sounding experience, I’d recommend scurrying down to your local record store on the 26th and picking this one up.

For All Kings will be available physically and digitally on 26th February via Nuclear Blast Records.




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