Published Feb 26, 2016I know the feeling of trepidation well, when I begin reading any piece of Anthrax news, never mind when I put on a new Anthrax album: Is it going to be another awkward mistake? Is it going to live up to expectations? Who the fucking hell is singing again?
On For All Kings, it's Joey Belladonna, and he won't let you forget it. The man is positively on during opener "You Gotta Believe," which features the hysterical classic Anthrax song structure and is very much a cross between a State of Euphoria tune and a Persistence of Time one — not a half bad equation, though the trippy stuff in it has to go, as the band manage to kill the album's momentum halfway through the first song. Next tune "Monster at the End" is a very cool slow-burner, and though the melodies of "Breathing Lightning" are at first jarring, after a few listens they work quite nicely, and Belladonna puts on a convincing vocal performance. "Suzerain" gets heavy like Lamb of God before going back to the slightly off-putting melodies, creating a mid-album lull in energy that should not be. "Blood Eagle Wings" also struggles to keep the mid-album energy up throughout its eight minutes, although it does feature some cool, unexpected riffing and interesting melodies.
Really, this lengthy album could be 20 minutes shorter without the meandering bits, although there are some late-disc gems that leave a good impression: "This Battle Chose Us" is a cool thrasher with a great chorus, and is perhaps the best tune on the disc, while closer "Zero Tolerance" rages hard. As is, it's a great outing by Anthrax, if slightly frustrating in its lack of ability to keep the great momentum going consistently. (Megaforce)