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Anthrax - Worship Music
on 12 September 2011
Anthrax released their tenth full length studio album Worship Music in 2011, which was the first album to feature singer Joey Belladonna in 21 years, and their first studio album at all in 8 years.
The story behind the album is fairly well discussed; the rumors of Corey Taylor joining the band, the mysterious dismissal of new singer Dan Nelson, the Big Four tour with the Sonishpere Festival etc. In the nineties Anthrax were left in the proverbial wilderness when their record company imploded and it seemed they've been back there again ever since their Alive 2 DVD was released in 2005.
You aren't likely to get many impartial opinions on this record. Some people have been clamoring for a new Joey Belladona fronted Anthrax album for over a decade however some people think the band have become irrelevant since parting ways with John Bush, the singer on the four studio albums released since Belladona left, and whichever singer a person prefers is likely to unfairly colour their opinion on the actual record.
On its own merits, Worship Music is a good record full of impressive musicianship and songs that don't feel as though you've already heard them before by a thousand other bands. Importantly however, it isn't exactly a return-to-thrash nostalgia record. The music was written before Joey even returned and only tweaked to suit him later, consequently the album feels like a mixture of both Anthrax styles, with songs that they'd never have written with Joey before as well as songs that don't sound like they'd suit John anymore.
Half of the tracks, like the initially slow `In The End,' (which is an album highlight) and the eclectic `Judas Priest,' provide the next logical step to We Have Come For You All, and would feel very out of place on any other Belladonna record, yet he makes them his own here on Worship Music and fits the album perfectly. If you came to the album without knowing the history, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that you couldn't imagine the songs with anyone but Joey, and that is a testament to the quality of the finished product.
Of course; at least some of the music is directed at the return-to-form blurbs, such as the pre-released tracks `Fight Em Till You Can't,' and `The Devil You Know,' as well as the very 80s-Anthrax sounding `Giant,' all of which are great Thrash tinged songs that should give you an idea of the direction of the other half of the album. The only thing that seems out of place altogether is a hidden cover of Refused's classic `The New Noise.'
Aside from the music, the production is superb. You can imagine that the band had a lot of time in the studio to get it just perfect and it really shows, the band mix all the advancements made in technology with a key understanding of the relationship between the bass guitar and the drumkit that defines the signature 80s Anthrax sound.
Overall; Worship Music is a good album that may not be what everybody wanted and that will likely be met with mixed reviews from people who prefer one era of the band to the other. For those who like Anthrax period, who love the way Scott Ian's wrist moves, and the feel of Charlie Benante's kick drum, this is an absolutely great album that you shouldn't hesitate to check out or allow the history behind it to spoil your enjoyment of.