ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Music

Anthrax - "Worship Music" (2011) Review

Updated on December 30, 2017
FatFreddysCat profile image

I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and CD collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.

Source

A Massive Comeback for the East Coast Thrash Masters...

Anthrax - WORSHIP MUSIC (MegaForce Records, 2011)

14 Tracks, run time: 60:54

Saying that Anthrax's new album was "Long Awaited" would be a severe understatement. Though they were once considered to be the flag bearers of the East Coast thrash metal scene, Anthrax struggled during the latter half of the 1990s, and their camp had been in a near-constant state of turmoil since the release of their last studio album, 2003's We've Come For You All. First the New Yorkers made the controversial decision to jettison long standing vocalist John Bush in favor of a 2005 reunion with his predecessor - Joey Belladonna, who'd fronted the band during its most acclaimed (and best selling) era in the mid to late '80s. The band's reunion tour with Belladonna was highly successful, yet the frontman suddenly chose to exit the band yet again in 2006, leaving the remaining members scrambling for a replacement. Anthrax attempted to move forward with the previously-unknown Long Island native Dan Nelson on the mic and began working on the album that would eventually become Worship Music in 2007. The album was in the can and ready to go by the Spring of 2009, but Anthrax's relationship with Nelson abruptly turned sour and he was subsequently shown the door.

Rather than release the album with Nelson's vocals on it, Anthrax reached out to Belladonna again, who agreed to go into the studio with them to re-work the recordings. The finished product was finally ready in time to capitalize on the wave of thrash nostalgia that had been ignited by the series of "Big 4" festival concerts in which Anthrax played alongside the other three Big Kahunas of the '80s thrash metal scene - Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Fans welcomed the "classic" Anthrax back with open arms, and Worship Music became the band's highest charting album since 1993's Sound of White Noise, debuting at #12 on Billboard when it was released in October of 2011.

Anthrax 2011: (L-R) Joey Belladonna (vocals), Rob Caggiano (guitar), Scott Ian (guitar), Charlie Benante (drums), Frank Bello (bass)
Anthrax 2011: (L-R) Joey Belladonna (vocals), Rob Caggiano (guitar), Scott Ian (guitar), Charlie Benante (drums), Frank Bello (bass) | Source

The Nitty Gritty...

Of course, none of the above would've mattered worth a damn if Worship Music wasn't any good. Fortunately, Anthrax must've realized that they were truly in a "do or die" position with this album and upped their game accordingly, and the result is their finest work since 1990's still-revered Persistence of Time. After the brief intro "Worship," the opening track "Earth on Hell" quickly sets the tone and proves that these guys can still crush with the best of'em, as Belladonna's authoritative tone powers through walls of chunky guitar riffs and thunderous drumming. "The Devil You Know" kicks things up a few more notches, building off of a chugging bassline by Frank Bello and a chorus that sticks in your head after only one listen. Old school thrash fans should be particularly pleased with the zombie-killing ode "Fight'em Till You Can't," an absolutely killer speed burner that sounds like it could've come off of the 1985 classic Spreading the Disease, while the epic "In the End" starts off with a moody cello-and-strings intro before blasting into a crawling doom-metal punisher that would make Black Sabbath proud. "Judas Priest" salutes the band that is one of Anthrax's biggest influences and album closer "Revolution Screams" ends things on an appropriately apocalyptic note, with Belladonna wailing for everything he's worth.

In a nutshell, Anthrax sounds more energized than they have in ages throughout Worship Music. Charlie Benante continues to demonstrate why he's one of the finest thrash drummers ever to handle a pair of sticks and Scott Ian has apparently uncovered a bottomless well of killer guitar riffs. I honestly haven't been keeping up with what Joey Belladonna has been up to in his time away from Anthrax, but wherever he's been, he has remained in stellar voice and sounds like he never left. I was never a big fan of the band's work with John Bush on vocals; though I loved Bush's prior band, Armored Saint, I never felt that his gruff vocal tone was a good fit for Anthrax and I get the feeling that a lot of fans agree with me. Whether you're a Belladonna purist or a Bush diehard, Worship Music should quickly prove once and for all that Joey is the only man who should front this band. Scott Ian has summed up their current lineup situation by saying "This will be Anthrax till there is no more Anthrax." If they can continue to come up with material this strong, then Worship Music should be the beginning of an impressive "next phase" for them. Highly recommended!

"Fight'Em Till You Can't"

Update...

In January 2013, Anthrax announced the departure of longtime guitarist Rob Caggiano, who'd been associated with the band since 2001. Rob cited a desire to return to work as a recording studio engineer and music producer as the reason for his exit, however shortly afterwards it was reported that he'd joined Danish groove-metalists Volbeat. Shadows Fall guitarist Jon Donais was hired as a temporary replacement to fill Caggiano's slot for some 2013 tour dates, but by the end of the year it was announced that Donais would be joining Anthrax permanently.

"The Devil You Know"

© 2011 Keith Abt

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      Updated

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      Updated

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 4 years ago from The Garden State

      Updated!

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Updated to include the band's newest video for "The Devil You Know."

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Yeah, I can believe that. I've never even seen a copy of it anywhere, thus I've never seen the movie!!!

    • peepingtomb profile image

      peepingtomb 6 years ago

      I was lucky enough to pick it up on VHS at Goodwill. Unfortunately, I turned it around quickly on ebay before realizing how rare it was. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Hi Peepingtomb - thanx for the kind words. You should definitely pick up the new CD, it's their best since the glory years without a doubt.

      I have heard *of* "Pledge Night" (also known as "The Hazing of Hell" if memory serves) but have never seen it. I used to have a metal magazine with an Anthrax interview in it where Belladonna talked about his experience with the movie.

    • peepingtomb profile image

      peepingtomb 6 years ago

      Great article. I've seen them live a few times throughout the years and listened to some of this new album online but haven't gotten around to buying it yet. I was wondering if you've ever heard of the B horror movie "Pledge Night" featuring music from Anthrax and starring Belladonna in a bit part?

    • FatFreddysCat profile image
      Author

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Cool, man. One of my friends saw'em in New Jersey this past weekend and he said the same thing.

    • theJOKERiv profile image

      theJOKERiv 6 years ago

      Great review! I saw Anthrax live last week and the new songs sound much better live than on the album (and I like the album!)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"