For All Kings

Anthrax are a thrash metal band from the USA formed in 1981 and along with Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer, pioneered the American thrash metal movement during the mid to late eighties. Early line-up changes dogged their early career before a stable line-up released some of the landmark thrash metal albums of the mid to late eighties. A band never afraid to experiment, introduced the cross over style of thrash metal and even though a change of vocalist occurred during the nineties, Anthrax remained a major force in the thrash metal arena. Returning in 2011 with vocalist Joey Belladonna, Anthrax continue to stamp their authority the world over and are as passionate about their music as they have ever been.    
The new album opens with the atmospheric 'Impaled' leading straight into 'You Gotta Believe', the typical Anthrax brutal stomp. 'You Gotta Believe' is hard hitting with buzzing guitars and a ruthless rhythm. 'Monster At The End' reduces the tempo to a very heavy, stomping chug that is just relentless as it pounds and pounds away at your senses. Not as raw, rough and tough as some thrash metal bands, Anthrax have a polished edge to their blend of thrash, tempting me to go as far as stating, melodic thrash with a traditional heavy metal edge. Title song 'For All Kings' buzzes and blisters its way through rampant rhythms and is quite catchy, not surprising as much Anthrax over the years has this trait.    
'Breathing Lightning' carries on this blend of catchy thrash...the buzzing guitars and mid tempo romping rhythms are so evident. A short instrumental 'Breathing Out' introduces 'Suzerain', a more immediate, in your face slab of mild brutality, with such a melodic breakdown and chorus, I am getting the feeling that the thrash metal side of this album is slowly disappearing, song after song. That said 'Evil Twin' does have an edge, chainsaw chugging style guitars, but is lacking a lot of the brutal pace that is most associated with thrash metal and was evident in the eighties era Anthrax. 'Blood Eagle Wings' wanders off into the wilderness on the back of some great guitar work, but the album seems to have been polished so much, a lot of its shine has been rubbed off. Anthrax did lead the way in the early nineties with a crossover style of thrash, but 'Blood Eagle Wings' seems to have been crossed over with the hard rock genre. 'Defend Avenge' does harden things up a little, but is once again too melodic to be a part of a thrash metal album. The chorus is a chant style one that I'm sure the mosh pit will shout and scream at, but the rest of the song will not entertain the pit for too long.    
'All Of Them Thieves' does have a hint of brutality as the guitars buzz and chug life into the song, the pace a mid tempo mix of traditional heavy metal and hard rock. So, have Anthrax lost their edge ? Have they moved away their roots ? Questions I will leave for fans to answer, but recent releases by two of the other Big 4, Slayer and Megadeth, do offer much much more. 'The Battle Chose Us' is melodic thrash metal that is catchy and is a foot tapper rather than a foot stomper. The song builds towards the end, but too much too late as the early pace of the song set the tone. The album does end in a furious flurry of thrashy guitars and galloping rhythms though. 'Zero Tolerance' is the only song on the album that can honestly be called thrash metal. What a shame nearly sixty minutes had to pass before 'Zero Tolerance' excited my senses, delivering the only opportunity for full on, furious head banging.    
Overall, a varied album that swings between thrash and rock with too many melodic moments leaving not a lot to head bang to.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV