Worship Music, the long awaited new studio album from Anthrax, one of the four original architects of speed and thrash metal, has been confirmed for a September 13 release date, the day before the band's triumphant return to their native New York to play at Yankee Stadium as part of the Big Four concert extravaganza.
Not only is Worship Music Anthrax's first studio release in eight years, but the album marks the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, whose last studio work with the band was 1990's Persistence of Time. Belladonna is now firmly back in the Anthrax line up wiht drummer Charlie Benante, guitarists Scott Ian and Robb Caggiano, and bassist Frank Bello.
'Getting Joey back in as our full-time, permanent singer solidified us as a unit like we hadn't been in years,' said Ian. 'All of use were on the same page creatively, working together, writing together, and becoming a band again.'
'I get goosebumps listening to the new music, 'Benante admitted. 'Scott and Rob's guitars are absolutely on fire, Frankie kicks butts on bass, and hearing Joey sing, well, the band sounds like Anthrax-Joey's back and it's great.'
The 11-track Worship Music was produced by Anthrax, Rob Caggiano and Jay Ruston and recorded over a four year period at studios in NY, LA and Chicago. Belladonna's return to the band prompted some of the songs originally recorded to be re-crafted with fresh lyrics or tweaked to better suit his overall vibe and energy. Some of the songs were completely replaced with brand-new songs and, of course, all have Belladonna's inimitable vocal stamp on them.
'I'm very happy with the record. It sounds like Anthrax. There are some interesting twists and turns on it, and plenty of tunes for fans to get their fingers on. I felt very comfortable working with Jay Ruston, and I think everyone brought to the table what they needed to. Now it's time for the fans to listen and get what they've been waiting for. I'll tell you, I'm really excited.'
With worldwide sales in excess of 10million, 2011 sees Anthrax celebrating its 30th year as a band. Over those three decades, Anthrax has received multiple Gold and Platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans.
OK, history lesson first. Since the band's last studio album (2003's underrated We've Come for You All) Anthrax had dropped longtime vocalist John Bush to reunite with previous singer (and fan favorite) Joey Belladonna for some touring. When it came time to record an album, Belladonna split, to be replaced by Dan Nelson, a relative unknown. They wrote an album - Worship Music - with Nelson on vocals but then Nelson quit/was fired/who knows and the album was shelved until yet another reunion with Belladonna, resulting in a reworked Worship Music, the band's tenth studio album.Now that that's out of the way, I have to say I am a John Bush fan. In my opinion the albums he sang on were Anthrax's best albums by far. I never got Belladonna's appeal and frankly I came into this album expecting to hate it.But it rules...so...much!Worship Music is just an incredible slab of heavy metal, and there's no way to deny that. This band has always written very solid albums, and they've always had a unique energy, no matter who was in the band at the time. This time around, it seems like we're getting the best of everything the band has to offer. There's a nod to their old school thrash metal roots in the blistering "Fight `Em Till You Can't" and "The Devil You Know," and songs like "I'm Alive" and "The Constant" have the heavy, melodic, modern vibe of the later Anthrax albums. Actually, a good number of these songs sound like they were written with John Bush in mind, and while I'd have loved to hear him sing them, I have to admit Belladonna does a fantastic job. He's particularly good on the killer "Judas Priest," which is probably the album's best song.If you are, or ever were, an Anthrax fan, Worship Music really is a must-have album. Fans of the Belladonna era albums are going to love it the most, but this album is also going to be a very pleasant surprise to skeptics who would rather have heard John Bush on vocals again (which is where I fall). In the end, the sheer power and energy of Worship Music is overwhelming. It crushes anything the rest of the so-called "Big Four" have released in the last twenty years, and is the strongest Anthrax album since, well, the last one. It immediately carves out a spot at or near the top of any "best of 2011" lists.
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