JAM Magazine CD Review

August , 2011
Review by Andy Laudano


"Worship Music"

Label: Megaforce Records

Who would have thought that in 2011, Anthrax would release what could possibly be the best album of their 30-year career? That's exactly what happened with their latest, highly anticipated slab of metal, Worship Music. This is classic Anthrax at its best - fast, heavy and melodic.

A huge part of this is due to the triumphant return of vocalist Joey Belladonna. No disrespect to John Bush, who made some killer albums with the band, but this New York native’s the true voice of Anthrax. One of the main things that always separated Anthrax from most other speed / thrash metal bands was Belladonna's vocal range. He brought a sense of melody to the band's heavy sound that set them apart from others in their genre, making them much more accessible.

If anything, Belladonna has become an even better singer in the 20 years since he last appeared on an Anthrax album. On every song, you can tell just how badly he wants this. Belladonna was born to front Anthrax. Fortunately, the rest of the band steps up to the plate and shows how much they want this as well. With Scott Ian's crunching guitar riffs, drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frankie Bello's rock solid rhythm foundation, and guitarist Rob Caggiano delivering some of the best leads of his career, Anthrax is once again a force to be reckoned with.

The album opens fast and heavy with "Earth on Hell". It’s an old school style thrash number that immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album, and let's you know immediately that Anthrax is indeed back. That fast and furious number is followed by "The Devil You Know," another thrasher that has been described as Anthrax with an AC/DC style groove.

Anthrax has always had an affinity for horror movies and comic books. "Fight 'em 'til You Can't" is a fun song about fighting zombies, and seems to be the inspiration for the awesome cover art from comics legend Alex Ross. "In The End" is a near seven-minute epic that pays tribute to their fallen friends, Dimebag Darrell Abbott and Ronnie James Dio. This is easily the most emotional and passionate song Anthrax has ever done. "Judas Priest" has a nice NWOBHM feel to it. It’s a fitting tribute to one of the greatest metal bands of all time.

Worship Music has something on it for all Anthrax fans as the dark and moody "Crawl" sounds like something from the John Bush era. The remaining four tracks, "I'm Alive," "The Giant," "The Constant" and "Revolution Screams" are just as solid as the others. They are straight ahead, in your face rockers with big melodic hooks. Honestly, there isn't a bad song on this recording.

With everything Anthrax went through before finishing this album, the mini reunion with Belladonna, Bush leaving, returning and leaving again and Dan Nelson's "15 minutes" with the band, Worship Music could've easily been a disaster. Instead, it turned out to be an Anthrax masterpiece, and easily one of the best albums of the year.