sun 22/09/2019

CD: Anthrax - For All Kings | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Anthrax - For All Kings

CD: Anthrax - For All Kings

Thrash metal pioneers show growing old doesn't mean going soft

Anthrax: sonic anarchy

Back in the crucible of the early Eighties when Anthrax were forged, metallurgists spoke of the Big Four. Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer sounded like War, Famine and Death. Anthrax, from the East Coast, were Pestilence. Musically, the band combined the diabolical speed of Slayer with some of the British-influenced sound of the others. Yet, as time went on, Anthrax started to escape the confines of conventional metal, experimenting with hip-hop and a kind of groove, grunge sound. So, how do they sound now?

More than ever, it would seem, like an apocalypse. “For All Kings” comprises all the traditional pile-driving riffs of thrash metal, but with little of the neoclassicism that softens some of their contemporaries. The result is a modern-ish version of speed metal which never quite descends into the angry, piercings-and-beards formula of kids today. So, if it’s not nu-metal and it doesn’t have the wider appeal of Metallica-style metal, who exactly is this music for?

The band members, after all, are gentlemen in their mid-fifties. So are many of their fans. And whilst it may be a fact that children of the Eighties still enjoy a surprising amount of challenging aural material, surely the sonic anarchy of “Zero Tolerance” is a step too far? Equally so the laser-gun guitars of “Suzerain. All of which makes you wonder what these middle-aged metalheads are still angry about?

The clue is in the lyrics. The frantic “Evil Twin” rails against terrorists. “All of them Thieves” is, possibly, a brutal anti-anthem to the current presidential nominations. Most telling, though, is the title track. “For All Kings” seems to argue that on some metaphysical level, we should all be kings – in spirit anyway. But, of course, life generally just seems a catalogue of personal and social injustices. Maybe it's this sense of ennui and disappointment that has fans strapping on their headphones.

What are these middle-aged metalheads still angry about, and how exactly do they carry their inner rage?

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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