I can’t remember wanting to listen to an Anthrax song since I’ve worn out The Best of the Killer A’s during my high school years. That changed when I heard Worship Music.
Backtracking a little bit, I’ve come to enjoy Anthrax’s body of work in its entirety despite having two distinct eras dividing their discography – the Belladonna and the Bush eras.
Although John Bush is a far more talented vocalist than Joey Belladonna ever will be, ’80s ‘Thrax always did it for me. The urgency was tangible in the sound, something that the band can’t conjure even with Bush around. The precise speed picking and downstroke demon that Scott Ian has been and the underrated skin work of Charlie Benante always clicked when Joey gloriously wailed through the songs.
Along the way, however, they lost my interest. They seem to be always a step behind Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica (in that particular order). Much of it may be caused by the Bush albums, at least for me. Their identity as a thrash band was shed away when they turned a new leaf as a harder and edgier, albeit slower, band to accommodate Bush’s raspy vocals. A good song here and there, but as a whole, the band’s schtick was in dire need of resuscitation.
Forward to 2012, after reading metal pundits declare that Anthrax has returned to form with Worship Music, I immediately jumped at the chance to get myself a copy and listen for myself. Coming from the old school of metal, where Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Overkill, and ’80s Slayer were my cup of teas, Anthrax’s latest offering is a statement in itself – they’re back.
Months have passed and I’m still headbanging to all its amazing songs. “The Devil That You Know” is arguably their best song since “Indians,” their most accessible and commercially consumable song in their entire discography, and boasts the best thrash riff I’ve heard for the longest time. Worship Music is their best album since Persistence of Time, the best comeback album since Exodus’s Tempo of the Damned in 2004, and the most awesome album of 2011.
So what’s the point in all of this metal-ism? Don’t count anybody out. Anthrax has been out of the game long before this album was released, at least for me. Their lackluster albums the past decade has been a discouraging sign of the band’s inability to come up with fresh material. And then, suddenly, this juggernaut of an album smashes our preconceptions and destroys all notion of Anthrax’s previous missteps. This is one of metal music’s finer moments and the band’s crowning achievement since Among the Living.
I’m sorry and thank you, Anthrax.
Buy Worship Music now!