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For All Kings

In the 1970’s, someone was quoted as saying “rock is dead”, well, they were sadly mistaken. Look where rock is now and how it has evolved. From heart throbs like Elvis and The Beatles to beatniks like Bob Dylan, rock n’ roll keeps getting heavier and stronger and has become the beat that makes this world go round. The underdog is top dog now.

Today we’re diving into a record by a band who took rock n’ roll and gave it a lethal dose of steroids. Heavy metal groove thrashers, Anthrax, have brought yet another hot meal of molten metal to melt that grey matter housed in your skull. After all, they’ve been doing it for over thirty years.

The voice: Joey Belladonna, cannons: Charlie Benante, bottom end: Frank Bello and the dual axe attack: Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais (Shadows Fall).

The groove hits as these thrash kings’ lash out with painfully thick rhythms and tones that inspire moshing and lyrics that evoke thought on just what the heck is happening around us. Open to your own interpretation, are songs that tell about a power hungry dictator (“You Gotta Believe”), a religious hypocrite (“Monsters in the End”) and being ruler over your own life (For All Kings).

“Breathing Lightning” is a melodic mid-tempo trip that causes a little soul searching about doing the right thing and is also inspired from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. “Suzerain” kicks up the tempo and defines what it means to be locked in a bad memory. “Evil Twins” is rich musically, rhythmically, and lyrically. To me, it’s about the suicide bombers being no martyrs. They die to slaughter the innocent in the name of their god.

For All Kings
Written by: Tim Duran
9 out of 10

“Blood Eagle Wings” brings the tempo back down, but lays the heavy on thick. The lyrics are deep and the music backs up that vibe. “Defend/Avenge” voices the karma effect with a shout to have justice served and it’s also the thrashiest song on the album. “All of Them Thieves” is like an observation of today’s U.S. government, and “This Battle Chose Us!” is the fight we face in our daily trials. “Zero Tolerance” with its extreme rhythms and vocals that stab with sarcasm and honest questioning, is the ultimate thrash song to end For all Kings.

Downside is that Danny Spitz doesn’t play on this album either, but Jonathan is a monster on guitar and a good match for this group. Upsides are “Evil Twin”, “Blood Eagle Wings”, and “Zero Tolerance”. These three tracks are examples of why Anthrax’s brand of groove thrash has been so effective and influential over the last thirty years, and why they remain so. They have not given in to corporate B.S. or written a sappy love song. Anthrax is all metal, all the time - they get a 9.

Tim Duran, HMS

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