Once upon a time
there was a young boy who didn't like heavy metal. He didn't like it mainly
because his class mates liked it. He didn't play football either. Mainly because
all the boys in class bar one or two others played it. This young boy simply didn't
want to be like the others. He did his homework every day! He read books
When one of his class mates brought a tape (!) along with Iron Maiden's Number
of the Beast and Beastie Boys' No sleep til Brooklyn and a bit of Manowar, he
didn't like it either, naturally.
But, lo and behold, in the course of one year or so, a change happened in the
young boy, and he far surpassed his class mates in the adoration of the tones of
metal music. Maiden, Metallica, Manowar, Testament, Accept where all names that
ruled the tape decks, as well as a song called 'I'm the Man' by a New Yorker
band called Anthrax. Unfamiliar yet with the preceding work of this band, the
fusion of metal music and rap hit right home with the young boy and his mates.
Fast forward to 1989. The young boy has travelled all the way to Copenhagen for
the first time without his parent, but instead with two mates. They're about to
go to their first, big concert! Before the concert, there's an autograph session
with the band in a record store, and the young boy has his (vinyl) copy of
PENIKUFESIN signed. Yes, the band is none other than Anthrax! It is the State of
Euphoria tour, and the support band is Suicidal Tendencies. What a concert! The
young boy catches Frank Bello's white wrist band with Anthrax printed on it in
mid-air during the concert. He wears it for weeks after the concert!
Two years later, the young boy travels to Germany to see Anthrax again, this
times they're the support band. In Bremen, they play before a wee British band
called Iron Maiden. Anthrax promotes their 'Persistence of Time' album. The same
album will be the last with the singer Joey Belladonna in a long, long while.
John Bush, the former Armored Saint singer, and by far the superior singer when
comparing the two Anthrax singers, took the band to a new level, a more mature
level. 'Sound of White Noise' was different album, certainly, but it was also an
amazing album. And live, Bush just did things with more power than his
predecessor. He was a REAL singer!
And, oh, yeah, the young boy was me, in case you haven't guessed already. All
these years, Anthrax remained close to my heart, even if there was a less
fortunate album somewhere in the middle of the nineties and even if I didn't
understand why John Bush was elbowed out for the sake of a undoubtedly
profitable reunion tour with Belladonna at some point.
Mind you, if I remember correctly, Scott Ian said something like 'we kicked him
out because he didn't contribute to anything and we had to come up with his song
lines for all songs' in an interview back in 1992. By the time Dan Nelson flew
out of Anthrax after recording an album that never saw the light of day, it was
only mildly surprising that Belladonna was made a full-time member.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much when I received my copy of 'Worship
Music' a few days ago. I have to say, though, that I'm about to throw away all
of my hesitation, all of my fears and bellow a loud and clear 'Oh, joy!' from
the bottom of my old-school heart.
What a comeback album for Joey Belladonna! He does the best job he's ever done
on an Anthrax album. No, he's not John Bush, and that's not what you should
expect. He does his own thing, and he does it well and with pride. This sounds
like Anthrax, and it sounds like Anthrax when they're at their best.
Fight'em til You Can't is a hybrid of sound of 'Among the Living' and 'State of
Europhoria' and is one of my natural favourites. The intro cello piece to In the End invariably hints to 'State of Europhoria', just like the intro piece Worship is
a nod to Black Lodge on 'Sound of White Noise'.
I'm Alive is a wonderfully bombastic melodic rock tune, mostly reminiscent of
the Bush era, In the End is a powerful, dark stomping track with a modern touch,
and probably the best song off 'Worship Music'.
The Giant is from the outset a nod to Pantera, but all in all just a groovy
motherfucker of a tune. Musically, the Judas Priest tribute called...Judas
Priest sounds nothing like Priest, but if you look into the lyrics, you can see
that Anthrax has been playing around with Priest lyrics. Nice one.
Crawl sounds like Bush era material, i.e., it has a rock side to it rather than
old-school thrash, whereas The Constant brings us back to Pantera sound and more
Anthrax stomp. Revolution Screams comes close to modern death metal, and is thus
the hardest song on 'Worship Music'.
For me, it is kind of a relief that 'Worship Music' is such a good album. It has
really, really good songs, it has power and diversity without losing the red
thread in its sound. Thank you, Anthrax, I needed this! Killer album! \m/