In 2015 veteran thrash metal outfit Slayer released its latest full-length album Repentless. The band’s twelfth full-length studio recording, it was also the first new release from the band (at the time) in six years. That means that it was one of the year’s most anticipated metal records. Needless to say that it more than lived up to its expectations and in turn returned the metal crown to the rightful kings. Now with 2015 turning to 2016 and dozens of new metal and rock albums already being turned out the question is who will the crown be passed on to this year. That question has, thankfully, already been answered. It has been answered in the form of For All Kings, the new album from Slayer’s fellow veteran thrashers Anthrax. While 2016 is still very young it can be said with confidence that this thirteen song record is this year’s top new offering in the hard rock and metal category so far this year. That is obvious throughout the sixty-four minute offering from the album’s lead single ‘Evil Twin’ to the equally driving ‘Breathing Lightning’ to the new, more radio friendly single ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ this record proves to be a solid new offering from Anthrax and the year’s best new hard rock and metal album so far.
Anthrax’s new album For All Kings has only been out about a week. But the thirteen song, sixty-four minute record has more than proven in that time to be a record that is “for all metal heads.” That is obvious throughout the course of the record thanks to the mix of the album’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content. The album’s lead single ‘Evil Twin’ is a prime example of how that mix of material makes this record such a hit. In regards to its musical content, the song is classic Anthrax. Scott Ian shreds with buzzsaw precision in the song’s guitar line. And drummer Charlie Benante’s work behind the kit is just as driving and solid. And front man Joey Belladonna’s vocals are just as tight as ever in this song, too. The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it such a clear example of what makes this record so impressive. Its lyrical content stands out just as much. The song’s lyrical content presents quite the powerful statement with Belladonna singing, “Ideology used as a weapon/With lines that cut so deeply to the truth/Your head’s on the block Still you threaten/A wretched way of life for those that choose and abuse.” That is a powerful statement in itself. And things don’t change as the song progresses either. Belladonna goes on to sing, “You represent your discontent/Slaughtering the innocent/Insolence/You’re no martyrs/The arrogance to reinvent/The holy words their meaning rent/Evil twin/You’re no martyrs.” While it may seem cut and dry what is being stated here, the reality of the song is that the band is not addressing just one group of individuals, but many. Though, the commentary about extremists and the impact of their actions on the world stays the same throughout. That in mind, the energy in the song’s musical arrangement serves to really accent the song’s message. Both pieces together make this song a strong example of what makes For All Kings the year’s first truly great hard rock and metal offering. Audiences can check out the song’s lyric video online now via Anthrax’s official YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPmLkF3e6Fc. It is just one example of what makes the album so impressive for all metal heads, too. ‘Breathing Lightning,’ another of the album’s singles, is another good example of what makes this record one for all metal heads.
‘Evil Twin’ is a clear, solid example of what makes Anthrax’s new album an impressive new effort from one of the metal community’s hardest rocking and most respected bands. ‘Breathing Lightning’ is another good example of what makes this record such an impressive return for the band. This song is such an impressive example of the album’s content because while it does boast just as much energy as ‘Evil Twin’ there is also something in its musical arrangement that makes it more radio friendly, too. The band doesn’t just jump right into things in this song. And even when they do it’s not the full on thrash of ‘Evil Twin’ or any of the album’s other more old school sounding songs. Rather it actually has something of a mainstream, melodic hard rock sound that would make it a perfect fit on any mainstream rock radio station. That’s just part of what makes it a good example of how much the album has to offer. The song’s lyrical content proves just as important to the song’s overall presentation. In regards to the song’s lyrical content it is a relatively easy song. Belladonna sings in the song’s lead verse, “I have walked the world and back now/Too many times to count or stop, how/Time is nothing/Slow and focused/I stalk this land with just one purpose/A deal made the second that you choose to force my will/An extension of my hand/With the intent to kill by the white lightning.” It is a pretty confident, self-assured statement from the song’s subject. That confidence and self-assuredness is echoed in the song’s second verse as Belladonna sings, “My body broken there’s no quit/My will intact and I can’t stop it/Hearts and minds can see the end/Until it all happens again.” The song’s subject comes across as saying here that even with everything that has happened there’s no giving up in his will and determination. This is driven home even more in the song’s chorus in which Belladonna sings, “You always have the chance to do the right thing/Until the right thing comes undone/And with a thunderclap I’m breathing lightning/And this world has moved on.” There is a statement in the chorus’s reprise in which the song’s subject contemplates what comes after life as motivation for not giving up on life, saying, “I’d do anything/Just to hear the angels sing.” This after the subject notes that he doesn’t believe there is anything after. So it comes across as someone that is having an internal battle with himself yet still stays strong and determined through it all. It is an interesting piece to take in if only for that lyrical content. That and the song’s musical content come together to make ‘Breathing Lightning’ yet another clear example of what makes For All Kings 2016’s first great hard rock and metal album. It is hardly the last example of what makes this record deserving of such honor, too. The album’s latest single ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ is one more example of this record’s positives.
‘Evil Twin’ and ‘Breathing Lightning’ are both solid examples of what makes For All Kings this year’s first great hard rock and metal album. That is because they show two completely different sides of the band this time out. The prior is a full-on classic thrash metal opus while the latter is more of a mainstream, radio ready piece. Both songs offer their own thought-provoking lyrical content, too. The combination of both elements within each song clearly exhibits why they are such solid examples of this record’s positives. They aren’t the only important additions to For All Kings. ‘Blood Eagle Wings,’ the album’s latest single is another good example of the album’s positives. This song is a much slower piece than ‘Evil Twin’ or ‘Breathing Lightning.’ Yet its heavy, crunching guitars give the song something of a sludge metal sound a la Black Label Society. It shows once more the breadth of material presented throughout the record at least stylistically speaking. In regards to the song’s lyrical content the song is just as certain to leave listeners talking. That is because of the depth of said content. Belladonna sings in the song’s first verse, “Everything’s been said/Walk among the dead/You can see my crimes/This is my design/There’s no right or wrong/It’s the same old song/Just keeps pounding me/Hits so hard.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “Hell is empty/Cause all my demons are here/Ever so deadly/Hit so hard/Darkness in my soul is taking hold and becoming/Break me from this hold/As I unfold bloody wings.” This song come across as a direct contrast to ‘Breathing Lightning.’ It comes across more as a song that sees its subject in a very dark place emotionally speaking. And that isn’t just because of the lines presented in the song’s chorus. Belladonna goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “My whole world/Built on bodies dead and gone/You ignored the signs/That was my design/And the loneliness hits so hard/In this grey place that exists in my mind.” The song’s subject goes on in similar fashion in the song’s third verse, almost throwing up his arms in frustration. The song proves in this regard to be just as powerful as in its musical content. Both elements together make for a song that is one of the album’s strongest songs and one more example of just why For All Kings is a record that is fit for all metal fans. Audiences can check out the song’s companion video online now via Rolling Stone at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-anthraxs-chilling-epic-new-video-20160302. Viewer discretion is advised with this video due to its rather gory content. Needless to say its content will leave some viewers unsettled and others talking even more when comparing it to the song’s lyrical conten. That can especially stated with confidence when taking into consideration not just this song but this song alongside the other pieces noted here and those not directly noted. All things considered members of the rock and metal community will agree in hearing the album in whole that it is not just a record for all metal fans but also the year’s first great hard rock and metal offering.
Anthrax’s new album For All Kings is 2016’s first great hard rock and metal offering. That is saying quite a bit considering the number of rock and metal albums that have already been turned out so far in this still very young year. The album’s musical content in itself does plenty to prove that. It mixes together the band’s old school thrash roots with a more mainstream, radio ready sound that will keep audiences engaged from beginning to end of the sixty-four minute musical outing. This is proven through the likes of ‘Evil Twin,’ ‘Breathing Lightning,’ and the album’s latest single ‘Blood Eagle Wings.’ The album’s other featured numbers could just as easily be cited as examples of how much this record has to offer. All things considered audiences will agree that hearing the album in whole, it proves in the end to be a record for all metal fans and the year’s first great hard rock and metal offering. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online now direct via Anthrax’s official website at http://anthrax.com. While there audiences can also keep up with all of the band’s latest news. Fans can also keep up with all of the band’s latest news and more via the band’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/anthrax.
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