— By Sean Derrick
Metal icons Anthrax are set to release some new material on Friday, March 24, and it’s not quite what you’d expect, and that’s the point.
Anthrax, the influential quintet from New York City who are considered one of metal’s “Big Four” (with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer rounding out that group) have ridden different waves of success over the band’s 36-year history.
The release comes hot off the heels of their successful 2016 release For All Kings, which stemmed from extended touring off of 2011’s Worship Music that reignited the band’s passion and drive. In conjunction with the new music release the band has also announced a co-headlining tour with Killswitch Engage. The resulting tour will be entitled the KillThrax Tour and will also feature the Devil Wears Prada as the special guest. (Tour dates and scheduled headliner listing is below, following the track listing, SO KEEP READING!)
With eleven studio albums, six live albums and seven collection albums the band was looking to give its fans something much different than the normal status quo.
The result is a limited edition 10 disc 7-inch vinyl box set that includes rarities, covers, and a new song (well in the Western World, anyway).
Let’s focus on the new material first. With the anthemic “Vice of the People” we hear a powerful catchy song that starts off with methodic drum rolls by Charlie Benanti before being joined by the signature dual guitar attack by Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais and bassist Frank Bello. Vocalist Joey Belladonna is strong as ever on the track that was previously only available as a bonus track in Japan. It’s a stomp your head into the ground and take no prisoners song that could have fit right in on For All Kings, or even on their classic Among the Living. Here’s to hoping they perform this song on their upcoming tour.
Other new music includes two covers that are incredibly kick-ass. One of the covers is actually better than the original; “Black Math” from The White Stripes. As much as I like The White Stripes and think they were a brilliant duo, I always felt that “Black Math”, as good as it was, lacked something. Anthrax found that something and boy did they deliver. The song has taken over my top 10 favorite tracks I have been listening to for the past month. It adds that drive and kick that the song needed while keeping the Anthrax spirit on the track.
The other cover is a fantastically well done homage to Kansas’ classic “Carry On Wayward Son)”, to which Anthrax lists it as simply “Carry On”. Whatever they refer to it as it certainly does the original supreme justice. With clean vocals from Belladonna, showing off his great range, and even the piano and keyboard making its way nicely into the song (by way of Fred Mandel), the band keeps to the original as much as possible. All this while adding the classic Anthrax signature sound in a slight but not overbearing fashion.
If this seems out of touch or a stretch from one of metals most iconic and influential bands, think again. Belladonna actually sings in a classic cover band to keep his voice active during down times for Anthrax and routinely covers this song. The rest of the band, meanwhile, has an affinity for the song while showing their appreciation for what influenced them growing up. This is another track that has made my top 10 list of songs on my iPod.
The fact that 30% of my top 10 is comprised of new Anthrax material says it all. I usually just pick one, maybe two songs, from a new album and rotate that in as my favorite. With “Carry On”, Black Math” and “Vice of the People” I just had to include all three.
Some fans may hear the new songs and think “why a box set? I want a complete album of new material!” Keep your shirt on Spike you are not who this box set is geared towards. It’s aimed at those fans who appreciate a deep connection with the band, by letting them into their work from start to finish.
“Doing a box set edition of ‘For All Kings’ was something that we’ve always wanted to do,” said Benante, who worked closely with artists Douglas Heusser and Stephen Thompson on the box set’s artwork. “We wanted to do something special, something that was so much more than the original release, and have it be fun for our audience when they open it up, just be floored by the different colored vinyl, the artwork, everything that’s inside. And we think we’ve done that.”
The result is a beautifully packaged set that includes 10 7-inch vinyl discs featuring 20 songs; 11 finished songs that were featured on For All Kings, the two aforementioned covers, “Vice of the People” and six demos of songs from For All Kings, giving fans an inside listen to their favorite tracks form the album showing how they progressed from demo to finished product.
Each disc features unique artwork set onto different colored discs (most done with a 2-color swirl), sleeved in separate artwork made specifically for each disc with that song/songs in mind.
The box set is a limited edition and retails for $79.99 which also features the original album cover art sketch by Alex Ross as well as a download card enabling the holder to access the Box Set’s track listing.
The only song they left off was “Breathing Out”, which at :55 wasn’t missed anyway.
Overall I love, love, love the set. It’s not just a greatest hits record or the same old shit. This set is for the true fan who appreciates what goes into a song and the intricacies of the finished product while enjoying the differences of the early stages of a song with its final product.
This is a great gift for any true Anthrax fan, a stunning collector’s set all around. Go get it! (And check out the tour starting next week.)
The tour will hit The Pageant in Saint Louis on May 1. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here:
“For All Kings 7-Inch Box Set” track listing:
A: Breathing Lightning
B: Breathing Lightning (demo)
A: Monster at the End
B: Monster at the End (demo)
B: Suzerain (demo)
A: Black Math
B: Carry On
A: You Gotta Believe
B: For All Kings
A: Evil Twin
B: The Battle Chose Us
A: All Them Thieves
B: Vice of the People
A: Zero Tolerance
B: Zero Tolerance (demo)
A: Blood Eagle Wings
B: Blood Eagle Wings (demo)
A: Defend Avenge
B: Defend Avenge (demo)
“KillThrax” Dates with The Devil Wears Prada as the special guest:
29 The Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ *
30 LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH **
31 Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL (Anthrax only)
31 The International, Knoxville, TN (KsE only)
1 Little River Casino, Manistee, MI (Anthrax only)
1 Norva, Norfolk, VA (KsE only)
3 The Fillmore, Silver Springs, MD *
4 The Dome, Wallingford, CT *
5 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA **
7 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI *
8 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI **
9 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA *
11 The Ritz, Raleigh, NC **
12 Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA **
13 House of Blues, Orlando, FL *
15 Texas Independence Festival, Austin, TX **
16 Boggus Ford Events Center, Pharr, TX **
17 House of Blues, Houston, TX *
18 House of Blues, Dallas, TX **
20 The Marquee, Phoenix, AZ *
21 Las Rageous, Las Vegas, NV *
22 The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA **
23 The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA **
25 Showbox SoDo, Seattle, WA *
26 Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR **
28 Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO *
29 Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE **
30 Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO *
1 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO **
3 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA **
5 Paramount Theatre, Huntington, NY **
6 Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NY *
7 House of Blues, Boston, MA *
* – KsE closes
** Anthrax closes