Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Worship Music - Anthrax - 2011
The seemingly obligatory atmospheric opener to every metal album is included here in the form of the immediately forgettable and disposable "Worship," which leads into a proper kick-off in "Earth on Hell," a fierce, fast throwback to classic 80s-era Anthrax. "The Devil You Know" was released for mass consumption as the second free download prior to Worship Music's release and, in my opinion, is a low point, sounding like little more than the Damned Things with a competent vocalist. Thankfully, this is immediately remedied by the band's first free teaser, the ferocious, apostrophe-laden zombie apocalypse anthem, "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't." This has all the classic Anthrax hallmarks in all the right places. Fun, visual lyrical content, rock-solid insane Ian riffery, sparkling leads from Rob Caggiano, drums-n-bass that make you wanna cry, and a nice gang chorus that will look great on a t-shirt. It's a centerpiece the band should be proud of and one that fits comfortably among the canon of established classics.
"In the End" is the second-half highlight, a grandiose, groove-laden monster. It's surrounded by reminders of both the early Belladonna- and Bush-era sounds in the hard-edged forms of "The Giant" and "I'm Alive," respectively. I was most looking forward to hearing "Judas Priest," expecting some all-out tribute to its rock namesake and I was really surprised and pleased with, instead, a mini-epic surrounding an excommunicated evil, a destroyer of worlds.
"Crawl" is as forgettable a Foo Fighters facsimile anyone could ever conjure. "The Constant" comes in immediately after, segueing directly into a simple, stomping rocker and would have been an effective closer if its sequence was flipped with the just-OK "Revolution Screams" (along with a final, hidden Refused cover, "New Noise").
In the end, Worship Music is fun, plain and simple. Is it "as good" as Persistence of Time? That's subjective, but probably not. But, like any good horror film sequel, it's still a great experience that reminds you why the original is a classic. It's lively, varied and sounds good loud. There's a potent vibrancy to it that, frankly, was absent from recent Big 4 releases like Death Magnetic and World Painted Blood (both albums I liked, for the record) and, in my opinion, these guys are currently sitting high at the top of that heap.