Let’s be honest, Anthrax is one of those old school trash bands metal lovers either fuck with or they don’t. Regardless what side one is on, they are icons of the metal scene, and they get their respect. The band’s newest release For All Kings or 4AK made its official debut on February 26th and sports some killer cover art, even though most jaded heathens will like.
The intro to 4AK is short and sweet, instrumentally ominous and all that good stuff. The first track “You Gotta Believe”, is like someone kicking in the front door, filled with sick riffs, more or less what you expect from trash Gods. Midway through the track, the guitar picks up a notch, as do the vocals, improving the track tremendously. At first it’s not seriously impressive, just typical trash, but when it picks up, it becomes a damn good song.
The next track, “Monster at the End” boasts a catchy chorus, the instrumentation isn’t bad either. It is simply an okay song, not for lack of energy, there just seems to be something missing. Following that are “Zero Tolerance” and “Breathing Lightning”, “Zero Tolerance”, as wicked as the guitar riffs are, this is probably a weak point in the album.
It is about this point where some may feel like 4AK is good but not great, not what you would expect from Anthrax, that is until “Blood Eagle Wings” comes roaring through their speakers and knocks them on their ass. Maybe it is production genius or intentional song place, one can never be too certain of these things, but from “Blood Eagle Wings” the entire album steps the fuck up. Pure, unadulterated domination rather!
When fans think of Anthrax they expect to get dope guitar, which is probably why Scott Ian is the most well-known member of the band, but from “Blood Eagle Wings”, the instrumentation is just all around spectacular, solid, and a well-oiled machine of trash. A perfect example of this is the phenomenal opening to “Suzerain”, which from start to finish drills fist pumping, horn raising metal into fan’s brains without apology.
Overall, 4AK is like the first season of Netflix’s series Daredevil, serious Marvel fans jump on it without hesitation; others may ponder the idea to see it but need some prompting but then are hooked. For All Kings is exactly like this, diehard fans will love the entire album, without question, whereas others may hesitate but will find some tracks on the album they really like, despite the albums slow start. It’s not groundbreaking, similar to recent releases by Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Megadeth, but fans looking for fresh but familiar, A4K is definitely worth a listen.