Worship Music, Anthrax’s first studio album of new material since 2003’s We’ve Come for You All, is a reversion back to the punk-metal fusion that established the band as one of the “Big Four” in metal. John Bush, the Armored Saint frontman who replaced Joey Belladonna in 1992, is out as frontman and Belladonna is back in. Though perhaps coincidence, the more diverse sound Anthrax displayed on its most recent efforts, WCFYA and Volume 8: The Threat is Real, seems to have left with Bush. Worship Music sounds more like a hybrid of Persistence of Time and Sound of White Noise than Anthrax’s more recent efforts.
I don’t know what Belladonna has been doing for the last 19 years, but he’s hardly lost a step. The band also seems like he never left; they are at the top of their game here. Worship Music is a full-out sonic beatdown, starting with “Earth is on Hell” and unrelenting until the final notes of “Revolution Screams.” A word of caution – be careful listening to this while you are exercising or enjoying a few beers because you will have the uncontrollable urge to throw something, smash something, or unleash a wicked beatdown on somebody. I’m only half joking. You may also need to go see a chiropractor after all the headbanging. It’s not possible to listen to this album without at least nodding your head along.
Time will tell if any of Worship Music’s tracks have the staying power of Anthrax classics such as “A.I.R.”, “Keep it in the Family”, and “Madhouse.” I’m still getting used to the album, but my favorite tracks so far are “The Devil You Know”, “I’m Alive” and “Judas Priest.” At first, I wasn’t crazy about the first single, “Fight ‘Em ‘Till You Can’t”, particularly the chorus, but even that song has grown on me. It’s tough to even choose a favorite track because, really, they’re all pretty damn good or even great.
It’s amazing that a band can go back in time 20 years, defying its evolution; however, that’s exactly what Anthrax did with Worship Music. As much as I enjoyed the John Bush era, I’m happy to see Belladonna back with Anthrax and I’m excited to see where this new chapter takes the band. If you’re a fan of Anthrax or just good ol’ 80’s thrash metal, do your ears a favor and pick up Worship Music when it’s released on September 13. It is an awesome album from start to finish and it keeps getting better with each listen. — Pedro Moreno