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Anthrax | Weve Come For You All | review | metal | Lollipop
We've Come For You All (Sanctuary)
by Tim Den
I can't believe my ears. Never in a thousand years would I have predicted this. Since kick-starting their downward spiral in the early-'90s (by hiring vocalist John Bush and setting the best example of how to mismatch and misuse a talent), Anthrax have given me no reason to believe that they could still dish out the goods. Okay, a fair amount of smashers were on Sound of White Noise and Stomp 442 (the latter being the best Bush-era output from the group), but overall, the band have wallowed in nothing but hollow clichés - both musically and lyrically - in the attempt to "reinvent" themselves with Bush. Without old vocalist Joey Belladonna (whose "solo career" has been as laughable as the 'Thrax's since they parted ways), the band seemed to've left clever riffs, well-timed breakdowns, and (most importantly) melodic punch back in the '80s. Bush, though a master of melody and gutsy hollering in Armored Saint, was reduced to putting on a "NY streets" persona and singing monotone phrases. It finally seemed all but over when their last full-length, Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, arrived in a state of empty songs and even worse production to boot.
So how, then, how in the fucking world did the band manage to bounce back FULL THROTTLE after all these years of shittiness? I mean, We've Come for You All has NO FILLER in sight, only 14 of the best tunes the band have ever written. Somewhere between Volume 8: The Threat Is Real and We've Come for You All, the band must've discovered an ancient secret formula that taught them how to combine the majesty of '80's melodic thrash, '90's crossover stomp, and timeless craftsmanship. It's as if every style the band has ever attempted melted into one homogenous, gleaming statue. The booming beats drop like ten ton hammers, yet the riffs are stacked with detailed sinews (not stop-and-go lobotomy)... even Bush has dropped the "broken record" approach to singing and filled his lungs with fresh ideas.
Where do I start? Opener "What Doesn't Die" explodes with double bass and grinding glory, "Black Dahlia" shreds like a dentist drill, and (first single) "Safe Home" is a spine-tingling classic in the making. But the real treasures - and the ultimate test of all quality songwriting - lie in the bridges. "Refuse to Be Denied" roars like a lion, until the bridge hits and the whole fucking zoo is let loose. "Any Place But Here" and "Think About an End" combine thick grooves with Maiden-worthy dueling solos (remember those? The ones that Metallica and Sepultura used to slip into the middle of thrash riffs? The utter brilliance their fleeting presence left on your senses, as they weaved in and made your eyes roll back?), banging your head and flustering you with feelings of triumph at the same time. Hell, even "Superhero" (the weakest track, misleadingly placed second on the album. I must admit I was pretty sure it was a sign of things to come when I first heard it after "What Doesn't Die"... but boy was I proven wrong) has a staggering NYHC-style creepy crawly in the middle.
And I haven't even mentioned the magnificent mosh-ness of "Nobody Knows Anything" (which rivals any tech metalcore band today), the deliciously rocking Kiss/Skynard-isms of "Cadillac Rock Box," or the tasteful/incredible abilities of new lead guitarist Rob Caggiano. In all seriousness, the shit Caggiano pulls off pretty much kills all previous Anthrax lead guitarists (yes, that includes Dan Spitz). You starting to get the point yet?
Whatever cosmic forces guided Anthrax in the making of We've Come for You All, I thank you with all my soul. Thank you for proving to me that one of my childhood faves still have it in 'em. To have a dead horse bounce back like this... never in my wildest dreams. After going at it for 20+ years, Anthrax are finally the band they always could've been.