iTunes Purchase Link (it's not on Spotify… grr): https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/worship-music/id455371710
2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for "I'm Alive"
I don't know a ton about Anthrax, other than being familiar with their name. But from what my memory bank holds, I feel like an album titled "Worship Music" has got to be on the side of ironic.
So we turn to Wiki because I love my easy-to-access app. I love that people make album pages.
Three years to record, runs about an hour, released in 2011 on Megaforce and Nuclear Blast, and the latest album they've released. Yadda yadda yadda. It's their tenth album and their first of original material since 2003 (whoa.). Joey Belladonna is featured for the first time since the 90's. San Nelson departed from the band, which was a major reason for the delay of release, as well as John Bush joining, but then not committing to the record. Oh legal issues.
They released is as a free download on the site to thank fans for being so patient with them for the release. It's also said, by the band, that this is their most emotional album ever. Critics say it's also their best since 1990.
But all that said, NO EXPLANATION OF THE TITLE. Sigh. Add that to the list of questions to ask bands if I ever meet them. I should really start that list.
"Worship (Intro)" is first up. Of course, I mean, the title kind of signifies that. I go into this with my least favorite warning ever: I am only getting 30 second clips of songs here. And for this? Just a tone building up. Damn it all. Hopefully more comes out when I look for videos in a bit.
So we launch into the real meat of the album, starting with "Earth on Hell" (ooh, clever). Of course it's moving super fast, probably where you can barely see the drummer's hands moving. But I think one thing I always liked about Anthrax, if memory serves, is that I could always actually hear the words. Joey was a great choice to take up lead vocals, and starts this things off crisply and in a great way. Sorry for the volume on this video - but it's definitely better than nothing.
"The Devil You Know" keeps up the hard-hitting nature, but actually does take on enough of a different sound to enjoy. I mean, on some metal albums you get the same damn screaming, let alone the same beat and riffs - this isn't the case. There's a rhythm change here, that's most prevalent, that makes me incredibly hopeful for this album.
Ooh, a lead guitar on its own for a second - that's always fun. It's also amazing to be what pauses in singing can do for these songs. "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" does go into some bridge/chorus where the voice is moving fast and faster and I'm sure gets more non-understandable, but that's the beautify of quick clips - I don't have to deal with that part!
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"I'm Alive" is the big single and the Grammy-nominated number from the album. Again, just a short clip here on my end, but I get it, totally. I didn't even hear the 'catchy' chorus (I unfortunately got whiff of another review before this) but the instrumentation has something really awesome going on by itself. That clip did at the very least leave me wanting more. And now we get it! Yay videos.
We're basically hearing all of "Hymn 1" since it's only :38 long. Lots of low strings that steadily pick up and build this awesome anticipation launching into the next section of the album.
"In The End" is not a Linkin Park cover (and no one even snickered at that other than me), but it does have these great bells tolling, even if it's just once in the bit that I heard. No vocals come in for me until it fades out, but the song somehow has a more solemn tone overall.
Moving right along here, we come up on "The Giant." The difference between verse and chorus and the call-and-response method is different for this genre at least for me, and it works in its own odd way. It's almost got a show-like quality to it, which is super odd. But again, I certainly don't hate it.
"Hymn 2" sits at 0:44. I guess we're heading into the last bit here already. This hymn relies on drums instead of strings, but they seem to have about the same progression, from slow to fast and ready to take off.
Can I get someone to somewhat laugh that the next song title is "Judas Priest"? The beat of the drums from the Hymn seems to absolutely be the base of this song, which is cool to imagine a transition into. The highs are heard in this bit, which I think I was sort of waiting for. Gotta have your highs and lows in metal. Gotta have them.
"Crawl" does have a crawling pace in this bit, but it's one of those that you know something more is coming for sure. Also, it makes for a far-more intense song. The little bit of chorus I start to hear is where the magic really happens anyway. It's a song that would catch on.
I'm surprised by the steady rock beat for "The Constant." I'm not rushing to keep up with the band as the song goes along. It's a solid song with a great tone in the vocal quality. Do people use these kind of descriptions for metal usually? Do I need to remind anyone and everyone that this is my blog?
Final song time, sort of. "Revolution Screams" is the last title track on here, but my research shows that there's a hidden track, "New Noise" (originally done by Refused). I'll be 100% honest y'all - I don't know which song I actually heard. All I do know is that the track seems hard hitting and solid and a good way to end this seemingly great album.
Added to My Playlist (if Spotify ever added this album):
I hate not actually hearing the entire album when I review. I feel like I'm cheating the few of you that actually take the time to read those out of a good and true review. But trust me, if I could buy everything and hear every note, know that I would. And someday I will. And I just don't like doing these off of YouTube uploads of music. Not sure why on that one, but it's never been my thing.
Regardless - for the 15 minutes I spent listening and re-listening to these clips, Anthrax is a stand up band that can still produce quality. You don't see bands with this kind of longevity often enough, and this band should be really proud of the work they've done and continue to do.
Oh boy, time for some metal!
American heavy metal band Megadeth is now on their third, and apparently final album, with Roadrunner Records. It's actually their 13th album overall. The only reasoning I can find behind that is that their contract with Roadrunner is up, so if anyone knows more, fill in the gaps of my knowledge please. They're leaving the label either way, as they're pretty frustrated with their treatment, so we'll see what happens next.
Both this year's recording academy and last year's honored the band with performance nominations (2 different songs) for a Grammy. Neither year saw a win, but hey, it's an honor just to be nominated, right?
A funny note - the whole unlucky number 13 thing came about for them out of many unlucky occurrences during recording - car trouble, things going missing, etc. It sort of became a joke, and the band actually sees this album as a great, and quickly made, success.
"Sudden Death" is our opening song, and it's like being welcomed in to a fighting arena. The guitar's hard at work, and the drums are creating a building beat making your heart pound in... well, fear, sort of. This carries on for a while, getting quicker and quicker, until about a minute in when a surprisingly clear voice comes through, spitting the words out. I cannot believe how easy it is to understand what he's saying though! This is the crisp sound that makes this music bearable, even if the lyrics sound somewhat evil. Ah, this is actually a nice welcome into the album.
The other song (as well as the first) to receive a Grammy nod was the second track, "Public Enemy No. 1." This song was apparently written for Al Capone. In fact, they say that during recording in an old building in Tennessee, it's possible he was haunting the place - which used to be his hideaway (or at least on of them). There's lots of guns and capture resistance referenced during this fast-paced rock song. If Al had a dark, growling-type voice, I'm sure this would be his theme song.
All right, I deem this a good metal album, simply because I find it comfortable to zone out to. "Whose Life [Is It Anyways?]" came on, and I didn't notice until we were pretty far in. It's definitely a self-reliance song, trying to get some jerk off your back that tells you how to live. Self-esteem? Something like that, I can't place my head around the right word(s) to describe it. It's a great track though, with high energy in all the right spots.
"We The People" is not something I should be listening to late at night - I can tell there's something deeper I should be listening to, since I just caught the line: "the Constitution isn't worth the paper it's written on." Okay, listening more closely. "In greed we trust, in revolution we die." There are definitely some awesome, interesting lyrics laced throughout the music. Here's an enigma of a metal song, where the music and guitar solos don't matter nearly as much as the lyrics over all of them.
Oh right, this is a rock album. "Guns, Drugs, & Money" - pick your poison or you die. Those are the lyrics. This is becoming a big statement, but luckily one we can understand. This doesn't get muffled over by music. And the music that is accompanying the words is tolerable - there's talent there actually. Drums to these kinds of songs are hard, let alone the guitar solos. If you're listening in, past the lyrics if you don't care about the message, it's pretty impressive how into it the musicians get. Oh, and there's a little 20's theme quietly slipped into the end - nice additional homage to the gangsters.
"Never Dead" is the quietest we've been during the entire album - until a minute in when we're reminded we're here to fuckin' rock. Okay, okay, my words, not theirs. But seriously, that building from quiet music provided a great image, musically, for the song itself. There's maybe something about traveling, possibly to hell, but I'm not entirely sure one way or another at this point. Again, not a good almost-asleep album.
The thing about metal is that bands fall in to this usual beat throughout every song. The drummers work very hard, but they don't vary up the beat a whole lot - maybe for the chorus and verses, but even from song-to-song, it's usually just fast. "New World Order" makes some attempt to defy that, but I think it's the guitar that makes or breaks every metal song that's out there. Now, granted, the pattern is always about the same - they come heavy in some epic solo somewhere during the bridge. That solo better be awesome and memorable though. Is it here? Eh, not really, if I'm being honest. But okay, at least it's there.
"Fast Lane" takes us into the second half of the album, with a slight more electronic sound amping things up. Immediately, even if it is the title's doing, this becomes a racing song. I mean, can't you see it - a crazy, fast-paced race on the backtop? Need for speed. Man, I miss my car. Anywhos, even the lyrics keep up with the pace, almost continuing to drive everything forward, faster and faster. I don't think a song has ever made me want to hit a race track so badly.
I walked back into my room as "Black Swan" was playing, and my first reaction was that this was a far more beautiful and/or elegant song than the previous ones have been. I think it's something in the melodies the lead vocal carries out. The notes are held out through actual singing, where as before, it sounded a lot like slightly melodic rap, hitting the words instead of singing them. It's just a nice difference in sound, is what I'm trying to say. It's still a pretty damn dark song, but this one has got a little more musically than the rest have.
There's something entirely familiar about the guitar's part of "Wrecker," and it's kind of a fantastic anger song. It doesn't matter what you go, you're going to mess it up. Brilliant for that idiot who ruins things, like relationships. I wouldn't take this as a self-deprecating song - direct it at someone else. You all have one, I'm sure. Let the anger out - better to call them a wrecker than wreck their face, right? Or not, yah know, you decide!
"Millennium Of The Blind" leads in with another pretty great guitar solo, showing off some serious power all by itself, and just slight other sounds coming in beneath. This one's cool like "Black Swan," in that there's singing involved. This time, the key is much lower, and the sound is slow and methodical. I'd venture to call this one the darkest track thus far, with only the electric guitar's small parts scattered throughout showing any hope for the message at all. The darkness has a root though - an anger about how we follow our leaders completely blindly, right down with the ship.
The Nightmare Before Christmas girl and fanatic in me is downright giddy about the title coming up: "Deadly Nightshade." Ten points if you know exactly what I'm talking about, and you'd better. I can't find anything in the descriptions that link the song to the movie, and there probably isn't anything. But I enjoy the thought. The song itself? Eh, it's okay. There's so much bite and anger to the vocals that it's hard to think anything other than proposed death throughout. Nice rock solo for the guitar though, right before it launches into a far more metal-sounding-solo. My one hope is that the girl's voice, which I can barely make out, is Sally's.
Final song time - track thirteen, "13." It starts with a pretty epic musical intro, but the voice has given out by this point. He's getting tired or else just is taking it lower and lower to where he has to growl out every word. It's okay, I can forgive a weak ending song. It's just a let down given the high energy we've been experiencing. It's a closer though, and we've had quite a ride with the band overall. Also, there's some classic guitar in there than makes me love this at about 2:00. Sorry for the negativity before. Okay, now we can be done.
Added to My Playlist:
So okay, I'm still not a metal head. But this one was surprisingly good, especially by comparison to other albums I've heard in this genre recently. The production is great - it's not over-done to a point where the music sounds mechanical. There's still musical quality an a real band there. Yet, it's clear and crisp, and you can actually appreciate the band for what they're performing, not just how loud they can perform it.
- "Whose Life [Is It Anyway?]"
- "Black Swan"