Review Summary: Heavy, Catchy and not too serious. An excellent return to form from the Big 4’s arguably least revered band.
Anthrax has always been the odd one out of the Big 4, highly influential but never quite achieving the popular heights of their compatriots. They have released a string of classic albums early in their career, their more recent albums have been unstable in terms of quality but on Worship Music, one can revel in the fact that they are back in full force.
What is shown on this record is signature Anthrax: Heavy, Catchy and not too serious. They have always been the lightest and happier sounding band out of the Big 4, the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna has certainly helped cement this fact, he sounds in top form and just as he did on "Spreading The Disease" and their breakthrough album "Among The Living" 24 years ago. The first half of the album showcases more fast-paced numbers, “Earth On Hell” explodes right out of the gate with Charlie Benante’s blast beats and is the perfect opener and an instant classic. It would not be an Anthrax record without their signature chant along hooks and choruses, mainly provided by Scott Ian and Frank Bello, the fun and groovy “The Devil You Know”, lead single “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” and “The Giant” are great examples of these.
Anthrax showcases a more mature sound on the latter half of the album, songs like “I’m Alive”, “In The End”, “The Constant” and “Revolution Screams” demonstrate their ability to get into a slower groove and compose longer, more drawn out songs. Where Belladonna’s vocals were more fun and playful in the first half of the album, he is more emotional and sensitive in the second half. They also pay tribute to one of their heroes Judas Priest with a song of the same name, where they reference a few famous Priest songs during the bridge, even during these slower songs, they still maintain a sense of drive.
Instrumentally the band is solid, Scott Ian proves himself once again to be able to write catchy riffs, providing very interesting rhythmic interplay with Belladonna especially during verses (Earth On Hell, The Giant, Revolution Screams). Charlie Benante can still drum with the best of them, some very impressive parts include the bridge in Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t, where he plays some high speed rolls with some quick and subtle cymbal flourishes. Rob Caggiano is a very musical and underrated solo guitarist, his skills are shown especially in “The Devil You Know”, “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” and “In The End”. I would put him right behind Chris Broderick in terms of Big 4 solo guitarists, just because Broderick is in a totally different realm.
Worship Music is more of a mix of Thrash and Hard Rock, fans looking for an album that is pure adrenaline and speed from start to finish will be slightly disappointed here, but those who appreciate a more dynamic album will certainly welcome the diversity. My only nitpick is about the album is the lack of more fast paced songs, otherwise, this is a solid return to form from Anthrax and this is an album that shows a band that can still recreate and maintain the same level of musical intensity 30 years into their career.