When is the last time one of the speed metal titans of the 1980s issued an album worthy of attention, let alone praise? Perhaps we all had assumed that these acts simply faded into The Retread Zone, or maybe we stopped caring. But the rise of the nu-metal genre has prompted former headbangers to re-emerge and make claims like, “I saw Metallica at Day on the Green in 1985 years before there was a black album or justice for all.” It was only a matter of time before one of the scene’s veterans lashed back and reminded everyone who once ruled the world.
Count Anthrax among those to make such a claim with a solid new release to back it up. While Metallica is busy tweaking its snare drum to sound more like something a monkey in a Fez hat would play, Anthrax has instead opted to take its core strengths and blend them with a vibe that appeals to both ends of the audience spectrum — young and old.
No, Anthrax will never release another “Among the Living.” But we’ll never hear another “Master of Puppets” from Metallica, and the world will never again experience the earth-shattering thunder of Slayer’s “Reign in Blood.” It’s an undeniable fact, and the time to get over it was 10 years ago.
Standing on its own merit, “We’ve Come For You All” is a pride album. It demonstrates that Anthrax can exist on its own terms while simultaneously avoiding the painful desperation a number of bands face at this stage in their careers. After a brief yet compelling opening instrumental, Anthrax immediately launches into “What Doesn’t Die.” Fans will instantly recognize Charlie Benante’s double-bass drum, Frank Bello’s teeth-rattling bass lines and a crunching guitar that could only come from one Scott Ian.
A few surprises await listeners. “Safe Home” initially sends off blaring warning signals that seem to scream “Danger Will Robinson.” But give the track two listens and you’re hooked. Remember, this is and isn’t your mother’s Anthrax, so a mind on the music and not the past is a pre-requisite.
As we already stated, New York’s finest thrashers are the masters of their domain, and if Frank wants to sing on a song, so be it. If Charlie wants to play a few leads, then more power to him. And dammit, if the guys want Roger Daltrey to join in on vocals on “Taking the Music Back,” who in his right mind is going to stand in their way? Anthrax has earned everything and more that some would sooner steal from them; they’ve come for you all, and they’re taking the rights to metal with them.