Anthrax, 2017 Loudwire Music Awards Performer
While pockets of thrash cropped up in the Bay Area in San Francisco and in Germany, New York natives Anthrax fell in the geographic middle when they pursued their own style of thrash after forming in 1981. The city’s multicultural makeup was not exclusive to the population with plenty of heavier musical influence to be found as hardcore rose to prominence. Anthrax’s core, consisting of guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante, took equal parts New Wave of British Heavy Metal, West Coast thrash and hardcore’s macho riffing to forge a sound that would result in a series of genre classics, implementing a fresh element in thrash with melodically-driven singer Joey Belladonna.
After further defining heavy metal throughout the mid-to-late ‘80s and into the following decade, Anthrax continued their upward ascent, releasing undisputed all-timers like Among the Living and Persistence of Time, ultimately selling over 10 million albums worldwide through the present day. Famously, there was also the collaborative effort with hip-hop icons Public Enemy on “Bring the Noise” that bridged two musical styles that appeared to be at polar ends of music’s ever-expanding spectrum.
After a switch up front with grittier and grungier John Bush in 1992, the group eventually reconvened with Belladonna on a more permanent basis in 2010, which coalesced in a massive resurgence for the New York vets. As part of thrash’s Big 4, they hit the stage for a special series of concerts which were rounded out by Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica and fans haven’t stopped begging for more since the last show in 2011.
Just before that final coveted gig, Anthrax released the long-awaited, highly-anticipated Worship Music, an album that was lauded by fans and critics alike. With their career brightly reignited by Belladonna’s first studio record with the group since 1990, Anthrax have embarked on countless world tours since as thrash’s popularity also experienced a considerable move of the needle.
Returning five years later with another record, For All Kings, Anthrax’s power surged with more of their classic feel while carefully introducing new elements into their sound without sacrificing any of their key components. With more melody to propel Belladonna’s timeless pipes and to juxtapose the Ian’s unrepentant down-picking, an angst that fails to wane and new six-stringer Jonathan Donais in tow, the argument can be made that Anthrax are even stronger now than their earliest days when their legacy still lie ahead of them.