Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Anthrax is releasing a new album, Worship Music, in June. It will
be their first with their new singer - their fourth lead vocalist in 25 years - Dan Nelson. The album sees them returning to their original label, Megaforce. Neil Turban was the original singer (actually there were others before him, but he was on their debut, 1984's Fistful of Metal). He was fired. He was replaced by Joey Belladonna, who was their singer during what is referred to as their classic era, 1984 - 1992; after they signed a huge deal with Elektra Records, they fired him. They replaced him with John Bush, formerly of Armored Saint. A couple of years back, there were plans for a tour with both Bush and Belladonna, but Belladonna backed out at the last minute. A few years later, he rejoined the band for a reunion tour, but when it came time to make a new album, he left again. I guess Bush had enough of the band, so they moved on with a brand new singer.

Anthrax often seemed on the verge of breaking through, but it never really happened in the way that it did for Metallica, or even Megadeth or Slayer. Still they've toughed it out through trends, bad record deals and rotating lineups and they're still here. Who knows, maybe this will be the album that brings them to a larger audience, although I don't think it will put them in arenas.

Guitarist Scott Ian has been an influence on me: when metal seemed very closed off to outside influences, very conservative, he was talking about hip-hop (obviously Public Enemy but also Run-D.M.C.) but also bands like Fishbone and Faith No More and Living Colour who didn't fit neatly into metal. Without making a big deal about it, he was turning on white people to music that was being made by black people, which I think had a big effect on some of his fans. Also, how many metal bands were covering Joe Jackson?

I think Anthrax's biggest mistake may have been Belladonna: I wish John Bush had joined earlier. Belladonna was like a Journey-wannabe, and that made Anthrax seem different, but I think they needed a tougher sounding singer. Still, they made some great records with him.

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