TV has soap operas, literature has Shakespeare, and metal – well, metal has Anthrax, that fire-breathing, thrash-spitting, multi-headed beast of a band that – 30 years since the day Scott Ian and then-bassist Danny Lilker searched a biology textbook for the disease that would become their moniker – smiles back at you with a monstrous, upturned middle finger and refuses to fucking die. But then, if you have an inkling about heavy metal, you’ll have heard of their meteoric rise in the 80s alongside the likes of Slayer, Megadeth, and a little band that once crashed on Anthrax’s studio floor known as Metallica.
You know all about their game-changing, crossover hit with Public Enemy on Bring The Noise in 1991. You’ll have listened to generations of bands that owe everything to their signature stomp and crushing riffs. And in more recent times, you have witnessed an almost irrational will to survive in defiance of monumental odds. That, true believers, is the story of one of the most doggedly heroic bands in metaldom on the cusp of their greatest release to date. The road has not been easy.
Rewind to 2005
Hot on the heels of 2003′s rapturously received We’ve Come For You All, a unanimously praised, end-to-end scorcher spearheaded by vocalist John Bush, Anthrax shocked the metal world with the announcement that singer Joey Belladonna would be re-joining the band for a classic, 80s-era reunion that would sweep them around the world on a wave of head-banging nostalgia, but more importantly, reconnecting the band as friends and as the brutal thrash machine that gave the world Among The Living.
Once that tour finished, Anthrax returned to discover that John Bush had moved on, and they would need to recruit yet another singer for the recording of their follow-up to WCFYA, the album that would become Worship Music, their tenth studio album. The band worked with one singer for a period of time, but in 2009, they were still without the right vocalist.
Reuniting with Joey Belladonna for a whirlwind, globe-stomping tour that would see Anthrax playing shoulder to shoulder with Slayer, Megadeth and old pals Metallica, the explosive success of The Big 4 would suddenly beg the question of what would happen next, and more to the point: who would sing on Worship Music, and how would Anthrax approach the follow-up to We’ve Come For You All? It wasn’t easy, but – from the ferocious attack of “Earth on Hell” to the red-blooded might of “Fight’em ‘Til You Can’t,” the results have been nothing less than horn-conjuring.
Given that this year Anthrax celebrates its 30th anniversary of fighting the good fight, Scott’s sentiment is a poignant one. So how does it feel to be releasing a new record over three decades since you began?
“It freaks me out actually, that that much time has gone by,” says Charlie. “In my mind I still feel like the same person from back then, but if we were to do this ten years ago, I would be more concerned about staying relevant and this time I could care less about staying relevant. It’s about doing what I think our fans enjoy.
Over the past 30 years, Anthrax has achieved sales in excess of 10-million. The band has also received multiple Gold and Platinum albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans.
Hit songs include:
- Black Lodge
- Breathing Lightning
- The Devil You Know
- Make Me Laugh
- I Am the Law
- Got the Time
- In My World
- Bring the Noise
- Caught in a Mosh
- Among the Living
- I’m the Man
- Potters Field