“By the way, I do have whiplash. Thank you for noticing.”
On February 26, 2016, For All Kings, Anthrax’s 11th studio album was released and has instantly gone classic. Following 2011’s Worship Music, the Kings album is all the buzz among critics and fans alike.
It’s so satisfying right now, says bassist Frank Bello. “This is across the board–I’m not just blowing smoke here,” he insists, “people are saying this is our best work, including Worship Music. To hear that For All Kings is a step above— it’s really satisfying.”
“People said that was our quintessential record.” Bello says, referring to the critically acclaimed Worship Music album. “I love hearing that. We’re very grateful. All we want to do is be the band that we want to be…I swear, man. It’s just so satisfying to do on record what we do live, and make sure we leave it all on the table. Because in this day and age I just feel like everything is so short-changed. I wanted to do everything I could for our music and our live show. I think it’s really important to give quality, and that’s all it’s really about. I equate this to a rollercoaster that leaves you on a high. I think it’s got something for everybody.”
Check out the song “Blood Eagle Wings” here.
As in previous Anthrax works, guitarist Scott Ian has penned hard-hitting, socially-conscious lyrics for the band’s forcefully-delivered instrumentation. Ex-Shadows Fall guitarist Jonathan Donais, who officially joined Anthrax in 2013, makes his noticeable debut.
“We’re all getting along really well,” Bello says. “You know how much work it takes to do this; how you have to stay on the road forever, and make sure it’s the right record, and really be ‘now’. We’re putting out this new record 30-something years into our career.”
Bello is optimistic as well as enthused about the the band’s future. Anthrax continues to draw crowds worldwide and is currently out on tour in South America with Iron Maiden, finishing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil on March 26th.
“There’s a great movement that’s been going on—since the Big Four started.” He was referring to the first time thrash metal’s Big Four of Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer shared the stage together the Sonisphere Festival in 2010. Other Big Four dates followed. “You see a great mixing of a newer fan base along with our standard fan base. There’s a generation thing that’s going on that’s been really beautiful to see. All these great fans have been with us all this time. I’m telling you, dude, our crowd right now—and you can see this—is anywhere from (age) 13 to people in their 50s,easily. Just having fun. You can see the younger guys and the younger girls are in the front and in the pit. It’s just so much fun to see. The mothers and fathers are passing the torch to their kids, or maybe they’re getting into the music genuinely on their own. They’re finding the energy that we all love. I’m telling you, man, it started when we played The Big Four. So it’s a really nice thing—there’s like this whole resurgence that’s going on in a really great and big way.”
Bello’s percussive bass sound, coupled with his fierce onstage aggression, has always been remarkable. “By the way, I do have whiplash,” he laughs. “Thank you for noticing. That’s why I do yoga every day of my life. This is a passion. This music makes me do that. It drives me to do that. How people react to it—that’s why we got into it in the first place. That’s where it stems from. It’s all about the songs. I think it’s the unspoken thing that we just know, as metal lovers. Just music lovers. There’s great songs from great pop artists that I just connect with, or jazz songs that I connect with. I think there’s something there that’s beyond words. Music is a gift. That’s the way I look at it.”
Since its inception, Anthrax’s fan base has been mainly generated by word of mouth, with the exception of a small amount of radio and MTV airplay back in the early ’90s with their cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time.”
“We never got radio. We never got TV. So I’m very proud to say it’s a word of mouth thing. I see this whole movement that’s happening now for Anthrax with For All Kings. It’s all right in front of us. It’s just a great place to be. I know that we have the record. Anthrax has never sold anybody short. We don’t cut corners. We never did that. I think people are understanding that. I think our fans know that.”
“I think this band is hungrier now than it’s ever been. Just because. The momentum is so strong right now. There’s an absolute hunger—it’s such like a drug right now to see the reaction from the fans.”
Check our MOST EXTREME Interview with Frank Bello, here.