The Devil in the Details
By David Jenison
Anthrax would love to thrash and burn—Mitt Romney!
Twenty-one years ago, Anthrax joined Slayer and Megadeth on the epic Clash of the Titans tour, an arena-filling thrash metal fest that certainly clashed with the mainstream. The U.S. tour lasted two months, during which time Amy Grant, Extreme, Paula Abdul and the unforgettable Hi-Five all topped the charts. Fast forward to 2010, and the Titans trio joined Metallica for the “Big 4” festivals, which included a live broadcast fromBulgaria. The first tour established thrash metal and the next tour cemented its place in history, but none of the Four went full circle like Anthrax.
Joey Belladonna, the voice behind the classic Anthrax era (1984 to 1992), was gone soon after the Titans tour. Two new vocalists attempted to fill his shoes, but Belladonna officially rejoined Anthrax just in time for the Big 4 concerts and the band’s latest release, Worship Music.
“Even though we are all under the umbrella of thrash, the Big 4 bands don’t sound alike,” says Charlie Benante, drummer and co-songwriter for Anthrax. “This is what has been said in the past—we have a singer with Joey. I’m not saying the other bands don’t have singers, but we have a more traditional type of singer. He gave us more melody.”
It had been eight years since the last Anthrax album, so did Worship Music qualify as a proper comeback? Put it this way, its No. 12 debut is Anthrax’s highest chart position this side of Justin Bieber’s first diaper change, and it is a 110-spot improvement over their previous release. Following the Big 4 fests, the Clash of the Titans bands kept the ball rolling with the 2010 American Carnage Tour, and Slayer and Anthrax are together again for this summer’s Mayhem Festival tour.
“We have a certain amount of time to hit as hard as we can with as much energy as we can, so we are going to go for it and blow it up,” says Benante of the Mayhem set. “We are going to hit with the songs fans know and recognize.”
In addition to classics like “Caught in a Mosh” and “Madhouse,” Anthrax comes armed with several new songs the fans already love. In fact, one Worship Music single already has a dedication.
“‘The Devil You Know’ is Mitt Romney,” the drummer declares. “He is full of shit. Wait until the American people realize what Mormons believe. We have such a religious front in politics, and if you are up in arms about birth certificates and all that crap and don’t talk about the Mormon thing, you are a hypocrite.”
“Fight ’Em ’Til You Can’t” is another standout single with a zombie-apocalypse theme readymade for the CDC’s recent (and serious) statement dismissing a zombie invasion.
“We were like, ‘What the hell is going on?’” says Benante, an avid horror movie buff. “It all comes down to idiots doing drugs. I mean, what else would drive the zombie holocaust? A person snorts these ‘bath salts’ and says, ‘I think I am going to eat a homeless person’s face.’ It’s life imitating art.”
San Manuel Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Helen Pkwy., San Bernardino; www.rockstarmayhemfest.com. General admission, $20.50; second level, $20.50; first level, $53; orchestra pit, $63.