ANTHRAX, “KINGS AMONG SCOTLAND”, ALBUM REVIEW: MOSH EMPIRE

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Thrash veteran Anthrax released a live album as well as DVD, Kings Among Scotland, in late April. Not only this is simply one of the best live albums, this is one of the best “best albums” perfectly covering the majority of Anthrax’s necessary classics as well as some recent ones from their latest studio album in 2016, For All Kings. Kings Among Scotland contains all that audience would expect from a concert; good songs, good techniques, power, heat, passion, and entertainment. Metal fans can’t help but head-banging non-stop throughout the album, I do even inside of New York City subway (for me, Anthrax is still a real New York band). The voltage is already maxed from the speedy intro of the first song, “A.I.R.”, with killing riffs and drum. The power and excitement don’t fall until the end though this is a long album. This is the two hours sadistic joy of stable massive attacks. Twin guitars keep shooting fast and edgy metal soundfires. Uncle-nephew rhythm section from Bronx adds heavy thunders and tornado grooves. Their magical performance even revamps some songs like “Blood Eagle Wings” and “Breathing Lightning” from For All Kings, that was a so-so quality.

The most notable is Joey Belladonna’s vocal. Joey shows what a true metal vocalist should be with this live album. Not only very stable throughout the show despite being aggressive with a lot of shouts, his vocal expression is dramatic. Thrash metal is the type of music hardly matches with “dramatic”, but that happens here. His vocal style is clearly different between pre-departure (Attack of Killer B’s in 1991…his vocal was flat!) and post-reunion (Worship Music in 2011). Joey’s revived vocal style contributed to position Anthrax to be much further from other thrash bands while they had already been original, and he easily proved again with this live album. Let’s compare “Caught In a Mosh”, an Anthrax’s mosh anthem. Joey’s vocal is more mature than Among the Living album but actually more hardcore with needle-sharp aggressiveness and boldness to make a bigger mosh along with edger instrumental performance. With “Blood Eagle Wings”, Joey’s gives theatrical effects to the half-progressive thrash metal song. His vocal style change is the best sound effect to be heavier metal band. He shows that shouts aren’t only singing method of thrash metal and he is among the king of thrash vocalists with more powerful performance and thicker voice than the recordings. Take a look. How many thrash vocalists can really sing? Very few. This is a clearly different point with recently released Overkill’s live album, Live In Overhausen. Also a thrash band, but the quality of vocal performances is uncomparable other than the fact the vocal styles are different between two.

Another notable fact of Kings Among Scotland is the hyper clear sound quality. Simply crystal clear like glasses. Ultra-high presence like being in the concert hall. Anthrax’s max voltage power and the audience’s hot heat filled in the concert hall directly reaches to listeners over their speakers. Undoubtedly, one of the best live album sound quality ever. The high sound quality helps listeners visualize the concert without watching DVD.

OVERALL POINTS: 98/100

  • Songs: ★★★★★
  • Originality: ★★★★★
  • Thrills: ★★★★★
  • Song orders: ★★★★+3/4
  • Vocal: ★★★★★
  • Background: ★★★★+1/2
  • Production: ★★★★★
  • Strong songs: “A.I.R.”, “Madhouse”, “Evil Twin”, “Medusa”, “Breathing Lightning”, “Caught in a Mosh”, “I Am the Law”, “A Skelton in the Closet”, “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”, “Imitation of Life”, “Antisocial”

EXTRA (NOT COUNTED TOWARD THE OVERALL POINTS)

  • Title: C
  • Album cover: D

ANTHRAX, KINGS AMONG SCOTLAND

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