Saturday, June 18, 2016

For All Kings

I don't know what it is with Anthrax, but over the years, I seem to have formed a chip on my shoulder about them. While I enjoy everything up to, and including, We've Come For You All, I somehow still looked down on them with some contempt. Maybe it was because I considered Scott Ian as a bit of a self-important douche, or maybe it was because I felt like Joey Belladonna was a bit of a poser, playing the part of a Thrash frontman, while he often preferred the softer side of Rock. Either way, I thought that their 2011 reunion album, Worship Music, was kind of a disappointment, and even before it was released, I was prepared to write off this years new record as a colossal turd. Hell, I wanted nothing more that to rip it apart...and with my preconceived notions, I was underwhelmed when I first heard For All Kings...and choosing their second single as Breathing Lightning did them no favors.

Still, people across the Metal community were raving about how good For All Kings was. I downloaded it, but I was still stuck in my ways and wouldn't really give it a fair listen. Then I came across a recent interview with Scott Ian, and in speaking about how he handled some choices back in 1990, he owned his decisions. He didn't play it off, or deflect blame...he came out and basically said, "yeah, I was in a bad place at the time, and didn't handle things well". It isn't very often that you find someone, especially in the entertainment industry, that will take responsibility like he also talked about he has never been a drinker, and that helped sway me too. It was like my Grinch heart grew three sizes that day. With this new found respect, I queued up For All Kings, and tried to go into it with a more open mind. Goddamnit. I found myself enjoying it a bit.

When I saw the vinyl in the record bin at the local store, I was intrigued by the packaging. With plastic wrap keeping everything secure and tight, I couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on with the sleeve. Unable to resist, I bought it.

With the slipcover, the metallic shine on the record cover, the colored vinyl, and the d-side etching...the packaging on this is extremely well done.

The more that I've sat with this album, the more it has grown on me. While I'd initially thought this would hang out at the bottom of my Year End list, at this point, I'm starting to wonder how high it will climb, and if it has a chance to crack my Top 10. Solid album that continues to surprise the hell out of me.

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