On Tuesday, September 13, Anthrax will release their first studio album in eight years, Worship Music.
Not only is it the first original music from Anthrax since 2003, it's also the first Anthrax album in more than 20 years to feature vocalist Joey Belladonna, who was the group's lead singer on classic albums like Among the Living and Persistence of Time. All this makes for one of the most anticipated heavy metal releases in recent memory.
Guitar World recently got the chance to talk to Anthrax lead guitarist Rob Caggiano about a number of topics, from guitars and the new album to the ex-Anthrax singer who "shall not be named" (Hint: It's not John Bush or Neil Turbin). Here, Rob gives us a track-by-track breakdown of the new album.
"Earth On Hell"
"That's one of the most aggressive tunes on the record. It features a lot of blast beat drumming and the riff is really aggressive. It's got more of that thrashy element to it."
"The Devil You Know"
"That song's kind of a cross between 'Caught in a Mosh' and an AC/DC song, like 'Whole Lotta Rosie.' It's got that thrashy rock 'n' roll vibe to it, which I love."
"Fight 'Em Til You Can't"
"That was kind of the first song we started playing as a band, even in the rehearsal room. It was one of the first songs that got finished, so we started playing it a lot. It's a song that's got all the elements of what the band is about; it's got the thrashy vibe, it's got melody, it's got a groove, it's got a lot of over-the-top playing in it."
"That's probably my favorite solo on the record. I really, really tried to push myself to make that as interesting as it could be. I was really happy with the way it came out. It probably took me a full day to nail down that lead. It started off in one direction and I wasn't really digging it so I tried some other things. The way I do solos, it's not planned out at all. I start out with a very improv approach. I'll jam to a track a few times, come up with some ideas and then start to connect the dots."
"In the End"
"That song was originally called 'Down Goes the Sun,' from the first round. It was one of the ones that got re-recorded and it actually went through probably three or four renditions before it ended up how it is now. It's one of my favorite tracks on the album; it's pretty epic. It's got almost a Zeppelin kind of vibe to it with the chords in the chorus.
At one point that riff was gone and I called up Charlie and said, 'Dude, we have to put that riff back in.' So he went back in and re-did the drums and the song came out awesome. I love it."
"That's a fun song, top to bottom. That song actually took Joey a while to lock into the vibe on, but once he did, it just sounded perfect. I took the same approach on the leads to all the songs, which is a really lyrical approach."
"This is an interesting song. This was the other song that got re-worked. 'Judas Priest' was originally called 'Maniacal,' and at the time, on the first go-round of the record, it had my favorite lead on it. I thought it was one of the best parts on the whole album; even the riff under the solo I thought was awesome.
The original version of the song, though, I think reminded everyone too much of 'the other guy,' if you know what I mean. There wasn't anything wrong with the song, it just had a negative vibe to it. We felt like it needed to be re-worked and re-written, so to make a long story short, some of the riffs are the same but the majority of the song is completely different now.
Along with "I'm Alive," I'd have to say this is one of my favorite leads on the album. I was on tour with The Damned Things when we were wrapping up work on the album. This was the last song to get finished on the album. I basically had to play the lead on a tour bus in Belgium! [laughs]"
"'Crawl' is an interesting one. It's more of a moody, slow track for Anthrax. I think Joey sounds phenomenal on this song, he really shines on this one. I think overall it's a great tune, the chorus is great. There's a lot of depth to this song, musically. Just the mood and the atmosphere on the song makes it a really mature song.
For the lead, I really needed to capture that as well and make it something that would stand out and be memorable."
"This song has an anthem kind of vibe to it, in my opinion. Lyrically and melodically, just what Joey's singing and how he's hitting the melodies makes it almost like a grandiose, anthemic vibe. I can see the crowds chanting along with their fists in the air.
The riff is really aggressive. The drum part is also really interesting on this song. If you pay attention to what Charlie's playing, it's this crazy, technical part."
Stay tuned for more from Anthrax on their new album, Worship Music, in the comings weeks. Worship Music hits stores on September 13.