Kings Among Scotland
Let's face it; throughout the history of the Thrash Metal genre, few groups have weathered the loss of a lead vocalist with both their dignity and sanity entirely intact. This was most definitely the case with New York City, New York-born veterans Anthrax. After the unceremonious ousting of multi-octave frontman Joey Belladonna (who himself has replaced troubled original vocalist Neil Turbin) in 1992, the group wasted little time recruiting Armored Saint leader John Bush, the group issued the “Only”-fueled Sound Of White Noise (1993) to nearly universal acclaim. However, following the release of the live compilation The Greater Of Two Evils (2004), the group would find itself periodically--and then permanently--reuniting with Belladonna, thus paving the way for them to re-claim their position amid the fabled Big Four. Triumphantly returning with a vengeance courtesy of the blistering 'in-concert' retrospective Kings Among Scotland, the group appears destined to boldly forge ahead.
On the brilliant Kings Among Scotland (2018), an expertly assembled eighteen song collection of frequently breathtaking live Thrash Metal (taken from the group's sold-out 02/15/17 performance at the historic Glasgow-based Barrowland Ballroom, each track, beginning with the adrenaline-infused 'crowd pleaser' “Madhouse” the exhaustively punishing (and, as the blood-curdling official video so painstakingly shows, historically accurate) dissertation “Blood Eagle Wings” and the relentlessly pummeling Zombie apocalypse tome “Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved, myself most definitely included. Wisely capitalizing on The Billboard 200-defying momentum initiated with the release of the much-celebrated Worship Music (2011) and Among Kings (2016), the group utilized a total of seventeen individual cameras --including five Go-Pros as well as a full-size camera crane--to capture more than two hours of footage.
Continuing with the fist-pumping, mosh-inducing tirade “Among The Living” the self-explanatory lament “Caught In A Mosh” and the searing Judge Dredd homage “I Am The Law”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of multi-octave vocalist Joey Belladonna, lead guitarist Jonathan Donais (ex-Shadows Fall), rhythm guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante steamroll ahead with what can only be described as a truly sickening ease. Deftly bridging the more than considerable distance between their 'Major Label' origins and independent present, the group offers a uniquely balanced array of classic and new material guaranteed to mollify pre-Bush enthusiasts. Exceeding the most optimistic of expectations (particularly those with an affinity for the previously mentioned Worship Music and Among Kings), they deliver their goods without, believe it or not, burying the proverbial average listener amid an avalanche of instrumental redundancy.
Produced, Directed, Filmed and Edited by Paul M. Green (Film24Productions) and Mixed by the acclaimed Jay Ruston (Adrenaline Mob, Kill Devil Hill, Stone Sour), other standouts, including the Stephen King/Apt Pupil-fueled gem “A Skeleton In The Closet” the maddeningly infectious anthem “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” and their now trademark rendition of the Trust classic “Antisocial”, effectively reaffirm the group's rightful place amid their hierarchies of the Thrash metal elite. Easily surpassing the arguably ineffectual Chile On Hell (2014) and the Fistful Of Metal (1984) - Persistence Of Time (1990)-spanning Alive 2 (2005), they now appear destined to perpetuate the career renaissance that begun with the release of Worship Music (2011). Most definitely not for the faint of heart or, for that matter, anyone without a genuine and sincere appreciation for old school Thrash, Kings Among Scotland is the audio-visual tour de force most serious fans haven been so impatiently waiting for.
So what exactly, are you waiting for? A third reunion with Bush? With the group now obviously operating amid a bona fide creative and commercial peak, the majority--if not all--of the fist-pumping and mosh-inducing wares displayed throughout definitively personify the essence of their trademark sound. An absolute must-have for any genuine and sincere 'Old School' Anthrax enthusiast, the often mighty Kings Among Scotland (and, as a result, the group itself) ultimately succeeds by wholeheartedly embracing the veritable wealth of user-friendly tonalities that initially propelled them to the dizzying height(s) of international acclaim. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possibly as good as it gets. Accordingly, if you have once again found yourself in search of a refreshing, sweat-soaked reprieve from the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salve for what ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Kings Among Scotland (DVD) (2018)
Among Kings (2016)
Chile On Hell (DVD) (2014)
Worship Music (2011)
Caught In A Mosh: BBC Live In Concert (2007)
Alive 2 (CD/DVD) (2005)
Live: The Island Years (1994)
Attack Of The Killer B's (1991)
Persistence Of Time (1990)
State Of Euphoria (1988)
I'm The Man (EP) (1987)
Among The Living (1987)
Spreading The Disease (1985)
Fistful Of Metal (1984)
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