After five long years of legal battles and label hassles, influential thrash-metal band Anthrax are finally ready to unleash their new record, We've Come for You All, as well as a few surprises.
"After five years of not having a studio album, it was just [about] making something that was strong enough to overcome all the bullsh-- we've had to deal with over the past five years of trying to get a record made," guitarist Scott Ian said. "We were stuck on a label that went bankrupt, and then we ended up with another company that was heading in the same situation. The legalities of getting stuck like that is just insane."
Most of the album, due May 6, is fast and jagged. In the middle of "Black Dahlia" Anthrax turbocharge the blast beat until they're as furious as Cannibal Corpse. Also surprising is "What Doesn't Die," which features stop-start riffing on its chorus that wouldn't sound out of place on a Korn record. And then there's "Cadillac Rock Box," with its wicked Southern rock lick and mean slide guitar.
But the biggest shocker on We've Come for You All is Who singer Roger Daltrey's background vocals on "Taking the Music Back." At the chorus, the hard-rock legend screams the words "I am" over every line, and during the bridge he releases a colossal "Won't Get Fooled Again"-style howl.
"Working with him was mind-blowing," Ian said. "As I'm sitting there, I'm thinking, 'I'm in the chair that Pete Townshend has been sitting in for the last 35 years, and I started playing guitar because of him.' "
The strange collaboration came together because Ian's girlfriend's mom is friends with Daltrey and his wife, which led to an unexpected phone call last year.
"She asked if we wanted to go to dinner with Roger and his wife," Ian recalled. "I was like, 'Roger, who?' I didn't know who she was talking about. But he turned out to be the coolest, nicest guy, and we just sat there drinking wine for four hours and he entertained us with amazing stories of being in the Who."
When Daltrey found out Ian's band was working on a new record, he volunteered to lend a hand. But when he heard the track he was supposed to sing on, he was a bit taken aback.
"I don't think he understood at first," Ian said. "He just kept saying, 'This is heavy, heavy stuff.' And I was thinking, 'This isn't that heavy compared to some of our other tracks,' but I understood where he was coming from. It took him like 40 minutes of just listening to it and letting it sink in, and then he was like, 'Oh, I see. Now I understand. There's a verse and a chorus.' Then he seemed pretty stoked."
The strangest part of the experience came when Daltrey finished his first take and asked Ian what he thought.
"He would go, 'Tell me if that's good,' and I'd say, 'Well, why don't you do it again.' I was standing there thinking, 'Oh my God, I'm telling Roger Daltrey what to sing.' And then when he did the scream for me I was just overwhelmed."