In a new interview with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM radio program "Wired In The Empire", ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2016's "For All Kings" album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're still working on the material. Because COVID kind of put a stop on it all, in a sense. We didn't get together, but I was still working on the material.
"We didn't wanna put a record out during this time because we didn't it to just get lost and get sucked up in this COVID vacuum," he explained.
Asked if fans can expect to see the new ANTHRAX LP released in 2022, Charlie said: "Yeah. It looks like that, yeah."
Charlie's latest comments echo those made by his bandmate, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian, who told the KLOS radio show "Whiplash" last November that he and his bandmates wanted to wait to release a new LP until they were able to play shows in support of the effort. "That's where I am personally right at this moment," he said. "Six months from now, who knows where the world is gonna be? We don't know. Maybe things will be closer to being back to normal; maybe they'll be further away from back to normal. Nobody has an answer to this, so anytime someone asks me about that, I really don't have an answer.
"In my brain, I don't wanna put a record out until I can play shows," he continued. "That's what I wanna do, but, of course, I don't control the world and I don't control what's gonna happen with COVID. I think I can safely say we will certainly be ready to make a record [in 2021]. So I think we will probably go do that once we're ready to go do it. There would be no reason to have a record [written] and then just sit around and not record it. So, I think once we actually feel like we're ready to go into the studio, we'll do that, regardless of where things are at on the planet, and then just take it from there. At least it'll be in the can, and then we'll be able to make a decision on what the best course is for us to take at that point.
"[Everybody is] in the same boat. There's no rules anymore. It's a completely different playbook, and everybody's gotta figure out what's gonna work."
Asked to describe the musical direction of the new ANTHRAX material, Scott said: "It's always hard for me to answer that, because it's more ANTHRAX songs, 'cause it always just sounds like ANTHRAX to me. And I don't really go much deeper than that. If I had to describe it, let's say comparing it to the last record, it's definitely riffier. There's more riffs; the songs have more riffs, I feel like, than the last record. There's already definitely more uptempo and fast stuff, but then again, we also aren't finished writing. That doesn't mean the fast stuff we've written is gonna go away. We're gonna probably write more songs, and then we'll see what the album's gonna be. But it's definitely riffier, and I think it's definitely faster, if I had to come up with two ways to describe it compared to 'For All Kings'."
At the 2019 Download festival in the United Kingdom, Benante said fans can expect to hear some surprises on ANTHRAX's next disc. "There's some extreme stuff on this record that we touched on," he said. "There's different things that we're gonna try and do that's gonna make it next level." Also in 2019, Charlie told Australia's "Everblack" podcast that ANTHRAX's new music is shaping up to be "a little more in the aggressive style."
"For All Kings" was called by some critics ANTHRAX's strongest album to date. Its arrival followed a five-year period during which the band experienced a rebirth of sorts, beginning with ANTHRAX's inclusion on the "Big Four" tour, and continuing with the 2011 release of comeback LP "Worship Music".
Benante released an album called "Silver Linings" in May via Megaforce Records. The 14-track effort features an all-star cast of "who's who" in the thrash, metal, and rock worlds, with all cuts culled from Benante's acclaimed "quarantine jam" video series.