ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian spoke to Metal Insider about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music".
"It's really coming along," Scott said.
"It's crazy to think that we're already in January of this year; it seems like we just finished touring in August and we said decided to start writing again.
"We decided not to take a break and we're jumping right in because everyone felt we could.
"We're sitting here right now with 12 songs musically arranged and really focusing on lyrics now.
"At the end of the month, after the NAMM show, is the next time we're getting together at [producer] Jay's [Ruston] studio to work on vocals.
"I like to think at the pace we're going we would be ready to start recording maybe in April.
"I hate to ever put a stamp on something like this, because you just never know. But where we're at musically right now, this shit is just so killer. It's not like we have that far to go.
"Sometimes as a band when we're writing — and I'm sure this happens to other bands too — you could sit down and listen to where you're at and think 'this stuff is good, but maybe there's too much mid tempo stuff, or we don't really have an album opener yet.' There are just certain ways you listen to it in the context of how are to sequence and pace it, things like that.
"I think we've got all our bases covered and we're ready.
"If we come out with some better shit in the next couple of months, that's awesome, but the 12 things we have musically so far we're really happy with.
"Things came together really fast for us and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we just came off such a good run with 'Worship Music'. We were all really excited about getting back in a room and writing songs together, and it was the first time in a really long time that we weren't going into writing a record coming off a really shitty time. [laughs] So for us to have come off such a great run with 'Worship Music', we were all really excited about it and I think it really shows in the music."
Asked how he would compare ANTHRAX's new material to "Worship Music", Ian said: "It's hard to compare. That, to me, has always been the hardest question and it's something I just don't like to do because to me it's just all ANTHRAX. I would just tell you anything we've ever done is ANTHRAX, so I don't know how to compare it to 'Worship Music'.
"If you liked 'Worship Music', you're gonna like this. The one thing I can say is that it definitely has more thrash elements. It definitely hearkens back to more of who we were in the '80s, yet at the same time sounding like us now in present day, which is what a lot of people said about 'Worship Music'. I think this one hits even harder and faster, more brutal with crazier riffs.
"We were all super inspired coming in and working with Charlie [Benante, drums] and Frankie [Bello, bass] in the room, and then having Jay in the room with us as well, has been amazing because he really pushes us. He pushes us hard. Like when we may get stuck on something in an arrangement or where to go with a melody, he will really push us and make sure we're not just saying, 'Alright, that's good.' He's like, 'No, that's exactly what to do. It's just good, now work harder.' We all trust him so much, so it's great having him in the room there to push us."
ANTHRAX's next album will mark the recording debut with the band of lead guitarist Jonathan Donais (SHADOWS FALL), who replaced Rob Caggiano in January 2013.
Regarding whether Donais is now officially an ANTHRAX member, Ian said: "For all intents and purposes, he's in ANTHRAX. He's going to be there for everything we do moving forward. As far as how you title it, yeah. As far as I'm concerned, Jon is in ANTHRAX and will be playing leads on the record and will be touring with the band starting at the end of May 2014."