ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian recently spoke to Loudwire about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music", tentatively due next year.
"I really try not to compare our records, because what does that mean?" Ian stated about how the new material stacks up against ANTHRAX's previous albums.
"If we were writing a record that sounded exactly like 'Among The Living', you wouldn't need me to tell you that. People would hear it and go, 'Oh, sounds exactly like 'Among The Living'.'
"I think if anyone knows anything about our band, you can't really listen to any two albums that sound alike. Every record is very much of the time that it was written in. It's not like when we made 'Worship Music', we had decided we wanted to recreate our past. We're always moving forward. That's just the way we've always looked at it.
"We're our own toughest critics when it comes to writing riffs.
"The last thing we want to do is repeat ourselves because it would be boring for us. We feel if it's boring for us, it's going to be boring for the audience.
"I can't compare it to anything else; it is what it is. It's the ANTHRAX we've been writing in 2013 and to me it doesn't sound like anything else we've ever done. It's certainly still a metal record, it definitely has a lot of thrash elements in it, because it's fun for us to play that way. So, it's not like we've taken a complete departure and we're making a prog record. It's definitely a metal record."
Asked if ANTHRAX's latest addition, guitarist Jon Donais (also of SHADOWS FALL) has been a part of the writing process, Ian replied: "No, not as of yet anyway. That's not to say it couldn't happen. He's certainly writing his own leads. I've already sent him new music. So he's working on the lead licks at this point. As far as the actual writing of the songs, no, that's been me, Charlie [Benante, drums] and Frankie [Bello, bass] so far."
He continued: "I would think, probably more so on this record than anything, [Jon is] gonna play the lead licks. We certainly don't want to have to tell him what to play, because what would be the point of having a guy in your band if he couldn't write his own parts? We have a lot of confidence that he'll be able to listen to what we're playing and come up with ideas. Who knows what else? He might come in and say he has an idea for a part and we're open to anything. It's not like we told him, 'Don't bring in ideas!' It's very much a case of, 'Hey, if you've got an idea, throw it out. Let's hear it, don't be shy.'"
Ian also spoke about whether there any themes or sonic nuances ANTHRAX hasn't tackled on other albums that they are exploring for the band's new CD.
"The songs are harder to play," he laughed. "There's a lot of songs that are just much harder to play than stuff from the past, let's just put it that way. A lot of difficult riffs that sometimes I wonder why we do this to ourselves. [laughs
"We write stuff that we really need to bear down and say, 'Goddamn, that'll be a bitch to play live.' But that's always part of the challenge — challenging yourself as a writer and coming up with riffs that sound interesting and fresh.
"I don't ever want to slow down as a guitar player or feel like I can only do so much. I guess if I'm not challenging myself, I'm doing something wrong."