JOEY BELLADONNA Is Back In The Studio Putting Down Vocal Tracks For New ANTHRAX Album

March 7, 2024

Joey Belladonna has revealed in a new social media post that he is back in Los Angeles "putting down vocal tracks for the new ANTHRAX album."

The 63-year-old upstate New York-based singer, who rejoined ANTHRAX in 2010, is once again working with producer Jay Ruston, who first worked with the band on the final stages of 2011's "Worship Music", and was later was enlisted as producer for 2016's "For All Kings".

A little over a month ago, ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello offered an update on the recording sessions for the band's follow-up "For All Kings", telling Rodney McG: "We officially finished drums, bass and guitar, which is great. I know my bass tracks are done, so I'm kind of psyched. Right now, it's up to… I think Joey's singing his sixth or seventh song; I'm pretty sure on that. Jon Donais [ANTHRAX guitarist], I think he's starting his guitars, or maybe he started them already. But as far as I know, from what they're doing, they're booking it this month or early next month to get back in there and keep it going. Hopefully, at the end of the year, we'll have an ANTHRAX record."

Regarding the long delay in getting new ANTHRAX music out, Frank said: "There wasn't a rush, obviously. I know it's been eight years since our last record, but we wanna make sure it's right, and it is [right]. We are very confident. I'm not worried about how right it is. It's right on exactly where I think, and the rest of the band think, we need to be. I love that it's more complicated for me to play. I love the challenge of that. I think we stepped it up a little bit, the heaviness. Again, everybody's gonna prop their record. Doing this for so long, this is how I feel.

"I don't wanna get complacent," he continued. "I want the challenge, 'cause I'm a fan. I'm a fan, and it has to stimulate me. And it has to get me going on stage."

As for the musical direction of the new ANTHRAX material, Bello said: "On this record, there's stuff that we've never done before. I'm just saying right out — there's stuff, in a heavy way, which I'm very proud of. I like that we went that way with it and just went, 'What the fuck was that?' Some of the things that Charlie Benante [ANTHRAX drummer] does on drums, Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist] and I were just, 'What the fuck was that?' And that's great, 'cause you wanna raise your game after that. I think it makes everybody step up a little bit. I'm doing some bass stuff that I had some fun with on this that I would never have done. I think there's a lot of cool stuff that's going on vocally, melody-wise. I'm really happy where the next ANTHRAX record is going."

Last October, Ian told "THAT Rocks!" that he and his ANTHRAX bandmates had "only really been working on" their new LP "for a year-ish, I would say. I mean, we have demos. Charlie has demos that he sent pre-COVID. But then once lockdown and all that stuff happened, we just all walked away; nothing creative was happening at all with us through that whole period," he explained. "And then, slowly but surely, when we started playing shows again in '21 and going into '22, that's when we started working again, really. And then in the last year, we really started to put stuff together and Charlie and Frankie and I getting together and having writing sessions and arranging stuff, to the point where we finally went in the studio just recently and recorded nine songs that have drums, bass, and guitar done now. And Donais's got a couple of lead breaks that are killer that he's demoed and sent to us."

In September, Belladonna was asked by Tulsa Music Stream if he is typically presented with finished lyrics to sing or if he gets to contribute a lot lyrically to the content. Joey said: "I love doing lyrics, but there's a lot of lyrics that Scott — he just loves to do it. It's his thing. He just digs into such — these topics that he likes to go and get into, and we all kind of have our own little thoughts on the songs. But I get in there and I really kind of — I dig into the whole thing a lot further. There's a lot of stuff that I have to… When you start singing on something, you really have to find the pockets of what you wanna do, what kind of tone I wanna throw on it and how I wanna go for a certain range for certain things and how I approach it is very important. There are lyrics, but at the end of the day, I have to go in there and still sing as good and catchy and appropriate as I can to make this stuff my thing, my style. Obviously, we're not the hit-oriented type of thing, but I'm always going for something cool to catch you off guard and neat and different. I have my own style, so I just kind of do my thing."

During an August 2023 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", Ian said about a possible timetable for the rest of the recording sessions for ANTHRAX's new LP: "Joey, it doesn't take him very long [to record his vocals]. Once he kind of wraps his head around it and kind of runs it through his filter, he's a fast worker. So once he starts, it doesn't take long. It's more, I think, the onus on me of being happy with the lyrics I'm writing. 'Cause I actually had, like, three or four songs written months ago, and then I revisited them like a month ago and I threw 'em all in the garbage; I was, like, 'This is crap.' But I'm in a much better place with that now."

Regarding the musical direction of the new ANTHRAX material. Scott said: "Certainly of the nine [songs] we've tracked so far, and, of course, the rough kind of demos we have of some of the stuff we haven't tracked with drums yet, from a riff point of view, it's definitely — I mean it's riffs with all capital letters. Like if you were going to write, you would write 'riffs' in all capitals with an exclamation point. The riffs are killer. It's very riff-centric. There's a lot of faster uptempo material, certainly."

Ian added: "I will say there is a song — I won't say any titles yet, 'cause it's still probably a working title — there's definitely one song, it's the fastest thing we've ever done. There's another song that we haven't recorded yet that's also in the vein, more of a 'Gung-Ho' or a 'Caught In A Mosh'. Because Charlie and I talk all the time. I said, 'We still need something that's like a three-and-a-half-minute just ripper. You know, something like that.' And then we come up with something like that and I'm, like, 'Hey, I forgot I'm 60 now, and now I have to play this song for the next three years.' Just make my life harder."

Earlier last year, Benante was asked by Robert Cavuoto of Metal Rules why it has taken so long for ANTHRAX to complete the writing process for a new LP. Charlie said: "If we didn't get hit with this whole global pandemic thing, it would have been out probably two years ago, three years ago. But we all know what happened. But now, being that some of the songs were [written] before the pandemic hit, they're old to me. So now there's a bunch of new songs that kind of came in the mix. So that's a good thing. You can never have enough… We're still working on the older ones because we really like a lot of those."

ANTHRAX celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2021 with a number of special activities and events. Formed by Ian and bassist Dan Lilker in Queens, New York on July 18, 1981, ANTHRAX was one of the first thrash metal bands to emerge from the East Coast and quickly became regarded as a leader in the genre alongside METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH.

Active over the past five decades, ANTHRAX has released 11 studio albums, been awarded multiple gold and platinum certifications, received six Grammy nominations, toured the world since 1984 playing thousands of shows, including headlining Madison Square Garden and playing Yankee Stadium with the "Big Four".

"For All Kings" was called by some critics ANTHRAX's strongest album to date. Its arrival followed a five-year period during which the group experienced a rebirth of sorts, beginning with ANTHRAX's inclusion on the "Big Four" tour, and continuing with the release of comeback LP "Worship Music".

In LA putting down vocal tracks for the new @anthrax album. Stopping by the Brady Bunch House for some good vibes!...

Posted by Joey Belladonna on Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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