ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante recently spoke to Anthony Toto of Pop-Break.com about the band's long-awaited follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music" album, which is tentatively due in late 2015 or early 2016. The CD, which is once again being produced by Jay Ruston (STONE SOUR, STEEL PANTHER), will include such songtitles as "The Battle Chose Us", "You Gotta Believe" and "The Evil Twin".
"We have a title in mind and we have a concept for it and everything," he said. "One of the first songs that written for the record, the title became 'You Gotta Believe'. It had a part two to the song that I called 'The Evil Twin', because it reminded me of the other song and they flow so well into each other. Those two songs, they're both old-school thrash metal songs, but they're done in a modern way. Those are two of my favorite songs on the record and they're long and really ferocious. There's another song that clocks in at seven minutes and it's one of my favorite songs on the record, because it takes you on a musical journey. I'm really excited about some of these longer songs, and, of course, the songs that are fast are just extremely aggressive. I'm just happy about the way this is all coming out."
Regarding the songwriting process for ANTHRAX's new album, Benante said: "After [I had my hand] surgery, that was a while back, I couldn't really do anything with my hand. I had to slowly come back and go through physical therapy and all that stuff. Everything started to come back again, and that's when I started to play more and than the ideas inside my head started to pour out. I was really inspired to make the best music I possibly could. The last record basically gave me the incentive that I could top that one, really. I was really inspired by that record and the shows we played plus the reactions from people."
He continued: "In this world we live in now, it's not like it used to be where bands put out a new record every six months to a year. That sort of cycle — it's not that way anymore. I guess people are waiting for this new record and we don't want to make them too long like we did on the last record. We just want it to be right this time and we don't want to rush it, you know what I mean?!"
Benante also talked in more detail about the songwriting chemistry between him, guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Frankie Bello. He said: "The way we've always done it in the past, I would usually bring in the basic framework for a song, and we'd go from there. I often call it the production line. I'm the front of it, and then I get it and I'll hand it down. It goes through the conveyor belt where Scott takes it and writes some lyrics. Frankie will take the idea from there and he'll apply some melodies, and Joey [Belladonna, vocals] will do the same. We'll all regroup and we'll really start putting these ideas together. Once we have a basic semblance of a song, than we know it's time to go record it."
He continued: "There's so many great ways of doing things, but I just find this is the best way that works for us. Now with technology, I will do a demo here at my place and then I'll send it to everyone and see if they like it and build on that… It's basically starting on guitar for me. I'll usually do a basic demo for a song and put drums to it but it's still very skeletal. Once the song turns into 'the song,' then I'll take it and really starting putting certain drum parts to it. Sometimes the drum parts automatically come to me and sometimes you really have to spend time with it."
On the topic of the contributions of ANTHRAX's latest addition, SHADOWS FALL guitarist Jon Donais, Benante said: "This being his first record that he'll be making an appearance on, I just wanted him to come out shining and kicking ass. I think he deserves it. I think with SHADOWS FALL, it was his thing. With us, I think his style is a little different. I definitely wanted him to be aggressive in his approach to his leads. The shit that he's doing, it's really good. I've joked about this, but it's really not a joke; he's my new guitar hero… I swear, I think, on this record, we've wrote more lead breaks than any other record that we've had. There are a lot of leads going on in this record — maybe too much [laughs], but it's good. The cool thing about him, we did this live DVD down in Chile ['Chile On Hell'] and after spending time doing the mix and everything, Jon's playing was spot-on. You know how some guys will go in the studio and overdub some of their parts, and they'll be, like, 'Oh, I fucked that one up. I gotta fix that.' He didn't fix anything. He was pretty much spot-on."
Read the in-depth interview at Pop-Break.com.