In a new interview with Terry "Beez" Bezer of Knotfest.com's "Mosh Talks With Beez", ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2016's "For All Kings" album.
"We started writing new ANTHRAX last year — obviously, without a crystal ball knowing what was going to happen in the world, but with the intent of having a record out this year," he said (see video below). "Obviously, that's not happening now. So we're still writing — we're still working on it. The COVID has obviously put a crimp in our plans, because we can't just get together and jam when we want to, and traveling has become not so easy, and all of that. So we've just been, slowly but surely, working on new material. And if anything, it just affords us more time to come up with more stuff.
"We've never been the kind of band to have, like, 30 songs, and then we're gonna choose the best 10 — we've never done that," he continued. "I think the most we've ever had was maybe two more than we needed for a record, and it's usually pretty obvious, like, 'These two aren't gonna make the record.' But maybe this time around we'll end up with 15 songs or something. But because we're afforded this much time to be writing, it's not like we're gonna know, 'These are 10 for the record, and who knows what we'll do with these five.' So I have a feeling it's gonna be more, like, we're gonna have 15 album tracks. We're not releasing a double record, if it's up to me, because what a waste of material that would be. But I just like the fact that we will have a lot of great material.
"Maybe sometime early next year we'll be ready to go in and make a record — if it makes sense. I've said it before — I don't wanna put a record out till we can play shows. For me, to put a record out in a vacuum, it makes no sense to me. I'm not gonna put a record out and not play proper gigs — I'm not gonna do that. So we have to be patient — everyone has to be patient.
"We can't wait to play shows again. That's all I wanna do. This is the longest, I think, we've ever not played a show. Our last ANTHRAX show was November 15th of last year."
Asked if there is a particular "vibe" in the new ANTHRAX songs, Scott said: "Yeah. It sounds like us.
"If I had to say what this next record sounds like to me, or a vibe, in a way, it's riffier — it's a riffier record.
"I think we've kind of proved to ourselves over the last two records that we've gotten pretty good at a certain style of ANTHRAX songwriting, and now we've taken a left turn away from that, because we don't want to do the same thing again," he explained. "So if anything, I think this record is a little bit riffier, maybe a little less linear, and certainly faster.
"We've always been really good at making things more difficult for ourselves. So if anything, yeah… I hate to say, 'Well, it's more of a thrash metal record,' because I'll let people decide what it is when they hear it. But from my point of view, it's definitely faster and riffier."
At last year's Download festival in the United Kingdom, drummer Charlie 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."
Earlier last year, Benante 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".