ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian hopes to have band’s new album recorded by the end of the year
While making an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” on Wednesday (August 2), ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian discussed the status of the band’s next studio album. When asked how far long he and his bandmates have gotten in tracking the record, Scott said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Not far. But we had a session here in L.A. Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer], Frankie [Bello, ANTHRAX bassist] and I tracked nine songs. I finished the guitars on those right before we went to New York, so I don’t know — sometime end of June; something like that.
“Frankie is currently in L.A. tracking bass on those nine songs. I’m going to the studio Friday… Since I’ve had time, like a month, to live with my guitar tracks, I’ve heard like lots of things that I think are very cool to kind of add. So I’m going in on Friday and spending a day doing some overdubs. [Jonathan] Donais [ANTHRAX guitarist] is already working on solos back east at his home studio. And I am working on lyrics. So I think we’re well into it, let’s put it that way. There’s gonna be another recording session October, maybe November.
“Charlie‘s got these two windows to get in, ’cause we have another four or five [songs] we want to track. We’re hoping, if things just stay on the very loose schedule we have, I’d like to think by Christmas, New Year’s, we’ll have most of this wrapped up. Maybe not mixed, but certainly all recorded by then.”
Scott continued: “My goal is to have three songs ready for [ANTHRAX singer Joey Belladonna] to start on next month. Joey, it doesn’t take him very long. 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.”
Touching on 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.”
Back in May, it was revealed that Ian, Benante and Bello had been in the studio with producer Jay Ruston, laying down basic tracks in preparation for Joey Belladonna to record his vocals.
At the time, Scott posted to wrote on social media: “We started recording the new album last week and the first session was a blast! The songs are killer, challenging and a lot of fun to play – Riff-O-Rama. Tones are 1986 great. Can’t wait for all of you to hear what we’re doing.”
Speaking with Ultimate Guitar, ANTHRAX‘s Frank Bello gave an update on the status of the group’s long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s “For All Kings” album, saying: “We’re recording — guitars, drums. I’m actually recording my bass next month.
“What ANTHRAX does these days, we do a bunch of songs together, like a bulk of the songs,” he explained. “I think we have eight or nine right now. And we’ll keep writing. I think that’s important. That’s how we did the last record, and it came out the way we wanted it to. We have a good bulk of songs right now that we know already. But we still wanna have a couple of more. So that’s the way we go.
“We’ll digest these for a while. I’ll do my bass next month. Then vocals will come on and we’ll have this locked up. And then we’ll start writing a few more songs. Then we’ll choose what’s best for the record and how the record goes. We’re hoping — I’m praying, ’cause it’s been a while, man — [to have the album out] next year. It’s been, I think, almost eight years from the last record. I wanna have a record out. We all do. I can’t wait to play new songs — all this stuff. I wanna go on tour. But it’s gotta be right.”
Frank was asked if the band members attempted working on new material throughout the pandemic as far as sending files back and forth to each other. He replied: “We actually got together periodically. But during the pandemic, when everything was locked down — I live in New York; we were really locked down. It was really ridiculous when it first started. And everybody was doing their jamming over the Internet and all that. That’s great. I think that satisfied a lot of people. I thought that was great. That was fun.
“But with ANTHRAX, the three of us have to be in a room and looking at each other and vibing. And it’s spontaneous and it’s locked in. And you do it like this [via video], and I love this, but the latency — there’s a second delay. Imagine just jamming like that, it’s, like, ‘What’d you play there?’ And it stops the vibe.
“And all of a sudden you’re taking apart the song for no reason. It’s, like, ‘All right. This isn’t the way to do it. We have to get together.’ So that’s what we did. And I think it was a smart move because we won’t put out anything we don’t live. And it’s gotta be right. It’s gotta be exactly the record we’re coming out with. That’s who we are.”