If you don’t yet know, March 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Anthrax’s seminal LP Among the Living. It’d be great to see what could be done to celebrate that milestone for one of the most revered albums in heavy metal history. Some kind of deluxe set, special box the ideas could be boundless. Last year Anthrax released their awaited full-length, For All Kings. Now they bring us an alternate way of experiencing their 12th studio LP—13th if you include Attack of the Killer Bs—with their new ‘For All Kings 7-Inch Box Set’ package.
‘For All Kings 7-inch Box Set’ boasts 10 different colored 7” vinyl discs: red, green, blue, maroon, orange, most with a two-color swirl design. 11 songs originally appeared on their For All Kings release plus they’ve added an extra 9 tracks to further populate this ambitious set. Six demos are included so that you can peer into the planning stages the songs underwent prior to making the final cut. Though most of the alternate versions essentially play about as long as their finished counterparts, tracks like “Breathing Lightning,” “Suzerain,” and “You’ve Gotta Believe” all play a little shorter, the latter demo version has the most marked extension at about 2:30 minutes less. Including these different incarnations do well to illustrate the tweaks and alterations that ultimately transformed into the songs that they would become on the finished LP itself. The sound quality of the included demos could’ve probably stood on their own in a release because their quality of sound is much more dimensional and well crafted than a lotta demos from Anthrax’s peers and contemporaries.
Two of the extra songs they’ve included as official bonus tracks exclusive to this set are covers that’ll be of interest to curious fans, with good reason. Historically, Anthrax has been really successful with their choices of cover tunes. Any Anthrax admirer certainly remembers them owning cuts like “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Parasite,” “Got the Time,” and of course “Antisocial.” Kansas’s “Carry On…” and the White Stripes’ “Black Math” have found their way into this deluxe 7” collection. The former is indeed is a great rendition of the classic and is recognizable as what it is but there aren’t any surprises, simply because it’s executed in an almost identically faithful way; Anthrax doing Kansas. Their take on “Black Math” on the other hand is more of what we’ve come to expect when Anthrax attacks a cover and dominates it as their own.
“Vice of the People” is a song that was previously available only on the Japanese version of For All Kings. It’s carried by riffs and sounds that bring Anthrax’s earlier days to mind. That should be of interest to the bands veteran fans who remember Anthrax’s output in the decades passed.
Packaging for the ‘For All Kings 7-inch Box Set’ collection goes a long way to make this particular release a visual standout, because this is easily one of the most aesthetically ambitious endeavors Anthrax has probably taken on. There’s an original album cover art sketch by artist Alex Ross. The prints feature double-sided four-color artwork designed by Douglas Heusser, along with additional art by Stephen Thompson, as well as band photos by Jimmy Hubbard. With pieces of artwork so visually catching at add such elevated quality, there are bound to be images from ‘For All Kings 7-inch Box Set’ that show up replicated in tattoos covering the flesh of Anthrax fans the world over. If there’s an Anthrax fan in your life, or you just wanna be super cool and considerate, the ‘For All Kings 7-inch Box Set’ will probably be a route that you’ll wanna explore. If you’re already a fan, seek this out, it’ll be going fast.
Check out the video clip of the ‘For All Kings 7-inch Box Set’ unboxing with Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante.