ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has posted the following message on his official blog:
“‘In The End’ is a song on our record. I think it’s the best song on the record. I think it’s the most important song on the record and it’s the centerpiece of ‘Worship Music’.
“This song started out as something completely different back in 2007 and over the last four years it went through revision after revision. We were never satisfied with it, always just missing the mark. Even the ‘finished’ version (it had a different title at the time) in 2009 was not as good as it could’ve been and actually may not have even made the record.
“It was this song that we wanted to write as a tribute to [‘Dimebag’] Darrell [Abbott; PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN] and Ronnie [James Dio; BLACK SABBATH, DIO, RAINBOW, HEAVEN HELL]. This being our first chance to say how we felt about these guys in the context of what we do and what they influenced. Musically this was the one, epic in scope, the right balance of melancholy and aggression, a proper tribute to two guys that meant so much to us except, it wasn’t perfect. And it had to be. It had to be perfect to honor them.
“Darrell was our friend first and foremost. We’d been on this crazy path together since we met in 1986. His impact on our lives will never be forgotten and will always be missed. He played on three ANTHRAX records. He was truly the sixth member of the band. Getcha’ pull!
“Ronnie, what can I say? I started out as a fan from RAINBOW and then, of course, followed him to SABBATH.
“I saw Ronnie for the first time on the ‘Heaven And Hell’ tour in 1980. He was incredible. On the ‘Mob Rules’ tour my friend Jimmy (who knew Ronnie) was able to score us some passes and we literally got them from under Ronnie‘s hotel room door! We met him after the show, I had a brief chance to stammer a hello, or at least tried to as I was so sweaty and nervous. Cut to years later and I’m meeting Ronnie again and he remembered me from that short meeting years before. That’s who he was. He always put you at ease. He always had a kind word and a smile. He was a mentor to us in so many ways, mainly how to be so fucking cool. On tour in 2004 I remember standing on the side of the stage night after night blown away by the power he possessed and also giving him Yankees scores between songs! Yes, Ronnie was as fanatical about the Yankees as I am. To have had the privilege to become friends with one of my heroes was an incredible experience and I will never forget my moments with either of them.
“We were still fighting with this song, the arrangement just not right and then Charlie [Benante, drums] found the bells. He sent this melody idea to Rob [Caggiano, guitar] and I with a new arrangement that had these bells playing this really dark melody and it was soooo close. Rob suggested Charlie tweak the chorus combining his new idea with some of the previous idea and that was it. It was one of those moments of clarity when you just know something is right. The song was finally the song it was supposed to be. So now, words to match the power of the music.
“I wasn’t sure how to even try and express what I felt. Everything I came up with lyrically just sounded cheesy to me. I finally had the music that lived up to the task of honoring our friends, now I needed the words to convey the emotions. I kept hitting a wall and then Charlie sent me a line… ‘Lone star was dark tonight.’ That line opened the door for me and the words came naturally. The feelings translating into lyrics that I felt did Darrell and Ronnie justice.
“I’ll leave the rest to you, my friends. You’ll be able to hear it in 11 days. Enjoy it and I hope it fucks your world the same way Darrell and Ronnie fucked mine!”
“Worship Music” will be released on September 13 in North America via Megaforce Records and three days later in Europe via Nuclear Blast Records. The album will be available as a regular CD, digipack, vinyl and MP3 download. Nuclear Blast is also offering the album as a mail-order edition with a bonus seven-inch (featuring the REFUSED cover song “New Noise”) and two different double-LPs: splatter and orange vinyl.
The Japanese version of “Worship Music”, which will be made available on September 14 via Victor Records, will include a remix of the song “Crawl” as a bonus track.
The Omega Order is offering an exclusive pre-order bundle for “Worship Music”, featuring the new CD; “Fistful Of Metal” triple 10-inch picture discs; and an ANTHRAX LP slipmat (only available in this bundle).
“Worship Music” track listing:
01. Worship (intro)
02. Earth On Hell
03. The Devil You Know
04. Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t
05. I’m Alive
06. Hymn 1
07. In The End
08. The Giant
09. Hymn 2
10. Judas Priest
12. The Constant
13. Revolution Screams
The CD cover artwork for “Worship Music” was handled by renowned comic book artist Alex Ross, who has worked with Marvel Comics and DC Comics and is known for his “Marvels”, “Kingdom Come”, and “Astro City” illustrations. Ross also did the original artwork for ANTHRAX‘s “We’ve Come For You All” and “Music Of Mass Destruction” albums.
“Worship Music” was produced by ANTHRAX, Rob Caggiano and Jay Ruston and recorded over a four-year period at studios in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Belladonna‘s return to the band prompted some of the songs originally recorded to be re-crafted with fresh lyrics or tweaked to better suit his overall vibe and energy. Some of the songs were completely replaced with brand-new songs and, of course, all have Belladonna‘s inimitable vocal stamp on them.