Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian’s new mantra is “no clichéd answers in 2015.” So his assessment of Anthrax’s new album — which the band is currently finishing up as the follow-up to 2011’s Worship Music — is unapologetically straightforward.
“It sounds great, and when you hear it you can formulate your own opinion,” Ian tells Billboard. “We just do what we do. We write songs, and when we think we’re ready to go in, we record them. It’s just a case of knowing when we’re ready and feeling right, and at the same time knowing when we’re done. It’s like an artist doing a painting: He or she has to know when to stop painting.”
From the looks of this in-studio video the group posted, Anthrax is just about at that point.
The album, which the group’s Charlie Benante describes as “next level” in the video, is slated for an early 2016 release, and Ian says Anthrax started working on the material during the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival back in 2012, with writing continuing until the group hit the studio with co-producer Jay Ruston last December.
“We’ve spent a good amount of time on this record, obviously,” Ian notes. “We were out touring as well, but also having writing sessions between tours, so we were really, really ready and knew the material really well once we got in to start tracking it. There was no dicking around once we got into the studio with stuff. If we didn’t have it ready, we wouldn’t have started.”
But Anthrax didn’t feel under the gun to come up with a finished product in any specified amount of time. “We don’t rush anything anymore,” Ian says. “We won’t ever give ourselves a deadline or rush to get it put together. If we’re in the studio, you can bet we’re ready.”
Anthrax fans have heard just a bit of the new material so far. The group played a 30-second snippet of a song called “You Gotta Believe” during a 2013 show in San Bernardino but have mostly held the new music at bay for now. But Ian says there`s “a good chance” it will play one of the other songs during its upcoming European run with Slayer that starts Oct. 25 in the Netherlands. “It’s not necessarily a single but just something that we’re really excited about,” Ian says. “I think our fans are very excited to hear what we’ve been doing, so we may play that and that’ll kind of get the ball rolling as far as the next record.”
Anthrax returns to the road on Sept. 11 at the Riot Fest and Carnival in Chicago and will mix headline shows with Motorhead support slots until the Motorboat 2015 Cruise that sets sail on Sept. 28. The latter will also feature performances by Motor Sister, Ian’s all-star side band with his wife, Pearl Aday (Meat Loaf‘s daughter), Jim Wilson of Mother Superior, White Zombie alumnus Jaohn Tempesta and Joey Vera from Fates Warning and Armored Saint. The group is also planning a U.K. run for early 2016. “The thing with Motor Sister is everyone’s schedules are pretty crazy,” Ian acknowledges. “It’s just a case of being at the mercy of that all the time. It’s something we’ll continue doing. When we find windows, we’ll take advantage of them.”