ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante has been using his coronavirus downtime to connect virtually with other metal musicians and share videos of them covering various pop, rock and metal tracks, including those by RUSH, IRON MAIDEN, Billie Eilish and Tom Petty.
Speaking to TrickyKid TV about how the idea for his quarantine jams first came about, Benante said (see video below): "Back in, like, February, March, I was getting really depressed, and it was starting to affect me and everyone around me. And then Carla [Harvey, BUTCHER BABIES singer], my girlfriend, said, 'You've gotta turn off the news. This is really messing with you.' I was watching news the whole time to see what was going on, what we were gonna do here, and I found myself going down this hole. So I started making videos and calling friends and saying, 'You wanna play this song with me?' and stuff like that. And then I got energized and I started becoming creative again, which is what we should be doing. And that's how I got out of it."
He added: "I've been pushing my fellow musicians [about getting involved] too, who I feel have it in them, but maybe they just didn't have the right vehicle to do it."
ANTHRAX has spent most of the last four years touring in support of its latest album, "For All Kings", which was released in February 2016. A follow-up effort is expected in 2021.
Earlier this month, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian clarified his previous comment that the group likely won't release any music until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided and he and his bandmates are able to tour in support of the effort.
He told "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie: "I know I said that in an interview [about not releasing an album if we can't tour], but it's not like anything is written in stone. That's where I am personally right at this moment. Six months from now, who knows where the world is gonna be? We don't know. Maybe things will be closer to being back to normal; maybe they'll be further away from back to normal. Nobody has an answer to this, so anytime someone asks me about that, I really don't have an answer.
"In my brain, I don't wanna put a record out until I can play shows," he continued. "That's what I wanna do, but, of course, I don't control the world and I don't control what's gonna happen with COVID. I think I can safely say we will certainly be ready to make a record next year. So I think we will probably go do that once we're ready to go do it. There would be no reason to have a record [written] and then just sit around and not record it. So, I think once we actually feel like we're ready to go into the studio, we'll do that, regardless of where things are at on the planet, and then just take it from there. At least it'll be in the can, and then we'll be able to make a decision on what the best course is for us to take at that point.
"[Everybody is] in the same boat. There's no rules anymore. It's a completely different playbook, and everybody's gotta figure out what's gonna work."
Asked to describe the musical direction of the new ANTHRAX material, Scott said: "It's always hard for me to answer that, because it's more ANTHRAX songs, 'cause it always just sounds like ANTHRAX to me. And I don't really go much deeper than that. If I had to describe it, let's say comparing it to the last record, it's definitely riffier. There's more riffs; the songs have more riffs, I feel like, than the last record. There's already definitely more uptempo and fast stuff, but then again, we also aren't finished writing. That doesn't mean the fast stuff we've written is gonna go away. We're gonna probably write more songs, and then we'll see what the album's gonna be. But it's definitely riffier, and I think it's definitely faster, if I had to come up with two ways to describe it compared to 'For All Kings'."
At last year's Download festival in the United Kingdom, 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".