Saturday, August 04, 2007

Anthrax-Among the living, 1987

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Background-Anthrax had released their sophomore album Spreading the disease in 1985 and toured into 1986 opening for the likes of Black Sabbath and Ozzy. They had gained a following during that time and the speed metal was gaining popularity so by early 1987 this was a fairly highly anticipated album.

Initial reaction-I got into them on Spreading the disease and was excited when this one came out. I loved it and played it often.


-Among the living-The title track comes on slowly and builds to a large thick beat before taking off in a flurry. The track overalls erupts and pushes ahead like a good opener should.

-Caught in a mosh-The beginning builds and then the drums fly in and Joey Belladonna plunges ahead with some confident vocals. The feel to this song is just like the band is so comfortable and confident with what they are doing. Great song that draws you and gets the blood pumping.

-I am the law-Another simple beginning only this one stays around the same pace. It's so basic yet pounding and right on target. I love how the drums sound as well.

-Efilnikufesin(N.F.L)-Starts out medium paced with a strong flow to it. Not a huge amount of variation here, but it moves along fairly well so it does keep my interest.

-A skeleton in the closet-Huge riff opens the track and the pace changes as the vocals come on. I like this song, but the rhythm section seems more in the back of the mix than normal.

-Indians-Simple drum beat and a basic guitar riff mark the start of one if not this band's biggest song. A good example of what this band could do in their prime. The music is big and your face and Joey's vocals are clear and cutting.

-One World-There is a lot going on in just the opening minute of this song and this may be a little more varied musically that a lot of the other tracks here. Possibly my favorite song on the album due to the aggressive approach.

-A.D.I.-Horror of it all-A slow intro winds into a chugging main riff and the drums fall in behind the guitar. There is a very clean sound to this song and it stands out some because of it. It's over seven minutes long, but they certainly keep it interesting.

-Imitation of life-Maybe the heaviest song on the album. I never thought of Ian and Spitz as the greatest guitarists around, but they knew how to keep it interesting.

Verdict/final word-"Among the living" has aged nicely for a twenty year old recording. Anthrax largely established their own sound and knew how to use it to it's fullest. The sound was simple yet direct and this style is what made them fairly accessible in their field. I think that along with "Spreading the disease" and "Persistence of time" this is one of their best albums. A lot has changed in twenty years yet this CD still finds it's way into my player fairly often.

***The twenty year old album review for September will be Deep Purple's The house of the blue light.


Blogger George Vader said...

An excellent album indeed, I still prefer the far more commercial "Spreading The Disease" though. I had great memories of this band back in the 1980's and had the great fortune to see them on a number of times;
Cardiff UK 1986 supporting Metallica!!!
Bristol, UK 1987 with Testament
Donington Festival 1987

12:59 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

George-Spreading the disease is my favorite as well. I saw Anthrax in 1989 on the Headbanger's Ball tour.

1:06 PM  
Blogger dschalek said...

A timeless thrash metal classic. The follow-up, "State Of Euphoria", was such a huge letdown.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

dschalek-State fo Euphoria is one of their weaker albums for sure.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I think even though they still had to get through State of Euphoria, the last three songs are the groundwork for Persistence of Time, shows Anthrax could think while writing instead of just writing blitzy fast kind of songs.

And of course, I was there too for that HBB show! Good times.

4:39 AM  

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