Top Of The Heap: Anthrax
Does Anthrax need an introduction? As part of the "Big Four" the band has released countless albums and have been at the forefront of the thrash movement since their humble beginnings in 1983. Despite numerous line up changes and a declining fan base Anthrax continues to carry on. With Joey Belladonna back in the fold yet again the band look to try to recapture their former glory. Whether their much delayed new album Worship Music will achieve that or not who knows. My own personal discovery of Anthrax came courtesy of Columbia House. As a teen growing up in small town America record stores were few and far apart. I remember having read about Anthrax in some metal magazine and thinking the name alone was cool. I ordered Spreading The Disease and eagerly awaited it's arrival in the mail. Once the package came and I popped the tape in my stereo I was impressed. I looked for more of their albums and was able to get Among The Living and State Of Euphoria. While I loved all three tapes it was Among The Living I was most drawn too. "Caught in a Mosh" and "Indians" are two of my favorites but not the only great songs this album has to offer. The title track is classic thrash...Headbanging 101 territory."I Am The Law" is more of a slow, power metal fist in the face tune. "One World" has grown on me over the years. It's not great at first listen and didn't thrill me back in the day. More and more though I've come to see how much the song works."A.D.I. / Horror of It All" I've always had a soft spot for. It's an underrated song for sure. The disc ends on a strong note with "Imitation of Life". One of the more mature cuts on the album it showed the group's growth. What I love most I think about the album is how much it draws on thrash, speed metal and even punk. You can hear the group's roots on these killer tracks and it has been debated that this is their best disc ever. Seeing as I picked it for my pick I guess I'm agreeing with that statement!
Metal Mark says-
Sometimes the first album by a band becomes your favorite album by that band just because it makes such an instantly strong impression that even good follow-up albums just can't trump it. That's definitely the case for me regarding Anthrax. It was summer of 1986 and having recently gotten into Metallica, Slayer and Exciter it was safe to say I had been bitten by the speed metal bug. So I was searching for other bands of this style and the guy who owned the local record store recommended Anthrax's "Spreading the disease". I bought the cassette because unfortunately that was my format of choice back in those days. Opener "A.I.R" cmae blasting on and once it was over I had to pick myself up off the ground because I had been floored byt it's power. However it was only the beginning as "Lone Justice" with it's tight gallop and Joey Belladonna's soaring vocals whipped me around like being caught in a tornado of sound. "Madhouse" had me banging my head along it while "S.S.C./Stand or Fall" had me singing along at the top of my lungs. "The Enemy" again gives Joey Belladonna a chance to shine. "Aftershock" was a huge bulldozer of a song and just one of many chances for drummer Charlie Benante to have my ears ringing without the all out assault that he was bringing. "Armed and Dangerous" showed the band's ability to spread out and knock out a song with some change ups and they excelled at it. "Medusa" is one of my favorites and even now I cannot listen to it just once because I have to press repeat and hear it again. "Gung-Ho" isn't the most invloved song and indeed it's quite basic but it's still massive dose of speed and heaviness. Still a fantastic album that never fails to impress me. My favorite Anthrax album and my favorite album of 1985.
***What is your favorite Anthrax album?