anthrax albums

Anthrax - Among The Living

30th Anniversary

Released March 22nd 1987

Charlie Betante (Drums)

Frank Bello (Bass)

Scott Ian (Guitar)

Dan Spitz (Guitar)

Joey Belladonna (Vocals)

Among the Living. 30 years old. Arguably perfect.

I could leave this Anniversary Review with just that and i’d be content. But i won’t. Among The Living stands as potentially one of the greatest Thrash albums ever released. From Betante’s frenetic double bass drumming, which when it began during the title track blew the first 1987 audiences away, and this was an audience subjected to Slayer’s Reign in Blood just the previous year; which alone is saying something, to Belladonna’s crisp and clear vocals when compared to Mustaine’s rasp or Araya’s bark, to Ian’s stomping riffing that has ascended this album to iconic status.

One of the first things you can identify with this album is the lyrical content. When fresh Thrash bands of the time like Exodus and Slayer were producing content around ripping people apart or blood falling from a lacerated sky, Anthrax chose to create content surrounding pop culture with Stephen King literature The Stand forming the lyrical inspiration behind the title track Among The Living, or Judge Dredd being the focus behind fan favourite I Am The Law. There’s always been a soft side to Anthrax too, not necessarily musically but as of the band members themselves, they’ve never been afraid to let loose every now and again and more importantly just enjoy playing metal and being where they are, frequently playing and interacting with their audience preparing to play Indians or Caught in the Mosh.

As to the individual tracks on this album, there is absolutely no filler here. Every single song on Among The Living is amazing. Each one just as good as the other for different reasons, whether you’re listening to Caught in a Mosh or I Am The Law, Indians, Imitation of Life etc. This is even more proven after seeing Anthrax for the 4th time (yep 4th time now), in Manchester where they played this album for their 30th anniversary celebrations and every track they played was a knockout sending the crowd into moshing frenzies. Especially over the last few years with Belladonna’s triumphant return the band has seen a huge resurgence in popularity (not that the Bush era didn’t see some great moments i quite like some of the albums recorded during that period), after the release of Worship Music and more recently For All Kings, it proves Anthrax are here to stay and evolve as a band. 

But even before Among The Living, Anthrax weren’t a small band waiting for their big hit. Fistful Of Metal and Spreading The Disease had been big successes to the point where songs such as Madhouse and A.I.R. were and are still big hits and played live at many of their gigs. So Anthrax were already becoming more and more established with every record only with Among The Living they hit the big time and soared into Thrash legend. They are my favourite out of the Big Four and in many ways you could say they’re actually doing the best alongside Megadeth arguably. Still releasing critically-successive albums and staying in touch with modern issues and audiences that they have come to love playing to, Among The Living is Anthrax’s finest hour, and perhaps the finest hour for all of Thrash for the entirety of the 1980s too.

“ Disease! Disease! Spreading the disease.
With some help from Captain Trips, he’ll bring the world down to his knees.
Power, yes Power! He’ll show them all his power.
It pulses through his ice cold blood, a whole world to devour!

He’s seeing, he’s calling, his legacy he’s spawning.
He’s coming, corrupting, among the living! “

10/10

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“ANTHRAX - Among The Living (1987)” - Concept Posters

created by Minimal Pulse Art [minimal-pulse.tumblr.com]

2

1985. Spreading The Disease

is the second album by  band Anthrax. It was released on October 30, It was the band’s first album to feature vocalist Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello.

The album includes the single “Madhouse”. A music video was produced for “Madhouse” as well, but didn’t receive much airplay because it was banned by MTV, who believed the content to be degrading to the mentally insane.

This was the last Anthrax album to feature songwriting from ex-vocalist Neil Turbin, who is given songwriting credit on the songs “Armed and Dangerous” and “Gung-Ho”. Songwriting credit was shared to the track “Medusa”, the first and only songwriting contribution from former producer Jon Zazula. Originally he was credited as the sole writer of the song, but reissues credited the rest of the band to it as well.

One of Anthrax’s best albums that they totally did right., While Anthrax may have slightly better [Among the Living] or more ‘mature’ [Persistence of Time] albums, this is definitely the “golden ticket” that got them a spot in the Big 4 of American thrash metal.

      Scott Ian   Joey Belladonna   Dan Spitz   Frank Bello   Charlie Benante