Review Summary: Anthrax makes their most historically influential album. Not necessarily the best, but undeniably good.An Anthrax Story:
Episode III: Among the Living
After the success of Spreading the Disease within metal fans (Anthrax was still under the radar commercially, and as such had little hope of making a dent in the Billboard charts), there really wasn't any needed improvement. What the band really needed now was to make another album which would please fans enough, and consolidate them as the leading metal act in the New York thrash scene. And so, Among the Living was born.
At the time, the band lineup remains thus:
Scott Ian: Rhythm Guitars
Dan Spitz: Lead Guitars
Frank Bello: Bass
Charlie Benante: Drums
Joey Belladonna: Vocals
As I said, there really isn't any improvement at all from Spreading the Disease. If anything, the band goes in the opposite direction: they simplify the music and make it a lot more straightforward. Not that it backfires, quite the contrary. The band creates some of their best songs here, and were smart enough to compensate their simplicity with catchyness. The riffs, the solos, the bass, the drums, everything is pretty focused in a fast, loud and somewhat punkish direction (remember the New York punk rock scene).
Take Caught in a Mosh
for instance. The song begins with a nice double riff, and then Bello's bass anounces the impending metal assault. The rifss come again, and are quickly joined by Benante's drums. After a nice drumming flurry, Belladonna comes in. And frankly, how can anyone not get pumped with these lyrics?:
I can't stand this for another day
I ain't gonna live my life this way
Cold sweat, my fists are clenchin'
Stomp, stomp, stomp, the idiot convention
Another fine example is I Am the Law
, where another nice riff opens up, the bass comes in, another riff comes in, the drums get mixed in, and then the vocals come up. Yet some other irresistible lines:
Respect the badge
He earned it with his blood
Fear the gun
Your sentence might be death because...
Pretty much the same principles apply to the rest of the album, other major highlights here include:
, A Skeleton in the Closet
. These songs work, not because of technical musicianship, but simply because they succeed at giving the listener an urge to rock out like there's no tomorrow. Anthrax cleverly developed an album that sticks like chewing gum,and could easily become a guilty pleasure for any elitist.
This album is strongly recommended for those who want to get into Anthrax. It's somewhat easier than Persistence of Time and State of Euphoria. It's also a tad more straightforward than Spreading the Disease, even though it never tops that gem. And, who can deny it, it's heralded as Anthrax's most influential record, and one of the cornerstones of thrash metal.
-Caught in a Mosh
-I Am the Law
-Among the Living
-Skeletons in the Closet
[u]Episode IV: State of Euphoria[/u}