Here we have Anthrax. The least known of the "Big Four" of Thrash Metal, yet also the most easy going band of the bunch. With a career spanning two and a half decade and a name modeled after a deadly poison, Anthrax had a bright and fruitful future to look foreword to.
This being Anthrax's debut album, there are bound too be a few shortcomings, but that's not to say that there aren't enough highlights to strike those shortcomings void. Fistful of Metal
was released in January 1984 under Megaforce Records, a huge name in Thrash Metal having once signed legends Metallica and fellow thrash classics Overkill. But record label aside, this record is truly a classic album. Though not as wonderful as Metallica's Master of Puppets
or Slayer's Reign in Blood
, FoM really does live up to its title in giving you a fistful of metal. Join me on this journey as we embark into a Thrash Metal First, and explore the regions of Anthrax’s lesser-known Records.
Right off the bat the record starts with a now fan favorite, Deathrider
. This song is the best one off the album as a whole besides the cover, but we'll get to that later. The opening riff to this track I must say is one of the better thrash metal riffs inside of Anthrax's resume. It has the speed to carry a classic track to its throne, yet has the melody and substance to pull its weight outside of the Thrash Metal genre. The true side of Anthrax is brought out to shine along side of Among the Living
through this track. When Anthrax was presented with the feat of becoming one of Thrash Metal's most well-known and predominant bands, they most defiantly pulled their weight in this song.
One of the reasons I really appreciate this record is in the fact that it is not just blinding speed, but has excellent work on all aspects of the music. The guitars solos have some character and the riffs are recognizable for their fun loving and loopy sound, which is shown very well in the cover of Alice Cooper's mega-hit, I’m Eighteen
. Overall, I would actually put this album as rather slow compared to its counterparts, RiB
, and MoP
but it still has some pretty speed metal oriented songs for all of you who listen to Anthrax for that. For example, you have the anthem, Metal Thrashing Mad
, and the Self-Titled Anthrax. These songs add a much needed adrenaline pump after you’re tired out from all of your slam dancing to the slower songs.
A flaw of this album, as there are a few of them, is Vocalist Neil Turbin's screech. Now, I'm not saying that his voice is bad or annoying or anything like that, I am merely saying that had he toned his performance down a little bit, as he did in Howling Furies, it would have gone a long way in giving the record more of an atmosphere.
Oh, woe is me; I have not given enough credit to Dan Spitz and Scott Ian for gifting metal as a whole with some of the most recognizable and elaborate riffs for their abilities. Now, granted, they are no Kirk Hammett or Dave Mustaine, but they do a fine job of throwing in pieces of greatness on offerings such as Panic
. These stand up against Goliaths such as Raining Blood
or Hangar 18
, and I must say, they stand pretty firm agaisnt them, however not surpassing them. All in all, Scott and Dan did a marvelous job of creating the Anthrax dynasty for years to come, with this record.
In conclusion to this mediocre review that I have laid forth here on the table, Anthrax established a name for themselves in Thrash Metal history with this record, and with good reason. Next to Among the Living, I believe this album is their best, and a staple, if not a thumbtack onto, Thrash Metal’s large and lovable bulletin board of Masterpieces.
Excellent Guitar Work
Drums were excellent in their time
Songs show masterful understanding of Thrash Metal as a whole
Could have used a bit less enthusiasm upon vocals to achieve ultimate atmosphere
Maybe a little bit better production value could have been established, but that’s not really that much of a con
Sadly, did not stand up to Metallica, Megadeth, or Slayer