Review Summary: Anthrax take everything up a notch on their third full length, proving they are one of the biggest bands in thrash.
After their impressive second album Spreading The Disease
, Anthrax had a lot to prove. Metallica had already released the groundbreaking Ride The Lightning
in 1984 and seemed to be ahead of the game. In response, Anthrax brought everything up a level with Among The Living
. The more melodic influences heard on their last effort have been replaced by a brutal and relentless thrash sound. Now widely considered to be one of the best Thrash albums of all time, Among The Living
is Anthrax at their very best.
Right off the bat it’s easy to hear the differences between the band’s last album and Among The Living
. Everything is considerably heavier, from the rapid drums to the aggressive riffs. However, Belladonna’s voice is also angrier, which only adds more intensity to the experience. The second song ‘Caught In A Mosh’ is the first real gem. It’s full of creative, heavy guitar riffs, but the obvious influence of hardcore helps add character to the choruses making it a definite standout. Thankfully, the album just gets better as it goes along. Throughout the first five songs, the energy doesn’t seem to let up and each song thrashes harder than the one before it. ‘Skeletons in the Closet’ is one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever written and is nothing less than perfect. It isn’t until the sixth song ‘Indians’ that the listener is given a slight break from the constant aggression. Although the song still thrashes hard, it utilizes melody and has some of the best vocals on the album.
As usual, both Scott Ian and Dan Spitz are highly impressive on guitar. ‘A.D.I./Horror Of it All’ starts out with beautiful guitar work, only to explode into a heavy thrash song and finish off with face melting solos. The drums are also over the top courteous of Charlie Benante. However, even the bass is audible and unusually impressive. Although the band worked well together on their last album Spreading The Disease
, they have really outdone themselves on this release. It contains some of the best guitar work and instrumentation they’ve ever recorded.
Those who loved the band’s first two albums may be surprised by Among The Living
, but it’s an album not to be ignored. It’s proof Anthrax can really hold their own against the likes of Metallica or Megadeth. Not only is it an extremely influential album, but it’s one of the most intimidating, well executed thrash releases of all time.