Anthrax has always been one of my favorite bands since I was fourteen years old. When I first heard Spreading the Disease their 1985 classic I was fan. Ever since then that album has always stood above the rest of their catalog in my eyes. Albums like Fistful of Metal, State of Euphoria, Persistance of Time, We’ve come for you all, and Volum 8, The Threat is Real were all excellent albums that I had on repeat, but I didn’t enjoy them quite like Spreading the Disease. Today though, I believe my opinion has finally changed.
Among the Living was released back in 1987 and is Anthrax’s third album after the aforementioned Spreading the Disease. This album was also signature Anthrax front man Joey Belladonna’s second album with the group along with the second album to be released via Megaforce and Island records. This album is regarded as the apex of Anthrax in regards to the rest of their catalog. For years I resisted that notion always sticking to Spreading the Disease, but after re listening to this album a few times recently I can no longer stick by my guns.
The album starts out with the titular song “Among the Living”. Even before I changed my mind on Anthrax’s best album this song was always one of my favorites. Among the living is based off the Stephen King novel The Stand. The riff in this song is one of the most memorable riffs in Anthrax’s catalog and contains some of the most memorable lyrics, “Disease, Disease, Spreading a Disease, with the help from Captian Trips we’ll bring the world down to it’s knees, Power! Yes Power! show them all his power!…” Charlie Benete’s double kick in the song accompanied by Scott Ian and Dan Splitz guitars creates an exciting energy that stays with the song until the very end and carries onward to the next song arguably the most important Anthrax song, “Caught in a Mosh” a song detailing the frustraitions of talking to someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about and is so frustrating to converse with them you loose your temper and go crazy. This song has an amazing bass solo and Joey’s voice on it is impecalbe. Not to mention this song is something everyone can, unfortuately, relate to. We all know that one person who drives us mental when we talk to them.
Following Caught in a Mosh is another monster classic from the band, the infamous I AM the Law. This song is absolutely amazing. Detailing the story of comic book character Judge Dredd this song has become synonamous with Anthrax, much like the previous two songs, I see a trend forming here… I AM the Law has a great riff and excellent vocals with a very memorable solo towards the end. There isn’t much to say about this song other than its absolutely fantasic and garunteed to impress you. Once I AM the Law finishes up with you its onto “N.F.L” which stands for Nice Fucking Life a song that details the fall of John Belushi. The song unlike the previous three takes some time to get into, the opeining riff is much slower and while it does pick up later on in the song it kills the energy created and passed down in the previous songs. For years I never cared for the song, but once I developed the patience to sit through it a few times I found it to be an enjoyable song detailing on of the most unfortunate tradegies to happen to the entertainment business in the 20th century.
Next on the list is “Indians” a song written about the plight and struggle of the Native Americans. This song, again, is a classic Anthrax song and one synonomous with the band, seems to be a lot of those off this record. The intro to this song is really clever with Charlie’s playing a traditional Native American drum beat followed by Dan joining him by playing a traditional Native riff. Its a really cool song that highlights the attocities that Native Americans went through back in the day and that these horrors should never be forgotten.
Once Indians finishes the album moves into three songs that Im not huge on, but I can admit are growing on me. “One World”, “A.D.I”, and “Immitation of Life” are excellent songs that while aren’t as great as the rest of the album contain excellence in their own way. One world would have to be my favorite of the three.
Overall this album is great, the best Anthrax has to offer and one of the best thrash metal albums recorded. Its an album that must be experienced and an album that must be respected.