American band Anthrax is considered one of the pioneers of the thrash metal scene. They are on a pedestal with the likes of Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth in terms of the way they revolutionized heavy metal music throughout the 1980s and beyond. Anthrax had a unique reputation and following given that they were founded in New York City – becoming the only band of the four pioneering thrash metal bands to be founded on the east coast.
The group was formed by guitarist Scott Ian and bass guitarist Dan Lilker. Scott Ian remains the only original member of the current Anthrax band. The 56-year-old also has his fingers in many other pies too, now being also recognized as a spoken word storyteller and author outside of the metal scene. Ian has also dabbled in the world of professional poker, having finished a creditable 634th out of 6,494 players at the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. The Main Event is like the World Cup of soccer or the NFL’s Super Bowl – the pinnacle of Texas Hold’em. Throughout the years, online poker rooms have dished out plenty of bonuses to new customers which can be used for WSOP Main Event satellites to try and qualify to play the likes of Ian and co.
Talk of Scott Ian and the rest of the new-look Anthrax band returning to the recording studio has been abundant for a couple of years now. In summer 2018, Ian said that the group was in “very preliminary stages” but touring with Slayer on their farewell set of gigs has set their 12th studio album back a couple of years.
Before we prepare for more ear-splitting Anthrax tuneage, let’s look back at five of the best studio releases from these iconic speed metal merchants:
1. Persistence of Time (1990)
The fifth studio album and the fifth released in a six-year period, Persistence of Time is an example of Anthrax well and truly in their pomp. Most of the songs on this album feature a heavier and more complex thrash sound, with some of the most memorable riffs created for this album. It was also the final studio album to incorporate original frontman Joey Belladonna who was subsequently fired due to stylistic differences with the rest of the band.
2. Among the Living (1987)
The fabled ‘difficult’ third album was anything but for Anthrax, with Among the Living regarded by many as their most superior. Even drummer Charlie Benante believed this album to be their “signature” release. It even managed a breakthrough into the UK’s Top 20 charts, cementing itself as a thrash metal classic. Caught In A Mosh remains one of the band’s best-loved tracks along with I Am The Law, inspired by Judge Dredd.
3. Spreading the Disease (1985)
Anthrax’s debut album Fistful Of Metal certainly put the band on the radar, but Spreading the Disease would be the one that put Anthrax well and truly on the global metal map. The explosive nature of album number two was there for all to see. Fortunately, the band replaced Neil Turbin with Joe Belladonna with devastatingly good consequences. It was an extremely well-paced album, with the mellow riffs of Madhouse and Medusa providing light relief before the likes of Armed and Dangerous.
4. Worship Music (2011)
Anthrax returned to the studio for their tenth album after an eight-year hiatus. Worship Music is the band’s comeback record, with many of the tracks on here comparing favorably against those in Among the Living and Spreading the Disease. The trio of tracks Earth on Hell, The Devil You Know, and Fight’ Em Til You Can’t are up there as one of the most breathless and raucous 12-minute periods of thrash metal ever witnessed.
5. For All Kings (2016)
Again, For All Kings was another rock-solid release that saw Anthrax build on its new style of metal from Worship Music. Although a part of the album could be considered rather more ‘filler’ than ‘killer’, the ‘killer’ tracks are up there with their best work. Monster at the End, Evil Twin, and Suzerain are the main standouts here.