30 years! Thirty! Better dig out that CD (vinyl would be better) as it’s time to WARDANCE!
Make no mistake, Among The Living is still the real deal and one of the greatest thrash records of all time; all the ingredients that made Anthrax world-beaters coming together to form the perfect whole.
But what made it so good?
It was simple really. Joey Belladonna had truly bedded in and his melodic yet powerful vocals were exceptional throughout while Scott Ian and Dan Spitz were now a lethal combination with Among The Living cementing their reputation as one of the most skilled guitar partnerships in metal. Finally, there was Charlie Benante’s stunning, highly influential bass drum work which propelled the band forward at breakneck speed throughout the entire album.
And let’s not forget the songs. Damn, these were truly exceptional songs!
Lyrically and thematically, Among The Living combined the comic book/horror movie aesthetic which could already be found on Spreading The Disease with the social commentary perfected on Persistence Of Time. The result was a near-perfect thrash album which holds it’s own against the greatest albums the genre has to offer to this day.
Heavy on comic book, pop culture and horror movie imagery – the cover artwork famously depicted the diabolical Rev. Henry Kane character from Poltergeist II & III) – the most iconic reference on show was “I Am the Law”, Anthrax’s tribute to comic book enforcer Judge Dredd. This head-crushing stomp through nearly 6 minutes of coruscating riffs, courtesy of rhythm master Scott Ian, remains a fan favourite an incredible 30 years after it was written.
Another highlight is “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” (“nice f*ckin’ life” spelled backwards for those not already in the know). A track which tackled the heavy subject of tragic comedian John Belushi’s drug and alcohol addiction – and early demise – and its shred-heavy riffs and hardcore backing vocals are as effective as ever.
The pick of a very, very good bunch though are stonewall classics “Indians” (a politically charged indictment of the treatment of the Native American and a nod to singer Joey Belladonna’s ancestry) and the mosh pit anthem “Caught in a Mosh”. These songs still stand toe-toe with the best tracks thrash metal has to offer and are as thrilling today as they were way back in 1987.
Anthrax have come very close over the years to bettering this album – 1990′s Persistence Of Time really does run it a very close second – but Among The Living is the real deal and an absolute stone-cold, thrash classic.
Stop reading and go listen to it now!
Track Listing: 1. Among The Living 2. Caught In A Mosh 3. I Am The Law 4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) 5. A Skeleton In The Closet 6. Indians 7. One World 8. A.D.I. / Horror Of It All 9. Imitation Of Life
Recommended Track: “Caught In A Mosh”; a true thrash metal anthem and one of the greatest thrash tracks ever written!