Among The Living(1987). Anthrax’s third studio album.Back in the mid 80s, a genre of frantic heavy metal music known as thrash metal was beginning to emerge from the shadows of the east and west coasts with big name bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament, and Anthrax. While the four former bands emerged in the San Francisco Bay west coast area, Anthrax originated in New York on the east coast and brought many unique aspects to the thrash metal scene. Comprised of vocalist Joey Belladonna, lead guitarist Dan Spitz, rhythm guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, and bassist Frank Bello, Anthrax is a band about delivering songs full of raw energy, memorable riffs, and endless headbanging. Even though the more famous Metallica and Megadeth were influenced by the NWOBHM scene, Anthrax sports an almost punk-like quality to it, in addition to the insurmountable ammount of heavy metal power. To me, Anthrax has some of the greatest thrash musicians to ever grace heavy metal. Spitz churns out some AMAZING solos. Scott has incredible rhythm guitar talent (second only to Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer). Charlie manages to be an excellent drummer, and even Bello’s bass playing stands out quite a bit. But to me, what separates Anthrax from all the other thrash metal bands is that they have the best thrash vocalist. James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine have NOTHING on Belladonna. Unlike the shouting and screaming that most thrash metal vocalists employ, Belladonna can actually sing WELL. His melodic vocals manage to dominate the songs on top of all the frantic instrumentation that’s going on. With the talented playing and sheer power that erupts in each song, one can’t help but be impressed by Anthrax. The band started out in 1984 with Fist Full Of Metal and then released the masterpiece thrash album Spreading The Disease(1985). Among The Living was actually the album that got the band really noticed among the legions of metalheads. While Spreading The Disease is an excellent Anthrax album, ATL has the most punch to it and it’s definitely their most powerful 80s album. The production is much more crisp and the guitar sound here easily dwarfs the one used on the previous album. Anyone could think that the guitars were straight out of a Metallica album, but the flavor of it all is undeniably Anthrax. The only setback on this album is that Belladonna shouts more here than before, which is a shame because his best voice comes instead from the singing. Still, there’s no shortage of catchy anthemic choruses to sing along to, so this isn’t any serious drawback. Just press play and prepare to be amazed (if you like thrash metal, that is). ATL kicks off with a pleasantly powerful one-two punch in the title track and ‘Caught In A Mosh’. ‘I Am The Law’ is an ode to the comic book Judge Dredd, though done in a non-cheezy manner. Of course, ‘Efilnikufesin’ is a stellar headbanger with a backwards subliminal message contained that’s easy to guess (Strange how the media pressured Judas Priest for a song with a subliminal message that wasn’t even there, and yet Anthrax really has one and gets away with it!) Next is the Stephen King inspired ‘Skeleton In The Closet’ which never fails to please, followed by the anthemic ‘Indians’. ‘One World’ and ‘Imitation Of Life’ are pure thrash muscle numbers, while A.D.I. is the album’s lengthy melodic track. All in all, a good collection of thrash songs with nary a moment of filler to be found anywhere.I actually just bought this album yesterday, but after listening to it 3 times in a row, I wish I had bought it sooner. It’s albums like this that remind me of why I wish I had grown up in the 80s, which was a time of prospering heavy metal music. Bands such as Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Testament were in their golden years. Instead I’m stuck in the now surrounded by the horrificly embarrassing Nu-metal scene, of which I hate with a passion. Everyone around me is obsessed with no-talent bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, KoRn, and Slipkot, and I have no interest in any of it. Though thrash wasn’t the most popular metal scene at the time (hair metal actually was), even hair metal is better than what you’ll hear on the radio now. With Megadeth and Metallica compromising their sound to an extent (the latter band did it to the point of becoming absolutely unlistenable), Anthrax, along with Testament, remains one of the true metal bands to this day who still retain their signature thrash sound. ATL is one great example of what heavy metal is all about. It gets 4.5 stars hands down. Any true metalhead already has this album in their collection, and if you don’t, then make this your next purchase. BUY THIS ALBUM ALONG WITH SPREADING THE DISEASE AND PERSISTENCE OF TIME.HEAVY METAL FOREVER!!