Anthrax was one of my favorite metal bands growing up in the 80’s. They were heavy as all get out, but they also had a street credibility that made them stick out in a sea of ultra-serious metal made by people wearing tons of leather and spikes (and makeup in lesser cases). Anthrax were content to go on stage wearing just t-shirts and jam shorts which really helped them connect to their fans in a much more personal way than a lot of other metal bands from the classic era.
This 2 disc collection covers the 1985-1991 years of Anthrax’s career which is what many a fan consider to be the true lineup anyway. The lineup during these years were vocalist Joey Belladona, bassist Frankie Bello, lead guitarist Danny Spitz and founding members on rhythm guitar and drums Scott Ian & Charlie Benante respectively. This set also honors the 25th anniversary of the release of their classic 1985 album “Spreading the Disease” which was the debut of then new vocalist Joey Belladona (who actually had made his debut on a previous E.P. entitled Armed & Daneragous, but why quibble). He had repacled their terrible original singer who had mangled their 1st album, 1984’s Fistul of Metal, which was musically an otherwise fine debut album.
While I would have preferred that they had just released re-mastered versions of the actual albums, this seems like it’s going to be as good as it’s going to get for a while. I guess we should be thankful that Island/Universal gave us this at all.
Basically you get 7 out of the 9 tracks off of 1985’s “Spreading the Disease, 6 out of the 9 tracks off of 1987’s “Among the Living”, 6 tracks from 1988’s “State of Euphoria” and 6 tracks from 1990’s “Persitence of Time”. They also throw in 2 tracks off of the “I’m the Man” e.p., their classic matchup with Public Enemy (Bring Tha Noize) and 2 tracks from an odds/sods EP which make up the last 2 tracks on disc 2. (one of those is a hilarious French language version of the track Anti-Social.)
The sound has been remastered as to where everything is clearer and you don’t have to crank the heck out of your stereo to get it loud enough. The production sound itself & mix have been left untouched. While still sounding a little raw, compared to other metal bands of the era, it sounds fantastic. The new mastering also makes things a bit clearer as well without affecting the mix.
The set contains great liner notes from all of the band member reminiscing about the old days and what those classic albums mean to each of them.
Overall, a very classy set that should more than please Anthrax fans who have been clamoring for something to be remastered at some point of their catalog. While I’m still holding out hope that we’ll one day see new remastered special edition’s of each of the 4 albums themselves, this is still a great collection nonetheless.
I’m more of a fan of the Belladonna era of Anthrax so I welcomed this with open arms and am hoping to catch the reunited classic lineup on tour at some point. Hopefully, they’ll make an all new record as well.