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Spreading the Disease

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  • In 1985 New York based Anthrax relased Spreading the Disease. Heavily influenced by Iron Maiden and their manager Jon and Marsha Zazula’s previous band Metallica, Anthrax combined thrash rhythymic sensibilities with melodic vocals and riffs born straight from punk.Rhythym guitarist Scott Ian laid the foundation for a slab of metallic rhtythym by downpicking all his rhythyms just like Hetfield of Metallica while using the skin of his thumb to add thickness and texture to the riffs. Vocalist Joey Belladonna was the lone party man but offered melodic and diverse vocal ranges while the awesome rhythym tandem of Charlie Benante and Frank Bello set the framework for Ian and Dan Spitz’s guitar intricacies.The album opens with “A.I.R” which would become an Anthrax trademark using acronyms for songs. “Lone Justice”, “Medusa”, and “The Enemy” all utilize the Iron Maiden formula of using popular fiction, mythology, and history for song topics. The difference is Anthrax perform with virtuoso speed and precision with lead guitarist Dan Spitz ripping unconventional yet melodic solos to complement the versatile vocals of Belladona and punk backing vocals of Ian.”Medusa” is simply an epic metal anthem with a classic riff and inspired vocals by Belladona. “Armed and Dangerous” opens with an ethereal and majestic clean picked passge only to evolve into a straight forward adrenalin blast of thrash. “Aftershcok” is an energetic thrasher and “A.I.R” has a memorable opening riff and great vocals from Belladonna. Anthrax had nearly reached the pinnacle of their abilities with this album and the debut of vocalist Joey Belladona. This is a thrash album that today sounds thin as far as production is concerned but is technically brilliant. In 1985 it was Atlantic records biggest thrash band and a landmark in production for speed metal and thrash bands during that era. Antrhrax went on to surpass this album with their masterpiece “Among The Living” but “Spreading The Disease” has long been recognized as an essential and devastating thrash album that should not be overlooked.

    Posted on November 13, 2009