As big of a fan as I was of Among the Living and Persistence of Time, I wasn’t immediately drawn to this album. I can’t really imagine why, but I didn’t bother checking it out until a friend of mine bought a copy. I listened to that with him, and was highly impressed. This album can’t quite match either AtL or PoT, but it’s still of very high quality, and quite different from either of those, which makes it more than worth owning. This album is substantially less thrashy than their following few albums. It’s got much more of a NWOBHM feel with an obvious Iron Maiden influence. Frankly, it just barely qualifies as a thrash album. Still, despite stylistic differences, their talent is already apparent. Charlie is already a first rate thrash drummer, with a lot of energy and nice use of the double bass, and newcomer Bello’s bass makes it presence known, unlike just about every other thrash bassist out there. Ian’s rhythm guitar isn’t a tight or sharp as it would become, but it’s noticeably more melodic and can still thrash it up quite efficiently. Belladonna’s vocals are also more melodic than they’d later be. He’s a little over the top occasionally, but that’s alright, especially in conjunction with the more light-hearted feel of the album.Over the next couple albums Anthrax’s lyrics became progressively more serious and dark. On Spreading the Disease, however, they are almost completely non-substantial or light hearted. This wouldn’t work for every thrash band, or album, but it works here, and makes for an album which is more genuinely fun to listen to then lots of other high quality thrash albums. This is also more hook-driven then just about any other thrash album I’ve heard. Fortunately, they almost always work, and pretty much every track has a nicely melodic and immediately memorable chorus.(and a nice pre-chorus too, much of the time) The big standout on this album is Lone Justice. Unspeakably catchy, but with the riffs to back it up. A.I.R. is a classic opener with all the energy that such a title entails. The closer, Gung-Ho is probably the thrashiest thing here, with an absolutely outstanding main riff, and a copmletely silly but still very enjoyable chorus/pre-chorus. The Enemy breaks the mood of the album, as it is a very serious minded song about Hitler/Holocaust etc. It still works, although it certainly isn’t the best thing here. Stand or Fall and Aftershock are the relative weak points, but they are still some solid early thrash. Lastly, although the rest of the song doesn’t stand up to some of the stronger material on the album, the intoduction to Armed & Dangerous is just great, perhaps the best part of the album. Great vox from Joey. Lots of melodrama, perhaps, but rather effecting as well.Anthrax were one of the best thrash acts around, and this is one of their classic albums. Get it.