Anthrax - Spreading The Disease
Island Records
Classic Speed/Thrash Metal
9 songs (43:42)
Release year: 1985
Reviewed by Jeff

Jesus! I just realized that it's been almost eleven months since I last wrote a classic review! My last classic review was written way back in April of 2005. It was Bathory's "Hammerheart". Well, I've been way over due in contributing a classic for the site and my timing couldn't be better! What better way to celebrate four years (as of 2/26/2006) with Metal Reviews than to honor it in the way I first started; by writing a classic review! KISS "Alive!" was my first for review for the team back in February of 2002. Oh how time flies!

As a standard here at Metal Reviews, we try to get a group consensus or opinions of sorts as to what constitutes a classic before posting it as such. When the time came to pick one, I had suggested "Fistful of Metal" by Anthrax. Most team members felt there were a few other Anthrax albums that deserved the "classic" moniker before "Fistful of Metal", like "Among The Living" and "Spreading The Disease". With that said, I felt "Spreading The Disease" rightfully deserved a spot in our Metal Reviews classics section. If ever there was an album that catapulted my interest in speed/thrash metal, it was "Spreading The Disease".

In the early 1980's, most metal bands were signed with independent record labels like Megaforce, Combat, Roadrunner and Metal Blade. When the speed/thrash metal scene started to really flourish and cause alot of buzz, many major record labels like Atlantic and Capitol saw an opportunity to cash in. They teamed up with the independent labels, providing better distribution of the music as well as support for the tours than the idies could do alone. The end result was successful in "spreading the disease" of metal to places that might not have had access to it before. This meant more record sales, more radio airplay, more concerts, more exposure and recognition. Fans could not seem to get enough of this new addiction.

"Spreading The Disease" was an album which represents many firsts; It was Anthrax's first album for a major label. It was made available on Island Records/Megaforce Worldwide, which was distributed by Atco Records; a division of Atlantic Records. It was the first Anthrax album to feature new lead vocalist Joey Belladonna and new bassist Frank Bello, replacing former lead vocalist Neil Turbin and former bassist Danny Lilker, respectively. . It was also the first Anthrax album to feature a music video, ("Madhouse"), which received airplay on MTV's "Headbanger's Ball".

"Spreading The Disease" was a major improvement over "Fistful of Metal". The production team of Jon Zazula and Carl Canedy, along with the technical engineering of Alex Perialas, helped give "Spreading The Disease" a metallic guitar crunch and a thunderous drum sound that was sorely missing from "Fistful of Metal". They also enabled Anthrax to be more melodic in areas without losing their thrashy edge.

A big part of Anthrax's "change" in direction was due to the vocals of Joey Belladonna. At that time, Joey quickly became one of the premier metal vocalists, in league with the likes of Geoff Tate and Rob Halford. He had a power and clarity matched by few. Belladonna helped bring the music of Anthrax to the next level and gave the music another dimension. His vocals on "Armed and Dangerous" give me the chills. His range and control on this track is just stunning. He switches octaves with such ease during this song. Probably his best track vocally.

Scott Ian wrote some of the sickest, most memorable guitar riffs at the time. He had a signature guitar sound that, when you heard the first few notes played, you knew it was him. He totally shreds on "Gung-Ho", the fastest and thrashiest track on "Spreading The Disease".

Of course, there is Dan Spitz; the small sized lead guitar player who packed a mighty punch with his blistering guitar leads. Who can't forget the off the wall, psychotic whammy dive bomb solo at the beginning of "Madhouse"? How about his melodic lead work on a song like "Medusa" or his clean, chorus guitar intro to "Armed and Dangerous"? Not to mention his complimentary rhythm guitar riffing to Scott Ian's.

Frank Bello's clangy, chorus metallic bass sound gave Anthrax that "moshing" edge to it. You've got to love his bass runs at the beginning of "Lone Justice".

Let's not forget Charlie Benante, a drummer who's style set the bar in the way speed/thrash metal is played today. This guy played hard and effortlessly with such precision it was almost mechanical. The drum rolls and double bass work on songs like "Aftershock" and "S.S.C./Stand or Fall" set the Richter scale off!

From start to finish, "Spreading The Disease" is a metal masterpiece! It's nine tracks of energetic, headbanging, moshing speed/thrash metal. Every year since it's release, "Spreading The Disease" still receives a good amount of play time from me; be it on my CD player or on my MP3 Player. This album brings back vivid memories and feelings of high school days long ago. It is easily one of my top ten speed/thrash albums of all time. It has stood the test of time and fits in quite well with any speed/thrash metal you hear today. One of Anthrax's, let alone speed/thrash metals, finest works!

Killing Songs :
Jeff quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Anthrax that we have reviewed:
Anthrax - For All Kings reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Anthrax - Anthems (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Anthrax - Worship Music reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Anthrax - Volume 8 - The Threat Is Real reviewed by Goat and quoted 55 / 100
Anthrax - Persistence Of Time reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 19 reviews click here
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