Anthrax - Among the Living (1987)
Anthrax's third album finds the band in top form. They took the sound they'd created with Spreading the Disease and perfected it. Anthrax has always been about thrash, with awesome guitar riffs throughout their music, but they're also about downright good fun. This album is a damn entertaining listen and while they're sense of humour doesn't always agree with me (efilnikufesin a case in point), it never reaches the low of bands such as SOD.
Highlights are aplenty with Among the Living, Caught in a Mosh and Indians just a few great tracks off this highly consistent and excellent album.
Anthrax are probably the least acclaimed of the "Big Four", being seen as a bit of a joke by some. Certainly they were the only ones who seemed to have much of a sense of humour, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, surely. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, with Among the Living they released one of the premier albums of the 80s thrash revolution.
Sure, it's song lyrics are mainly based around Steven King stories and comic books (and nuclear Armageddon and the treatment of Native Americans) but it has got kick-ass chugging riffs (the intro to I Am the Law is a killer), a love-of-life infectiousness that is impossible to resist and in Joey Belladonna arguably the best singer in thrash.
This time around Anthrax had really tightened up their sound, incorporating hardcore influences that probably came from the guys' involvement in S.O.D. and whereas Slayer used the influence of hardcore to make Reign in Blood even more evil sounding than previous albums, Anthrax used it to make the music more anthemic and fun.
I was lucky enough to catch Anthrax on the tour to support Among the Living when they visited the UK and it was one of the most brilliant nights I've ever had at a metal gig. These guys sure knew how to party back in the day. Unfortunately this was the crest of the wave for Anthrax and the only way thereafter was down, but while it lasted it was a hell of a blast!