Last week was a so-so week, so I liked the music didn’t like the singer. That’s okay, it was still a decent album. Waiting on Eugene‘s and Jon‘s take. Let’s hit this one as I feel like I’m going to put my head through a concrete block wall.
#33 – Among the Living by Anthrax.
Holy schnikes – Charlie Benante! That guy plays drums at Mach 4 speed. The speed of the other instruments is noteworthy but this dude has to throw his whole body into hyper drive to get those speeds. The others have to keep up with him. That’s amazing.
I have always known about Anthrax but to me, they were second-rate Metallica. I know that’s not truly the case, but I didn’t know that then. Speed/thrash metal has never been my thing, but I can certainly appreciate it for what it is. Behind the thrash, though, there are some really good chord progressions and decent songs. I don’t think I really ever took the time to listen to them. That’s a shame. I’m admitting my shame right here, right now.
Joey Belladonna has a great voice when he uses it. On the title track and a few others, he seems to skate through on the melodies. Then, at other times he’s using his tenor voice to its fullest capacity. It’s just a bit of a let down when he’s not singing as much as yelling through some songs.
Now, the cool thing is that Joey or whoever is writing the majority of the lyrics (they’re all credited in the songwriting column), is obviously a Stephen King fan. I didn’t even have to look up the info or lyrics for the opening, title track to know that it was talking about King’s book, The Stand. As soon as I heard “Captain Trips” I knew what it was. The Stand along with It are my two favorite King books. The “Walkin’ Dude” was also a give away as it’s talking about Randall Flagg, who shows up in over 17 King books in one form or another. “A Skeleton in the Closet” is based on the novella “Apt Pupil” from the collection book, Different Seasons. That book, incidentally, has four novellas and three of them were turned into films, two of which I consider my #1 and #2 films of all time. And neither because I’m a Stephen King fan. Just because I love the films.
The lyrics writer also is a comic book fan, because “I Am the Law” is about Judge Dredd and this is before the Sly film came out. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” is about John Belushi. I don’t know why they couldn’t spell it Efilnikufecin, but it’s not my song so, okay. If you spell the word backward it spells out “nise f***in life.” I had heard of, but not really listened to “Caught in a Mosh.” I hadn’t ever heard “Indians” even though it’s supposed to be one of their most popular songs. I dunno.
Scott Ian is probably the face of Anthrax and I have always dug him, even if I didn’t know much about the band. Actually, I’ve always known each of the members’ names but didn’t know much about them. But, Scott Ian, listed as only the rhythm player, still sounds like he’s playing leads because of the speed and depth in which he plays. Dan Spitz gets the lead duties and he’s blazing at times. But, it’s more than just speed. There are some melodic riffs in there. Frank Bello has some serious bass tone on this album. I love that he’s not necessarily playing the same things that the guitars are playing. He gets his own time to riff and shred.
All-in-all, I’m happy with the album. I’m glad that song with Public Enemy wasn’t on here. Anywhat! I think the album is a fine example of the thrash/speed metal genre. I have been known to enjoy that genre. It’s not my favorite and it’s not something I can just listen to. I have to be in the mood. Will I listen to this again? Absolutely. Would I listen to it often? Probably not. But, it’s still good. Thank you, Eugene, for the introduction. Do try to catch up soon. Jon, I know you’re back on the road for some traveling. I know you’ll get caught up, eventually.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Why don’t you listen when I try to talk to you? Stop thinking of yourself for just a second, fool. Shut up, shut up, I don’t wanna hear your mouth. Your mother made a monster, now get the hell out of my house.” – “Caught in a Mosh” (Benante/Spitz/Bello/Bellardini/Rosenfeld)