Sunday Old School: New York Giants Of Thrash Metal, Anthrax
Given the news this week that Joey Belladonna would be returning to Anthrax, sparking off another round in the never ending war of words between Joey Belladonna fans and John Bush fans, it seemed like a good time to take a look at New Yorks most popular thrash metal band. Anthrax was formed by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker, taking the name from a biology textbook. A few members came and went before they settled on the lineup of Charlie Benante on drums, Neil Turbin on vocals and guitarist Dan Spitz, prompting Lilker to switch to bass. They recorded their debut album, "Fistful Of Metal" in 1983 and released it in January 1984, achieving some international success when the album reached the top ten in Britain. However, the band fired Lilker soon after the release, replacing him with Benantes nephew, Frank Bello. Neil Turbin would also be released from the group after a while, which led to guitarist Scott Ian handling vocal duties for a short time, though these performances mostly consisted of covers of hardcore songs.
The band would eventually find a new permanent singer in 1985 and released an EP named "Armed And Dangerous" soon after. Later that year, the band released "Spreading The Disease," followed by "Among The Living" in 1987. Both of which garnered much critical acclaim and saw a dramatic change in personality for the band, who had decided to ditch the traditional leather and studs look of such bands as Judas Priest and wear clothing they felt more comfortable such as shorts. The band also introduced a more pop culture influence into their lyrics, writing songs about the comic book Judge Dredd ("I Am The Law"), comic actor John Belushi ("Efilnikufesin") and other movies and books. They followed with another highly praised album called "State Of Euphoria" in 1988, which featured a cover of the song "Antisocial" by French band Trust, earning them a minor hit single in the United Kingdom. They also gained some more mainstream notoriety when they appeared on the hit comedy show, "Married... With Children." They released their final album with Belladonna, "Persistence Of Time" in 1990, which was also well received, before collaborating with legendary rap group Public Enemy in 1991 for the "Bring The Noise" single and tour, which also featured Primus and Ice-T.
Belladonna was replaced by John Bush, who was best known for his work in Armored Saint, a band who had decided to call it a day shortly before Belladonna was fired. With Bush, the band recorded the album, "Sound Of White Noise," which while being well received, saw a departure from their thrash metal sound, owing to the different vocal stylings and a darker songwriting approach, which led to some critics claiming that Anthrax had matured. After the release of the album, Spitz decided to leave the band, effectively leaving Anthrax has a four piece, though they gained some lead guitar help from touring guitarist Paul Crook and Pantera axe man Dimebag Darrel. They released the album, "Stomp 442" in 1995 to a quiet reception, due to the poor promotion from Elektra Records, prompting the band to leave the label. The group had more bad luck in 1998, when shortly after releasing their next album, "Volume 8: The Threat Is Real" on Ignition Records, the label went bankrupt. The band went through a hiatus of sorts over the next five years or so, experiencing legal problems amongst other obstacles but eventually released a new album entitled, "We've Come For You All" in 2003. The album was hailed as a return to form from the band and produced a live DVD/CD from the tour named, "Music Of Mass Destruction" as well as reviving their popularity somewhat. However, in 2005, the band suddenly decided to do a reunion tour with Joey Belladonna, trekking across North America, Europe and Japan.
The first Belladonna reunion finished in 2007 but left the band with the problem of having to find a new singer, as Bush refused to rejoin the band. They announced in December of that year that they had recruited former Devilsize and Me, My Enemy vocalist Dan Nelson as part of the band and proceeded to tour the world for the next year and a half, recording (but not releasing) a new album entitled, "Worship Music" in the process. Nelson was fired under mysterious circumstances in 2009 and the group made sporadic appearances at festival in Europe and Australia with John Bush handling vocal duties. On May 10th 2010, the band shocked fans by announcing that John Bush would not be staying as the permanent singer and instead, they would be touring and recording a new studio album with former vocalist Joey Belladonna.
Anthrax - Metal Thrashing Mad
Anthrax & Public Enemy - Bring The Noise
Anthrax - Fueled
Anthrax - Antisocial
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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