Saturday, 7 May 2011

CD Review: Among The Living, by Anthrax (1987)

The third album from thrash metal band Anthrax finds them trolling in the more basic elements of the genre, generally satisfied with combining a couple of cool chords and playing them as fast and as loud as possible for about 5 minutes, and repeating the trick for the next song.

High art Among The Living is not, Anthrax generally incapable of transgressing beyond the elemental thrash building blocks. While always competent and enthusiastic, most of the tracks are energetic and dedicated rather than actually memorable. Charlie Benante's drums are booming and prominent but rarely innovative. Dan Spitz has no shortage of solos, but they hardly ever integrate with sustained melodies or interesting song structures. Joe Belladona shouts out his vocals at the head of a small but noisy street demonstration, deserving of only brief attention.

Perhaps most frustrating are the glimpses of what the band is capable of. Title track and album opener Among The Living is by far the best song on the CD, the band building a much more complex composition and combining their undoubted power with thoughtfulness. Late in the album, One World is incredibly repetitive but for a change also innovative, Anthrax playing with the most simple of melodies and guitar / drum interaction to great effect. Closer Imitation Of Life also brings a sorely lacking tinge of sophistication to the proceedings, Anthrax discovering how much power can be generated when pace is built up from a slow start.

But Among The Living leaves the same impression as the loud, entertaining, slightly obnoxious but rather predictable guests. The evening goes by quickly with plenty of cheap laughs, but when the noise dies down, not much of it is worth remembering.


Joe Belladonna - Vocals
Dan Spitz - Lead Guitar
Scott Ian - Rhythm Guitar
Frank Bello - Bass
Charlie Benante - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Among The Living - 10
2. Caught In A Mosh - 7
3. I Am The Law - 7
4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) - 7
5. A Skeleton In The Closet - 7
6. Indians - 7
7. One World - 8
8. A.D.I. / The Horror Of It All - 7
9. Imitation Of Life - 8

Average: 7.56

Produced by Eddie Kramer and Anthrax.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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