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Classic Review: Anthrax - Spreading the Disease
Spreading the Disease

Label: Universal Music
Year released: 1985
Duration: 43:40
Tracks: 9
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: February 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
Spreading the Disease

Rated 4.31/5 (86.25%) (48 Votes)

When looking at the defining moment of Anthrax's career, one has to point to the year 1985. The year, in which Spreading the Disease was released, marked the arrival of vocalist Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello. Being from New York, they had developed their own sound which differed from the Thrash bands of the Bay Area. Whereas those Thrash bands focused on speed, Anthrax's focus was on catchiness and hooks.

This was very evident on this release. Although armed with very fast songs, the thing that you remember the most from this album is Belladonna's voice. Yes this guy is extremely good, going on with the high notes without breaking a sweat. He also has a great sense of melody given the fact that his vocal lines will stick on your head; for my money this is the best Thrash Metal vocalist ever. The rest of the band doesn't take the back seat either. Scott Ian delivers riffs from hell, giving the songs the necessary punch. Newcomer Frank Bello shines throughout the album, his bass is very audible and it sounds awesome. Dan Spitz delivers blistering leads that fits the songs like a glove rather than wow you with his technical ability. Charlie Benante's drums are superb - he may not be Dave Lombardo but on this album he laid the foundation for the Speed/Thrash genre.

But what stands out in Spreading the Disease are not the musicians but the collection of songs that are present on the album. Having a chock-full of energy, Anthrax delivers a Thrash clinic from the first note of "A.I.R." to the last note of "Gung-Ho"; after 45 minutes you'll have severe neck pain. Production-wise this gets the job done, not too slick but not too raw either and for this band the sound is just perfect.

With its high energy and conviction in the members' performances, Spreading the Disease is by far the best album Anthrax has ever done. This records sets off an important mark in the history of Thrash Metal, making them a part of the "big four" of Thrash Metal. And after listening to this gem, you feel ashamed for what they have become. But that should not tarnish the legacy of this album, a classic in every sense.

Other related information on the site
Review: Anthrax/Testament Live in Worcester (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Worship Music (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with bassist Frank Bello on December 30, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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