ANTHRAX — Spreading The Disease (review)

ANTHRAX — Spreading The Disease album cover Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Spreading The Disease" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US heavy/thrash metal act Anthrax. The album was released through Island Records in October 1985. It´s the successor to "Fistful Of Metal" from february 1984. Quite a few things have happened in the 18 months between the two albums. There have been a couple of lineup changes as lead vocalist Neil Turbin has been replaced by Joey Belladonna, and bassist Dan Lilker has been replaced by Frank Bello. Lineup changes which formed what most probably consider the "classic" Anthrax lineup. In addition to that Anthrax also had time to record and release the "Armed and Dangerous" EP in February 1985.

So things moved fast for the band in their early years, and that includes changes to their musical style. While "Spreading The Disease" isn´t a 100% pure thrash metal release, the band have begun the process of moving away from their original raw heavy metal/speed metal style towards a more thrash metal oriented style based on catchy groove laden riffs and rhythms. The most thrashy tracks on the album are probably "A.I.R." and "Gung-Ho" which are the two tracks that bookend the album, while tracks like "The Enemy", "Medusa", and "Lone Justice", lean more towards traditional heavy metal (the former featuring a heavy Iron Maiden influence). So I´d say "Spreading The Disease" is a 50/50 heavy metal/thrash metal release.

The material is generally well written and for the most part instantly catchy. Joey Belladonna is a very versatile vocalist able to sing really high notes when that is called for, but also more rough sounding vocals. Always with a melodic sensibility to his delivery though. The 9 track, 43:46 minutes long album features 8 new original tracks, and "Armed and Dangerous", which had already appeared on the "Armed and Dangerous" EP earlier in the year. It´s a great track though and fits well on "Spreading The Disease", although it stands out a bit with it´s clean guitar intro and slow building structure.

"Spreading The Disease" is packed in an organic and powerful sounding production, and paired with the high level musicianship, and memorable songwriting, it makes for an enjoyable listening experience from start to finish. I still view "Spreading The Disease" as a transitional album though, and there are a couple of more questionable features on the album, which would be weeded out on the next couple of releases, but for what it is a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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