Spreading the Disease
Released October 30, 1985
It’s been more than 30 years now, but the second studio recording (released in 1985) from Anthrax is still going remarkably strong. The album featured the debuts of vocalist Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello, and more importantly that familiar bombastic NY thrash sound began to take shape in a big way. Naming your album “Spreading the Disease” is a bold step, and boy do these songs deliver a disease of thrash anthems that still remain a part of the band’s live set to this very day. The song “Madhouse” is an infectious stomper, what with that insane laugh you hear before the song erupts and then Belladonna soars to great heights with his vocals. The band filmed a video for the song, but it got very little airtime in lieu of MTV banning it over believing the content to be degrading to the mentally insane.
The album was also the last time to feature songwriting credits from Neil Turbin (previous vocalist) and Danny Lilker (previous bassist); both contributed to “Armed and Dangerous” and “Gung-Ho”. There’s an even a song credit from producer Jon Zazula on “Medusa”; which was later changed on the reissues as credited to Zazula and the entire band. Regardless of who did what, this release proved the band was headed into the right direction with high octane numbers like “A.I.R.” and “Aftershock”; not to mention the hard hitting thrasher “The Enemy”.
My favorite tracks on this release are: “A.I.R”, “Madhouse”, “Armed and Dangerous” and “Medusa”. I’m giving this a rating of 8 out of 10 and as much as I enjoyed this release I believe they made their career defining album two years later with Among the Living.