"We're Anthrax and we take no shit And we don't care for writing hits The sound you hear is what we like I'll steal your pop tarts like I stole your Socks! No man what's the matter with you? I'll get it the next time, I mean it..."
— "I'm the Man"
One of the Big Four of Thrash Metal (alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer), the New York City-based Anthrax was formed in 1981.Unlike the aforementioned bands (Megadeth to a lesser extent than the other two), Anthrax are known for having a sense of humor in their music - they stood out by recording quite a few songs inspired by movies and comics, and their brightly-coloured surfer appearance. They also discuss social issues in their songs ("Indians", "Who Cares Wins", etc.)They are also one of the first metal bands to incorporate rap in their songs ("I'm The Man"), and Public Enemy joined them to do perform a new version of their hit single, "Bring the Noise".Anthrax went through four lead singers throughout their entire career: Neil Turbin (1982-1984), Joey Belladonna (1985-1992 and 2010-present), John Bush (1992-2004), and Dan Nelson (2007-2010).
Fistful of Metal (1984)
Spreading the Disease (1985)
Among the Living (1987)
State of Euphoria (1988)
Persistence of Time (1990)
Sound of White Noise (1993)
Stomp 442 (1995)
Volume 8: The Threat Is Real (1998)
We've Come for You All (2003)
Worship Music (2011)
"Metal Troping Mad!":
Album Title Drop: In "Be All, End All" for State of Euphoria and in "Time" for Persistence of Time
Cover Version: Anthrax has covered "I'm Eighteen" by Alice Cooper, "God Save the Queen" and "Friggin' in the Riggin'" by Sex Pistols, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" by Black Sabbath, "Antisocial" and "Sects" by Trust, "Parasite", "Watchin' You" and "Love Her All I Can" by Kiss, "Pipeline" by The Chantays, "Got the Time" by Joe Jackson, "Protest and Survive" by Discharge, "Remember Tomorrow" by Iron Maiden, "Dethroned Emperor" by Celtic Frost, "No Time This Time" and "Next to You" by The Police, "Celebrated Summer" by Hüsker Dü, "Phantom Lord" by Metallica, "The Bends" by Radiohead, "Snap / I'd Rather Be Sleeping" by D.R.I., "Cowboy Song" by Thin Lizzy, "We're a Happy Family" by The Ramones, "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" by the Beastie Boys and "Exit" by U2.
Death from Above: They have a song with same title and theme on Fistful of Metal.
Epic Rocking: "A.D.I./Horror of it All", "Who Cares Wins", "Blood", "Keep it in Family" and "This is Not an Exit".
"Poison My Eyes" is an underrated example.
Ahem..."ONE.FUCKING.WORLD" from Among the Living, as well as "Finale" and "Now It's Dark" from State of Euphoria. And "Time" from Persistence of Time.
Filk Song: Among the Living has "I Am the Law", which is based on Judge Dredd and the album's title-track and "A Skeleton in the Closet" are based on Stephen King's The Stand and Apt Pupil. Scott Ian's love of Stephen King goes further with "The Gunslinger" and "Misery Loves Company." Additionally, while Safe Home is about New York post 9-11, it draws comparisons to The Dark Tower series ("My whole world has moved on"). Around the time of Sound of White Noise, Scott mentioned in interviews that he'd become aware of his tendency to write "book report songs" and was trying not to do it so much. Additionally, drummer Charlie Benante (who writes most of the music), wrote "Black Lodge" after being inspired by Angelo Badamlanti's score of Twin Peaks. David Lynch then came on board to direct the video.
Speaking of David Lynch, "Now It's Dark" (from State of Euphoria) is about Frank Booth from Blue Velvet.
And in a nod that loops right back round to Celebrity Paradox, in one story Dredd busts an underground metal venue where the DJ is playing an un-named Anthrax song. Snatches of the song lyrics appear throughout the strip, and it's pretty obviously "I Am The Law". Leaning on the Fourth Wall, indeed.
Instrumentals: "Across the River" from Fistful of Metal, "13" from State of Euphoria, and "Intro to Reality" from Persistence of Time.
Irony: The band's song "Starting Up A Posse" criticises censorship and says the band will never be censored. A censored version of the album it's on (Attack Of The Killer B's) was released, but with the song removed.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Fistful of Metal and Spreading the Disease are seven, but occasionally border on eight. Among the Living and State of Euphoria are at an eight. Persistence of Time is 8, but actually borders on 9 sometimes. Their John Bush albums are usually in the 6 to 8 range, with a couple of songs (such as "Black Lodge") being a 5 and "Bare" being about a 3. Their newest release, Worship Music, mostly stays in the 8 range.
Money, Dear Boy: Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian responded to fancharges that they were "selling out" when they chose John Bush as their new lead singer and with their more mainstream sounding album Sound of White Noise by saying "The bottom line is, everyone in this business is in it to make money. Myself included."
The Napoleon: Neil Turbin, apparently, if what Dan Lilker said about why Turbin fired him (Turbin apparently didn't like the fact that he towered over him) was true.
New Sound Album: State of Euphoria in the late 80's derived from the early Speed Metal sound and the band went straight Thrash for change of the decade. Sound of White Noise introduced the band's 90's sound.
Self-Backing Vocalist: Averted. Anthrax is the only band of the Big Four where the other band members regularly provide the backing vocals. Scott Ian does the lead rapping on "I'm The Man" and the last two verses on "Bring The Noise".
Self Plagiarism: Scott Ian recycled the introduction and main riff to "Imitation of Life" for the reworking/cover of M.O.D.'s "Aren't You Hungry" for the Stormtroopers of Death album Bigger Than the Devil.
A nuclear-level, Cluster F-Bomb-laden one to the PMRC in "Startin' Up a Posse".
In the early 1990s, MTV released a so-called Rebel Pack, which was essentially an apparel kit comprising of a 'rebel' T-shirt, 'rebel' cap and so on. Anthrax's response to that was the song Packaged Rebellion.
A playful one at Faith No More in I'm The Man 91 ("All you new jacks/What is it?/We're getting mad/Get off our dicks"), basically calling them out for getting big with the song Epic mixing rap and rock when they'd already done it with the original I'm the Man. Scott Ian has said though that FNM is one of his favorite bands.
Too Soon: It was rumored that they would change their name following the 2001 anthrax attacks, but eventually nothing happened... and they showed up at the anthrax attack benefit concert wearing this.
Though it all may have been a joke from the get-go, considering the name they said they would change to ("Basket Full of Puppies")...
Vocal Evolution: Joey's voice has really matured with age. Compare Spreading the Disease and Among the Living to Worsip Music and Anthems. YMMV if his voice matured well or if he was better in the early days.