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Music / Anthrax

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"Now, 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..."
"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 bandsnote , 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"note .

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). Currently, the band consists of Belladonna, rhythm guitarist and bandleader Scott Ian (1981-present), drummer Charlie Benante (1983-present), bassist Frank Bello (1984-present), and lead guitarist Jon Donais (2013-present)


  • 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)
  • Anthems (2013)
  • For All Kings (2016)


  • Album Title Drop: In "Be All, End All" for State of Euphoria and in "Time" for Persistence of Time.
    • An unusual example on Among the Living, where the title track namechecks the previous album, Spreading the Disease.
  • As Himself: On the Married... with Children episode "My Dinner With Anthrax."
  • Badass Boast: "I'm Alive" from Worship Music is one from Satan.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Went through four lead singers, the most successful being Joey Belladonna, though John Bush has his supporters as well.
  • Band of Relatives: Charlie is Frank's uncle, even though they're only three years apart in age (Frank's mother is Charlie's older sister).
  • Bedlam House: "Madhouse", complete with Laughing Mad, from Spreading the Disease.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": From "Caught in a Mosh":
    "Shut up shut up I don't want to hear your mouth."
  • Bilingual Bonus: Soror Irrumator, loosely translated from Latin, means "Sister Fucker".
  • Bo Diddley Beat: Used during the verses of "Indians"
  • Bounty Hunter: "Lone Justice" from Spreading the Disease.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: According to the band, this was the reason Dan Lilker was asked to leave in 1984. He and earlier vocalist John Connelly would go on to form Nuclear Assault. He would reunite with Scott Ian and Charlie Benante in 1985 to form Stormtroopers of Death.
  • Catchphrase: "NOT!"
  • Christian Rock: After a fashion; Former guitarist Dan Spitz converted to Messianic Judaism when he left the band and only plays this music now.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Now It's Dark," and "Startin' Up a Posse"; "I Am the Law" can be misheard as one.
  • Continuity Nod: The opening words of the opening title track of Among the Living are "Disease! Disease! Spreading the disease," which was the name of their previous album.
  • Cool Car: "Cadillac Rock Box" is a subversion. Despite the title, the song has nothing to do with the Cadillac brand of automobiles but is instead about one of Dimebag Darrell's favorite guitarsnote .
  • Corrupt Church: "Make Me Laugh" from State of Euphoria.
  • Cover Album: two. Anthems, which includes covers of Rush and Thin Lizzy. And also The Greater of Two Evils, which featured the band's 2004 lineup covering their songs from the pre- John Bush era.
  • 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 (both in English from the originals in French), "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, "Parasite", "Watchin' You", "She" 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" and "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy, "Anthem" by Rush, "We're a Happy Family" by The Ramones, "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" by the Beastie Boys, "Ball of Confusion" by The Temptations, and "Exit" by U2. Eclectic indeed.
  • Darker and Edgier: Persistence Of Time, which did away with the cheeky humor and geek culture references of the band's 80's albums for songs about racism ("Keep It In The Family", "H8 Red"), serial killers with tragic personal histories ("In My World") and celebrity degradation ("Discharge").
  • Death from Above: They have a song with same title and theme on Fistful of Metal.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Fistful of Metal is more of a Speed Metal / Traditional Heavy Metal album than the rest of their 80's output, being more melodic riffs and less overt punk influences. It is also the only album to feature Neil Turbin, who sounds completely different from Joey Belladonna, and only album to not feature long time bassist Frank Bello. The whole thing, not unlike Slayer's Show No Mercy, like an American NWOBHM album.
    • The first album with John Bush, Sound Of White Noise, is a bit different from their later Bush-era albums. Its production is rawer, its songs are more brutal, and Bush uses far more multilayered vocals and high pitched screaming than on the following three albums.
  • 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.
      • "Finale" and "Now It's Dark" from State of Euphoria.
      • "Time" from Persistence of Time.
      • For All Kings has "You Gotta Believe", "Breathing Lightning", and "Blood Eagle Wings".
  • Fading into the Next Song:
    • "Intro to Reality" → "Belly of the Beast", as well as "Time" → "Blood" (both examples from Persistence of Time, no less)
    • "Across the River" → "Howling Furies"
    • "Worship (Intro)" → "Earth On Hell" from Worship Music
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: "Howling Furies" from Fistful of Metal.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls - "In the End" on Worship Music begins with ominous-sounding church bells.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Former guitarist Dan Spitz hand-modified his touring amps for extra gain. He eventually left the band to pursue a career as a professional watchmaker, and is today considered one of the best in the world.
  • Grief Song:
    • "Bare" on Stomp 442, written by John Bush after the death of his father.
    • "Pieces" on Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, written and sung by bassist Frank Bello after the death of his brother Anthony.
  • He's Back!: Joey Belladonna, for some of the fanbase.
  • Heavy Meta: "Metal Thrashing Mad," "Panic," "Soldiers of Metal," "Anthrax,"
  • Hidden Track: Volume 8: The Threat Is Real had "Pieces", an unlisted song which follows "Stealing from a Thief". Both songs were eventually separated. We've Come For You All has a hidden track which happens to be some kind of rice (?) shaker being recorded.
  • Horrible History Metal: "The Enemy" from Spreading the Disease is about Adolf Hitler and The Holocaust.
  • Horrible Hollywood: "Imitation Of Life" and "Discharge."
  • "I Am" Song: "I Am the Law," "I'm the Man."
    • Honorable Mention goes to "Keep It In The Family", with a couple of big "I AM"s in the chorus.
  • Instrumentals: "Across the River" from Fistful of Metal, "13" from State of Euphoria, and "Intro to Reality" from Persistence of Time.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Current lead guitarist Jon Donais is more than a decade younger than the other band members, but he's a badass guitar player so the guys love him.
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Admitted by the band in the lyrics of I'm the Man.
  • Lead Bassist: Frank Bello is a Type A and B.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: "H8 Red" from Persistence of Time.
  • Live Album: Several, starting with the compilation The Island Years.
  • Manly Tears: Joey shed some when he heard Sevendust's song "Blackout" for the first time.
  • Mascot: Not Man, pictured above.
  • Medusa: "Medusa" from Spreading the Disease.
  • 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.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The illustration from the "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" single has the band beating the hell out of zombie versions of themselves. Check it out.
  • Noble Savage: "Indians" from Among the Living.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Fistful of Metal and Spreading the Disease
  • NOT!!: "I'm The Man", among a few others.
  • N-Word Privileges: Despite all of the bandmembers being whitenote , the second verse of "Keep It In The Family" has the N-word in it. However, in this case, it's used to sneer at racists who unashamedly call black people that word.
  • Piss-Take Rap: "I'm the Man"
  • Power Ballad: "N.F.B. (Dallabnikufesin)" from Persistence Of Time is a parody of these.
    • "Safe Home" could be considered a legitimate example of one.
  • Protest Song: "Indians," "Keep It in the Family," "H8 Red," "Who Cares Wins", "One World"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Welcome! To! The! BELLY! OF! THE! BEAST!"- almost the entire first half of the song is sung this way. There are several other examples across their career.
  • Rap Metal: "I'm the Man"; "Bring Tha Noize" (with Public Enemy)
    • A few Bush-era songs have traces of this, such as "Superhero" and "Random Acts Of Senseless Violence."
  • Religion Rant Song:
    • "Make Me Laugh" is a Type 3.
    • "Think About An End" is a Type 2.
  • Revolving Door Band: Anthrax has had a lot of trouble keeping a lead singer and a second guitarist. Scott is the only original member left, although Charlie and Frank have been around almost as long (the band was founded in 1981; Charlie joined in 1983, and Frank in early 1984).
  • Rhyming with Itself: N.F.L. rhymes "life" with "life" in the chorus.
  • Sampling: "I'm the Man" samples a scream from the late Sam Kinison, followed by a snippet from Metallica's song "Master of Puppets".
    • The intro and outro for Sound Of White Noise sample “Train Sequence” by Geoffrey Somner and the movie My Girl.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The various "nikufesin" songs.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many. For instance, "Fueled" is an homage to/mentions poet to Charles Bukowski.
    • Scott wears a Fishbone shirt in the video for "Antisocial."
    • "I'm the man! I'm bad! I'm so bad, I should be in detention!" was a line from Rodney Dangerfield's Easy Money.
    • "Hy Pro Glo" is a reference to... a Purina Dog Food commercial. No, seriously!
  • Start My Own: Dan Lilker did this with Brutal Truth.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: On "I'm the Man", drummer Charlie Benante shared lead vocal duties with Scott Ian. Belladonna played the drums on said song.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "I'm the Man" has it happen several times, with the band yelling at each other to get it right. They only get it right in the final verse.
    For a heavy metal band raps a different way
    We like to be different and not cliché
    They say rap and metal can never mix
    Well all of them can suck our...
    ...Sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area!
    No man, it's "dicks!"
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Bare," "Pieces."
  • Sword and Gun: Mentioned in "Armed and Dangerous" from Spreading the Disease.
  • Take That!:
    • 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.
  • Trope Codifier: For East Coast Thrash Metal along with Overkill and Nuclear Assault, which incorporated a strong Hardcore Punk influence, with emphasis on aggression and speed rather than technicality.
  • Vocal Evolution: Joey's voice has really matured with age. Compare Spreading the Disease and Among the Living to Worship Music and For All Kings. YMMV if his voice aged well or if he was better in the early days.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The video for "Inside Out" plays out like the episode "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" from The Twilight Zone (1959).
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" from Worship Music is one of these.
    • The video for "What Doesn't Die" features the band taking on a zombie horde.

...I'm so bad, it's a crime...