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Anthrax – Spreading The Disease (reissue)

Label: Universal
Format: 2-CD
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8.5/ 10

Reissues aren’t always the most fulfilling when it comes to both the remastering (if it is) and bonus content. For the reissue of this classic Anthrax album its rather satisfying. First off, “Spreading” is almost as good as “Among The Living”. What made “Spreading” such an important turning point for Anthrax was two things; a refinement of those catchy riffs, and the addition of Joey Belladonna’s melodic voice which served as both a juxtaposition and compliment to the crunchy guitars and aggressive rhythms.


Along with the often regulars ‘Madhouse’ and ‘Medusa’, I don’t know how and why ‘A.I.R.’ is not in the live setlist more often? Finally, though, it has made its return in 2015. ‘Lone Justice’ and ‘The Enemy’ incorporated more consideration to melody with those guitar leads and chorus’ without losing the crunch and punch of a rhythmic delivery. And, speaking of melody and showing growth in composition, when it first appeared on the E.p. of the same name, with its opening Dioesque epic feel, ‘Armed and Dangerous’ is another which deserves attention live. ‘S.S.C./Stand or Fall’ is just fast enough, the switch in beat and melodic break for the chorus works well, an element they really mastered on “Among The Living”, while ‘Aftershock’ and ‘Gung – Ho’ may be the weakest of the bunch just given their simplistic flat line delivery.

On to the bonus content, Joey Belladonna's 1984 demo recording of the song ‘Medusa’ is of course a rough mix. The eight live songs from their 1987 first concert in Japan at Tokyo's Sun Plaza is from the soundboard and mixed well. You can really hear how Anthrax so early in their career were well rehearsed and tight, and it was cool to get the now never played anymore ‘Howling Furies’ and ‘Soldiers of Metal’ from their debut album. The nine rhythm tracks from the “Spreading The Disease” recordings done in 1984 with no vocals, just drums, guitar, bass are as well enjoyable. ‘Raise Hell’, from the “Armed And Dangerous” E.p. is another grossly underrated gem which needs to get some respect live.

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