This article deals with the American band called Anthrax. For the British band of the same name see: Anthrax (Anarcho-punk band)
Anthrax is a New York City-based heavy metal rock group, who released their first full-length album in 1984. Anthrax was one of the most popular bands from the thrash metal scene in the '80s, and possibly the biggest band to come out of the East Coast thrash scene. The "big-four" of thrash metal invariably includes Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
They have made several appearances on television shows such as Married with Children and NewsRadio and have appeared in movies such as Run Ronnie Ron (performing as the fictional band Titannica) and Calendar Girls.
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Anthrax was formed by guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Dan Lilker and vocalist Neil Turbin in the early '80s. After signing with Megaforce Records, they released their first full-length album, Fistful of Metal in 1984. It was an inauspicuous debut for a band that would soon rise to the forefront of the thrash metal scene. By 1985 when Anthrax released their first classic album, Spreading the Disease, their lineup had solidified into cohesive unit. The additions of vocalist Joey Belladonna, and bassist Frank Bello brought a much improved sound to band.
Almost immediately Anthrax morphed from a stereo-typical Judas Priest knock-off to the thrash metal style that would garner them so much fame. Mixing equal doses of punk and speed metal along with a generous dose of humor quickly shot them to the fore front of the burgeoning thrash movement. While the other major thrash bands, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, were deadly serious, Anthrax wrote songs about comic books and Stephen King novels. Because of this Anthrax appealed to a more general audience even if they were never quite as popular as their contemporaries.
Anthrax was always a band prone to experimentation, and in 1991 they collaborated with pioneering rap artists Public Enemy on a joint version of PE's Bring The Noise. While Run-DMC had worked with Aerosmith back in 1986, Bring The Noise is widely regarded as the very first Rap Rock hybrid as this was the first time a Rock band had fully incorporated Rap into a song. Bring The Noise was a hit and the band had a successful joint tour with Public Enemy. Within a few years bands such as Rage Against The Machine, Korn, Limp Bizkit and a host of others had picked up the Rap/Rock or Rap/Metal mantle and gone on to various degrees of success.
In 1992 Anthrax parted ways with vocalist Joey Belladonna and replaced him with ex-Armored Saint vocalist John Bush. The band jumped ship from Island Records to Electra Records and released Sound of White Noise on the label in 1993. Bush was a more "serious" sounding vocalist and Sound of White Noise was well received by most of the band's audience. Unfortunately the musical landscape of the early '90s was changing drastically; Alternative Rock was the rage, and metal was no longer being pushed by the music industry.
In 1995 the band released Stomp 442 an album which Electra refused to provide real promotion for, and it quickly disappeared without a trace. Obviously upset at what they felt was an attempt by the label to kill the album, Anthrax attempted to sever ties with Electra. During the hiatus long time guitarist Dan Spitz left the band, leaving Anthrax reeling.
Anthrax signed with a small independent label, and in 1998 managed to release Vol.-8 The Threat Is Real, a punishing album which had the potential to return Anthrax to the top of the metal heap. Unfortunately, almost immediately after Volume 8's release, the independent label they were signed to went bankrupt and disappeared, making the album extremely difficult to find. Regrouping the band signed with another label and released a greatest hits album although that label soon went out of business as well. During this time period a two vocalist tour featuring both Joey Belladonna and John Bush was proposed and set to go, until Belladonna decided to pull out at the last minute.
Despite these hardships and various legal entanglements regarding who had the rights to certain albums, Anthrax managed to soldier on. In 2002 new guitarist Rob Caggiano joined the band and the following year the band released We've Come For You All, an album hailed by the metal press as a long awaited return to form. In early 2004 the band returned to the studio to record Greater of Two Evils, a rerecording of the band's early work with the then current lineup.
Scott Ian is currently engaged to Meat Loaf's daughter Pearl Aday.
On 1st April 2005 the Anthrax website announced that the Among The Living line-up of Scott Ian, Charlie Benate, Dan Spitz, Joey Belladonna and Frank Bello would be reforming. At this time it is unclear whether John Bush and Rob Caggiano have left the band and whether the "classic" lineup is permenant or just a touring opportunity. Scott Ian released a statement saying that John and Rob are not officially gone, but the press release announcing the reunion of the "classic" lineup seems to provide evidence to the contrary.
- 1984 Fistful of Metal
- 1985 Armed and Dangerous (EP)
- 1985 Spreading the Disease
- 1986 Fistful of Anthrax (live)
- 1987 Among The Living
- 1987 I'm the Man (EP)
- 1988 State of Euphoria
- 1989 Penikufesin (EP, only released in Europe)
- 1990 Persistence of Time
- 1991 Attack of the Killer B's
- 1993 Sound of White Noise
- 1994 The Island Years (live)
- 1995 Stomp 442
- 1998 Vol.-8 The Threat Is Real
- 1999 Return of the Killer A's (compilation)
- 2001 Madhouse – The Very Best of Anthrax (compilation)
- 2003 We've Come for You All
- 2004 Music of Mass Destruction (CD/DVD set)
- 2004 Greater of Two Evils
- Scott Ian, rhythm guitar
- Charlie Benante, drums, guitar
- Joey Belladonna, lead vocals
- Frank Bello, bass
- Dan Spitz, lead guitar
- Paul Crook, lead guitar (touring guitarist only; never an "official" member of the band)
- Greg D'Angelo, drums
- Dan Lilker, bass
- Joey Vera, bass (touring bassist only)
- Neil Turbin, lead vocals
- John Bush, lead vocals
- Rob Caggiano lead guitar
It is unclear whether John Bush and Rob Caggiano have left the band permanently or if they are on temporary hiatus during the reunion tour.
During the terrorist-related anthrax outbreak in the United States in 2001, the band altered their Website to provide information about the disease because many people had come there simply by entering anthrax.com in their Web browsers. Amid what could have become a PR nightmare for the band, they issued a press release on October 10, 2001 that jokingly mentioned that they were going to change the name of the band to "something more friendly, like 'Basket Full of Puppies.'"
http://www.anthrax.com/ – official site