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Anthrax

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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 are invariably Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.

Anthrax enjoyed massive success in the 80’s and still commands a strong presence to this day. The group debuted with the raw, Metallica-ish Fistful of Metal (the two bands being early signings to the Megaforce label), but it was the arrival of distinctive vocalist Joey Belladonna that coincided with the band taking off, with albums such as Spreading the Disease and Among the Living being bonafide thrash classics. By the end of the decade, however, relations between Belladonna and the others soured, resulting in his less-than-amicable departure. With new vocalist John Bush (ex-Armored Saint) in tow, Anthrax embarked on the second phase of their career. Despite good albums and Bush’s unquestionable talent, Anthrax's popularity waned somewhat during the nineties, the band still holding on to their large fan base but not at the metal forefront as in years past.

Fast forward to 2005 and lo and behold, a reunion took place, with the Disease-era lineup back in place, Belladonna presumably working out his past differences with the band and former lead guitarist Dan Spitz also welcomed back. Perhaps perceived by some as a short-term gimmick, the rejuvenated Anthrax has been touring steadily and successfully, with possible recording plans for the future.

“We’re still making records, we’re still touring, and we’re still relevant after twenty years,” says guitarist Scott Ian, the only founding member of Anthrax to be with the band throughout their entire career. “Even this reunion, though, is organic. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary as a band; we’re all alive, and we can do this. What better reason is there?”

Anthrax has sold more than ten million records worldwide, been nominated for three Grammy Awards, crossed the globe on more than fifty tours spanning 32 countries on five continents, released ten studio albums, and have left an indelible mark on the music industry. They said rap and metal could never mix, but Anthrax made it happen first, their 1991 collaboration with Public Enemy on the rappers’ “Bring the Noise” toppling social barriers between styles that few thought could co-exist. By the end of the decade, Anthrax could be credited with breaking ground on a whole new genre in the world of hard rock and heavy metal.

Without hesitation, Benante credits his decision to reunite, in a large part, to the recent murder of longtime friend and Anthrax fan and Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell. “When Dime was killed, that really changed the way I thought about things. Dealing with that, having to face mortality, it was a very emotional time… They always say that with the bad comes good — Is it just how life goes, and you’re supposed to meet up with these people again? Does it take a tragedy to bring people back together? I don’t know, but who knows when we’ll have the chance to do this again . . . .”

We started this band as kids, and that’s all I knew,” says Spitz. “A band is the sum of the parts, and every part has its own magic that makes it memorable. Everyone offers something that makes it what it is in the end, and if you substitute any one person, that changes the results. There was a magic with us in Anthrax, and while that collaboration was a mystery at times, it worked . . . . And I just can’t wait to do it again.”

For the past two decades, heavy metal has been the soundtrack to vast creation and mass destruction. And through it all, some things have never changed — Anthrax is still armed and dangerous, and the war dance is brewing . . . .


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