An Anthrax Playlist
In a six-year period from March, 1987 to May, 1993, the iconic first-wave New York City thrash outfit Anthrax peeled off a string of six releases that each sold in excess of half a million units in the U.S. Starting with the career-defining breakout album Among the Living, Anthrax’s most successful run rushed by, from the band’s perspective at least, in a blur — much like the breakneck-paced songs that elevated Anthrax to speed metal’s elite alongside Slayer and Megadeth.
While touring behind Among the Living from mid-’87 to early ‘88, the band couldn’t help but notice a steady increase in the size of the crowds. So it was with a sense of great expectation and a sudden self-consciousness of its newfound position that what would come to be known as Anthrax’s classic lineup set out to write and record the follow-up, State of Euphoria. Originally released in September of 1988, a remastered version of the album was released earlier this month via Island/UMe in a deluxe, 30th-anniversary package that includes bonus tracks and an extra disc of rehearsal recordings and rough demos.
In liner notes written for the new edition, drummer Charlie Benante looks back on Anthrax’s swift career ascension as a “whirlwind” that, while certainly thrilling, destabilized the band somewhat. Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian concurs, offering the following in those same liners: “As much as we were living the dream, we were doing a shit-ton of work too, and our life had completely changed because, suddenly, everything’s about the baby. I can say this now, but back then I had no idea what was going on with my life or how drastically things had changed on every level — creatively, financially, work-wise — everything. The problem is that you’re so busy that there’s never time to stop and take a breath or question it.”
Be that as it may, State of Euphoria further propelled the groundswell of support for Anthrax, just as the commercial response to thrash metal began to kick into high gear. Most definitively, just a few weeks before Euphoria hit stores, Metallica’s game-changing …And Justice for All saw release in the immediate wake of Metallica’s historic appearance that summer on the U.S. edition of Monsters of Rock with Van Halen and the Scorpions. Released so close together, the two albums are in a sense tethered to one another in the annals of history, and fittingly enough, Justice gets its own 30th-anniversary reissue, out on November 2nd.
In celebration of State of Euphoria, Rock and Roll Globe presents an Anthrax playlist that spans from 1985 to 1992, the era when the classic lineup of Charlie Benante, Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello, frontman Joey Belladonna, and lead guitarist Dan Spitz was initially active. Once again, this playlist incorporates both well-known and obscure material in an attempt to capture a cross-section of Anthrax’s work and appeal to both hardcore fans and newbies alike. We recommend listening on repeat with the song titles out of view for the element of surprise.
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