Great Metal Albums of 1984: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal

Normally, when I hear a band’s second album before their first one, I appreciate what a great album the debut was, even if I prefer the second one. That was the case with Twisted Sister, Van Halen and Molly Hatchet for sure. However, there’s always an exception and that comes in the form of Anthrax. My first experience with this band was the second album, “Spreading the Disease,” and you will hear me sing its praises to the heavens. Now, I in no way, shape or form, dislike Anthrax’s debut album, “Fistful of Metal,” it has some great songs which I will elaborate on in a minute. What I do think is that “Spreading the Disease” was a major improvement from this one.

The big improvement comes in the form of the lead singer. While I have nothing against the vocal ability of Neil Turbin, he does some great things on “Fistful of Metal,” it’s just I think Joey Belladonna is a far superior singer. That’s just my opinion. Therefore, I will cease the negative and go for the positive because I have always thought this was a brilliant, in your face, thrash album. In fact, I’ll change my personal history and pretend that I first heard “Fistful of Metal” when it first came out in 1984.

Power chords of Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, combined the shrieks of Neil begin the album in a totally mad metal mayhem. Even though I hadn’t yet heard the term ‘thrash,’ I would have thought that the opening song “Deathrider” comes out and grabs your attention. With the exception of Motorhead, I would have thought it was the most aggressive sound I ever heard back then. Following on immediately after is my favourite song on the album, “Metal Thrashing Mad.” It’s just as thrashy as its predecessor but there is a slight melody to the chorus and I do mean slight. Of all the tracks on the album, this one highlights Neil Turbin’s voice the best.

What I have always liked about the cover of the Alice Cooper classic, “I’m Eighteen,” is the fact that they don’t thrash it up and they pretty much stick to Alice’s formula. Hell, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The next three tracks go back to more mad thrash. It is on the tracks, “Panic” and especially “Subjugator” that I fully hear the brilliant guitar work from Dan Spitz. Also on “Subjugator,” rhythm guitarist Scott Ian has a cool guitar bit on it. It’s certainly the best song of the three and I’ve always questioned why “Soldiers of Metal” was released as a single as there are better tracks to choose from. It still gives you a good mosh. Oops, that word didn’t come out til 1985.

Scott Ian- Anthrax

“Death From Above” is my second favourite song on here. I can’t explain the semantics as to why but I really love this song. Maybe it’s how the song starts with a cool guitar solo from Dan but it just does it for me. The album concludes with “Anthrax,” followed by a very cool instrumental, “Across the River” and probably the best song for the closer, “Howling Furies.” Now there’s a song that lets you know you’ve just had year ears bashed by a cool album.

Track Listing:

  1. Deathrider
  2. Metal Thrashing Mad
  3. I’m Eighteen
  4. Panic
  5. Subjugator
  6. Soldiers of Metal
  7. Death From Above
  8. Anthrax
  9. Across the River
  10. Howling Furies

Anthrax

Neil Turbin- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar

Dan Spitz- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

Looking back at history, I now realize how important “Fistful of Metal” was in establishing Anthrax in the metal world and laying down a foundation for them to go onto to better things. The band is certainly hungry on this album, no doubt. The weird thing is that shortly after the album’s released, Dan Lilker would be forced out of the band by the same two band members whom he’d join up with a year later to make my all time favourite album. Still, that’s something to worry about in the future but if you want a thrashing good mosh, then “Fistful of Metal” is one to have.

Next post: Lee Aaron- Metal Queen

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4 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1984: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal”

  1. Dan Liliker is the man! Love this LP so much, basically punk with a (very) shrill singer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only know later Anthrax, never heard the early stuff. Maybe I should change that. 1537 seems enthused.

    Liked by 1 person

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