301: ANTHRAX

I’ll always have a soft spot for Anthrax. They were basically the first “proper” metal band I got into and, with their more raucous, fun take on thrash, were my gateway into that world and beyond.

Because that’s how I’ve always seen them when it comes to their fellow Big 4 bands – they’re the big dumb fun one. And I don’t mean this as any kind of slight. Anthrax kick ass and have been doing so consistently for 40 fucking years.

As one of originators of speed and thrash metal (and of of the first from the East Coast), Anthrax have influenced countless bands and sold millions of records.

Like a few of their peers in the 90s, alongside some personnel changes, the band started moving towards a more heavy metal and alt metal sound, taking on grunge influences. Armored Saint vocalist John Bush took over frontman duties from Joey Belladonna, and co-wrote a lot of the songs. 1993’s ‘Sound of White Noise’, Anthrax not only embraced the 90s, but they triumphed. Rather than alienating fans, the album was well received and critically celebrated.

In the 2000s, Anthrax reunited with Belladonna and returned with a vengeance to their thrash roots. 2011’s ‘Worship Music’ and 2016’s ‘For All Kings’ are Anthrax at their peak – huge thrash riffs and fist-pumping metal.

Anthrax are one of the greatest thrash metal bands, and for a period in the 90s they were also an incredible alt metal band. Few bands can master two different sounds so brilliantly.

But now they’re back to their roots, and while some of their peers have continuously shifted their sound, Anthrax keeps the thrash flag flying.