* - Asterisk means I already had a good mp3 copy of this album, but threw up a few words anyway in the name of having an internet-based chronicle of all my legally-purchased, store-bought music
*Anthrax - Fistful of Metal (1984, Megaforce) - This is the record with Neil Turbin on vocals, and he's in a weird in-between area when it comes to downtrodden original vocalists. One one side of the spectrum, there's Al Atkins from Judas Priest, who's all "ha ha, hey guys, those boys sure did well for themselves and I'm alright with that! Have you heard my new CD?" and on the other, there's Paul Dianno from Iron Maiden, who has more of a "graaaargh fuck Bruce Dickinson, I hate Iron Maiden, and I'll kick you all in the nuts right after I finish playing all these old Maiden songs!" thing going on. But Turbin is at least diplomatic enough to admit that he doesn't completely despise modern Joey Belladonna 2.0 Anthrax, but will stop drop a "lol it sounds like he said something about underwear on "Monster at the End," what a bunch of turds." So he's old and bitter, but it hasn't consumed him, making him pretty much like the rest of us.
*Anthrax - Armed & Dangerous EP (1985, Megaforce) - Just gonna make a public service announcement here that if you truly want to hear either this or Fistful of Metal, do not get the version that has them both on one CD, because that version is freakin' garbage. I know you're sick of reading about me blabbering about MP3 bitrates, but it really just sounds like they popped in both CDs, ripped them at 128 or maybe even 96, then used that as the basis for that release. Like it has that weird, kinda swirly sounding distortion you'd get after spending an hour to download something off Kazaa Lite in 2001. Just suck it up and get the two things separately, because you'll be out 15 bucks, and it will bother you.
Anthrax - Spreading the Disease (1985, Island) - Got this CD shortly after the start of my ill-fated college career at Ole Miss, and seeing me purchase and listen to things like this was a big part of why my roommate probably thought I was the devil and ended up moving out after one semester. I think the main thing was that he was just absolutely super into Jesus, like bullish on Jesus to the point of being into all those weird Christian contemporary bands where middle-aged dudes with their hair awkwardly combed forward try to infiltrate the youth. And this is the internet, and I'm sure you're getting ready for me to shit on the dude on religious grounds, but for real, he might have been the nicest human being I've ever met, which kinda makes me feel monstrous now for somehow running him off without even trying to do so. Anyway, if you ever have super nice Christians in your life, try to not to expose them to thrash metal, Clerks, and the WWF Attitude Era, unless you want them to leave.
Anthrax - Among the Living (1987, Island) - When I was a child, there was an incident where my brother was doing some weird nonsense, where he was playing a Michael Jackson record on a little record player and recording it on the little tape player was theoretically to be used with the little Texas Instruments computer that was hooked to a black-and-white TV. Anyway, five-year-old me runs in and starts messing with shit, and he yells "don't you touch anything!" and just smashes me in the head with the tape recorder. I immediately start screaming and crying, culminating in the immortal line "YOU COULD HAVE KILLED ME AND YOU WOULDN'T HAVE ANYBODY TO PLAAAY WITH! (to play with)" Like seriously, the last part wasn't a typo; I mumbled "to play with" again quietly, like a goddamn Insecticon. The tape was running the whole time, and the resulting cassette was used to embarrass me for the next thirty years by both my brother and mother alike. Anyway, at some point in the early 1990s, my brother rigged up his stereo some kind of way, and he made a recording that was the song "Among the Living" with the entire "YOU COULD HAVE KILLED ME" speech looping throughout, and he called it "You Could Have Killed the Living." I'm not entirely sure, but I may actually have that tape (the Anthrax remix, I think my mom has the original unedited tape recorder assault) somewhere around here. So, possible future bonus content, maybe?
Anthrax - State of Euphoria (1988, Island) - Somehow, they convinced Mort Drucker of Mad Magazine fame to do a drawing of the band for this, and when I saw it reproduced within those pages, I decided that Anthrax were pretty much my dudes. Because I couldn't have given a careless whisper of a forgotten popcorn fart about music in any form at that age, outside of "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. and the full discography of the Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew, but Mad Magazine was Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, the Universe, and Everything to me, and I guess it's all worked out well in the end. Also, as long as they continue to print up State of Euphoria shirts with that drawing on the back, I will always have one in my wardrobe.
Anthrax - Persistence of Time (1990, Island) - Again, the year 1990 was more crazy and prolific with awesome things than anyone seems to give it credit for, (Both Rust in Peace AND the search for the 1990 Pro Set Santa Claus card, you guys) and this would be the absolute A Number One Anthrax record, in a world without Among the Living. A weird ting here, though, where my CD is just the regular version everyone has, and as far as I know, there never was a censored "clean" version, but the lyric sheets inside say "my busted truck" in place of the word "clusterfuck," and now, I want someone to make an album that says "motherfucker" constantly, but make a clean version that says "Mister Falcon," in tribute to the TV version of Die Hard. Anyway, I guess this is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps.
Anthrax - Attack of the Killer B's (1991, Island) - For some reason, when I was like eleven, I thought "Startin' Up a Posse" was the craziest, most subversive thing ever, and I'm pretty sure I had convinced myself that this thing (which is a full-length E.P., I guess?) had actually been banned. In real life, it remained plentiful, because even a record where background singers go "cunty-cunty-cunty-cunt" at one point would not be enough to keep "Bring the Noise" out of record stores. The early 90s were such a strange time, because bands like Anthrax and Megadeth were suddenly becoming mainstream huge, bands like Sacred Reich and Prong were all over major labels, and the early stages of grunge were starting to kill off glam rock, and it felt like we were on the verge of the most rockingest time in history, but instead, Kurt Cobain blew his brains out, and all the thrash metal bands that Warner Bros had signed got dropped in favor of stuff like Greenday. We are in the darkest timeline.
Anthrax - The Sound of White Noise (1993, Elektra) - AAAAAH FUCK, I OPENED THE CASE AND THE CD IS GONE, WHAT THE HELLLLLLL, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO
SPECIAL UPDATE: It was inside the case for Paranoid by Black Sabbath for unknown reasons, so I don't have to go to Ebay and look longingly at that two-disk Japanese version, thinking that $25 isn't completely unreasonable, but knowing I'll never pull the trigger. I got this CD in the first place as part of the Original Eleven Christian Cousin CDs, which was cool to happen when it did, because I literally think I had gotten my first CD player like a month earlier and had absolutely nothing except a handful of tapes my brother hadn't taken to college with him and my mom's copy of Nevermind by Nirvana. But this was the start of a crazy time, when Anthrax booted Joey Belladonna and started sounding like a grungy version of Armored Saint, and they just got super huge (by Anthrax standards) and "Black Lodge" would get played on MTV during daylight hours, which was huge for a metal band in those days, and every movie soundtrack was suddenly required to have an Anthrax song. And then, they just fell into a pit of sadness and despair for like a decade, because shit is fickle sometimes. But god dang, this CD was a monster when it came out. I still love Anthrax and all they do with Joey back in the band these days, but I'm still sad/pissed that they act like the John Bush years didn't happen, because I care for this a great deal, and I want like a dozen t-shirts and posters involving this record, even though the cover honestly kind of sucks.
Anthrax - Live: The Island Years (1994, Island) - Man, if ever there was a release that screamed, "these dudes signed somewhere else and still have one record left on their Island Records deal," this is it. A live album with stuff from two different shows, zero apparent band involvement, and a promotional blitz that I'm pretty sure consisted of just asking the Columbia House catalog guy to say something nice. I'm sad that there's no real, official live album from Belladonna's original run, although I'm sure some of those fancy 2CD editions I can't afford of the 80s stuff might cover that by now.
Anthrax - Stomp 442 (1995, Elektra) - Man, this is the beginning of the dark years for Anthrax. Heavy metal was dead as a commercialized genre, their own label wanted nothing to do with them, and they were in that awkward stage where Dan Spitz had quit to go build watches for Jesus, but they refused to name an official replacement, secretly holding out hope that Pantera would break up, so they could make Dimebag Darrell the full-time guy. And this was truly the record where they tried too hard to get all 90s on us, with sort of a vaguely-grungy, weird noise thing happening, but it's still admittedly better than what happened with shit-garbage albums like Load, Risk, or Diabolus in Musica. There's still a lot of good here, and I hold fast to the belief that Anthrax has both never put out a bad album and as a result, is secretly the best band out of the Big Four. Also, "Fueled" was pretty much the unofficial theme song of the year 1997 for me, and ended up on so many mixed tapes.
Anthrax - Volume 8: The Threat is Real! (1998, Ignition) - Welp, this is it, you guys. Anthrax's absolute nadir, their lowest point, studio album-wise. They put out a CD no one liked for a label no one had heard of, which ended up going out of business a week later. They're still using Paul Crook as a full-time lead guitar player, still refusing to let him be an official member of the band, and for some reason, they had killer awesome artwork done, but only used a blurry corner of it for the cover. Thing is, this is actually... Okay? I mean, it's not Among the Living or anything, but I'd go so far as to say I like it slightly more than Stomp 442. (Which I just found out last year is properly said as "four four two," and not "four forty-two," like I had been thinking for 20 years.) The production is kinda wonky, with Scott Ian still worshipping Dimebag Darrell, but being too shy to ask how he tunes his guitars, so they have this awful "BWOMP-BWOMP" sound, and the whole thing is lousy with weird little electronic noises in places that add nothing, but it's good overall, if you can deal with that. Anyway, after Ignition Records died, this became really hard to find and cost a shitload on Ebay, and that was always crazy to me, because I got it for like 14 bucks at Walmart.
Anthrax - Ball of Confusion single (1999, Beyond) - I got this off Ebay when it came out, because the thought of a song (A Temptations cover, even) with John Bush AND Joey Belladonna on it to was too good to pass up, but I wasn't going to buy that Return of the Killer A's best of thing, if I already had every other song on it. And honestly, this isn't very good, and it's probably got a lot to do with Scott Ian's weird guitar sound and overuse of clicks and beeps and buzzes and echoes everywhere. Anthrax's death spiral would then continue as Beyond Music went out of business, just like Ignition did, and that's pretty rough.
Anthrax - We've Come for You All (2003, Sanctuary) - Whoa, holy crap, the enhanced CD part of this works with modern computers, and the two live songs on it look light straight-up bootleg camcorder footage, and that's cooler to me than it should be, probably. But this is finally it, Anthrax's big comeback CD, where they finally stopped being sad pieces shit on failing record labels, and it got great reviews, and everyone who listened to it almost universally loved it, aaaaand still, no one bought it. So somehow, the death spiral continued, with Charlie Benante turning the entire internet against him in the process, by bitching about Americans and their computers and downloads and things. We almost saw them play in Dallas while they were on tour for this, but no one had a functioning vehicle, and it turned out okay, because that Dallas show became infamous for everything going wrong, like I think the P.A. system blew up or something. Oh well.
Anthrax - Music of Mass Destruction CD/DVD (2004, Sanctuary) - Oh hey, it's a live album, and a I remember this being really cool at the time, because Anthrax had always been kinda tight with live stuff for some reason, and no one that couldn't make it to the show knew what John Bush sounded like on Belladonna material. and he does well, you guys. The real story here is the DVD, where bonus behind-the-scenes footage mostly consists of everybody trying to play it cool while Frank Bello just constantly snaps at Rob Caggiano, and not in a playful way, like it's really uncomfortable. Oddly enough, Bello quit the band and joined Helmet not too much later, and Caggiano eventually took off to join Volbeat once he was back in the band. Hmmm.
Anthrax - The Greater of Two Evils (2004, Sanctuary) - I always had mixed feelings about this one. First, they announced a special CD of old 80s songs done in-studio with John Bush, which was something everyone still into Anthrax had always wanted. But then, it turned into a "live in the studio" thing, where it's technically a concert, but for a few dozen fan club types who don't have mics to pick them up between songs. So it's kind of like a weird version of Music of Mass Destruction, but without crowd noise or between-song banter, and a way more 80s-centric setlist. For real, I'd have rather just had them do a straight studio album, but I'm still glad this happened.
Anthrax - Extended Versions (2007 Sony/BMG) - Ahhhh, what the hell, why was this released, it's just the CD from Music of Mass Destruction, but with two fewer songs. Why did I buy this? Why am I putting it on my computer? WHY ARE NONE OF THESE VERSIONS ACTUALLY EXTENDED IN ANY WAY? WHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Anthrax - Worship Music (2011, Megaforce) - Ohhhh shit son, they did it, they done it, they done did it, they put out an album that people both liked AND bought. Turns out, all it took was re-hiring Joey Belladonna, having him quit, bringing back John Bush, replacing him with some new guy and having him quit/get fired, then having John Bush say "screw y'all, I'm not coming back again," and re-re-re-re-hiring Joey Belladonna. Yeah. Also, oddly enough, I'm not that into this one, at least as much as the rest of world was. I mean, "Fight 'Em Till You Can't" is one of the all-time best things they ever did, and there's a kick-ass EP somewhere in all of this, but once "In the End" ends (oddly enough), this just dies a terrible, ghastly death. I literally don't think I've ever heard the song "Revolution Screams," because I never made it that far without shutting it off or going back to the beginning. But yeah, iffy album, all-time classic EP.
*Anthrax - Anthems EP (2013, Megaforce) - Oh hey, it's a covers EP, with mostly 70s Big Guitar Rock kinda stuff like Journey and Boston, and eh, I'm not into this at all, honestly. It's just a little too by-the-numbers and not much different from the originals, and hell, classic rock radio still exists, and the originals are always better in situations like this. Would have been nice if they had put a little more Anthrax on these, I dunno. I managed to get the version with the AC/DC-themed cover, and while I has hoping for Thin Lizzy, (Jailbreak is pretty much the all-time great album cover) at least it wasn't that creepy Cheap Trick one.
Anthrax - Thrash in Texas (2015, Gossip) - This is a weird-ass release, because it's a bootleg release, but it's sold in regular stores, and I'm pretty sure the band themselves hyped it up on the website a little when it dropped. Anyway, this is the concert they did for a radio broadcast in Dallas in 1987 that produced a couple tracks for the I'm the Man EP. The weird thing is that "I'm the Man" isn't even on here, and it's clearly not from the same source as those. This sounds like a decent soundboard-hookup bootleg, as opposed to a professional studio album, and in further plot-thickening, I downloaded an older bootleg of this same show back in the day, (which sounded like hell, possibly recorded from the crowd) and these songs are all out of order, and there are still a few more they left off this CD. Magical mysteries. Maybe someday, they'll find the original tapes and do a legit version of the whole show, but I doubt it. Otherwise, this is nice.
*Anthrax - For All Kings (2016, Megaforce) - Ohhhhhhh shiiiiiiit. This is so goddamn good, y'all. Belladonna 2.0 (or maybe 4.0, I guess) Anthrax finally put out an album that was written with his voice in mind, instead of that Anselmo-worship dude they had for a minute, and this is a nice mix of old-style thrash and that post-thrash groove metal that they got really good at after a decade, and everything works. Also, I think Scott Ian just got wayyyy too into Game of Thrones while writing this, and it's almost like he stumbled ass-backwards into accidentally writing some sort of medieval violence-and-revenge concept album, but I'm kinda worried he might fuck it up if he tried to do that on purpose. Also, I have fully accepted the Skull King Guy as the new Anthrax mascot, just so long as Not Man is never fully abandoned. If they ever make a t-shirt with Not Man in full Skull King dude garb, I'mma buy like thirty of them shits.