Among the Living
Among the Living is the third studio album by American thrash metal band, Anthrax. It was released on March 22, 1987 by Megaforce Worldwide/Island, and was certified gold by the RIAA on July 31, 1990. The BBC has described the album as "arguably their big breakthrough", and "often cited by fans as their favorite Anthrax album". Drummer and principal songwriter Charlie Benante has referred to Among the Living as Anthrax's "signature album". The album was dedicated to the late Cliff Burton of Metallica who died in a bus accident six months before its release.
|Among the Living|
|Studio album by|
|Released||March 22, 1987|
|Studio||Quadradial Studios, Miami, Florida and Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas|
|Producer||Anthrax, Eddie Kramer, Jon Zazula|
|Singles from Among the Living|
The album was produced by the noteworthy producer and engineer Eddie Kramer. “When Eddie said yes to us, it was a total headfuck," guitarist Scott Ian recalled. "And what was more incredible still was when our record label responded to my throwaway suggestion that we mix it in the Bahamas. I’d only said that because Iron Maiden had worked there.”
"Their manager, Johnny Z, said to me, ‘I’ve got this band, Anthrax. They like the sounds you get – would you like to work with them?’" Kramer explained. "That’s what started it. We went to Florida and took over a small studio for about a month. We also went down to Chris Blackwell’s studio, Compass Point, in the Bahamas, and did some work there. It was a tough record for me; I’d never recorded anything quite like it. I wasn’t sure of what they were looking for initially. And it was a challenge to figure out ways to record heavy guitars with heavy drums – it was just a different process. The guys had a totally different attitude, a totally different way of thinking, and I remember it being contentious during the mixing."
The cover art, by illustrator and painter Don Brautigam, has been the subject of discussion. It was long believed to depict the character Rev. Henry Kane, antagonist from the film Poltergeist II: The Other Side, while others believed it depicted Randall Flagg, the subject of the album's title track and the antagonist from the Stephen King novel The Stand. Drummer Charlie Benante, who conceived the concept for the cover, explained: "It was just about how much evil there is amongst us. I wanted to show just the same type of person on the cover. The same type of people and then, the one person that was sticking out kind of giving you a wave, like a 'hi!'".
"I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd. Numerous characters, settings and story elements from Dredd's fictional universe are referenced in the song's lyrics, the title being the character's catchphrase. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" ("nise fukin life" spelled backwards) is about comedian John Belushi's drug addiction and death. "Indians" and the mosh pit anthem "Caught in a Mosh" are still considered[who?] Anthrax classics today.[when?] "A Skeleton in the Closet" is inspired by the Stephen King novella "Apt Pupil".
This was the final Anthrax album to feature songwriting from original bassist Danny Lilker – who, despite having left after 1984's Fistful of Metal, was credited as cowriter of several Anthrax songs for the next two albums. On Among the Living, he is credited as a cowriter of "I Am the Law" and "Imitation of Life". With Lilker's contributions gone, the album marked the beginning of a new songwriting arrangement that would see the band through their most successful period, with Benante writing the bulk of the music and Ian composing the lyrics.
The album was dedicated to the memory of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, a highly regarded figure in the thrash community, with whom they were friends and label mates at Megaforce Records. Burton was killed in a bus accident while on tour with Metallica in 1986.
On November 10, 2009, a deluxe edition of the album was released that included a bonus concert DVD. The deluxe edition featured alternate takes of several album tracks, live versions and "I Am the Law" B-side "Bud E Luv Bomb And Satan's Lounge Band". During the Metal Alliance 2013 tour, Anthrax played the Among the Living album in its entirety.
- "Among the Living" is based on the Stephen King novel The Stand. "The Walkin Dude" is Randall Flagg, the main villain in the book, and the beginning verse: "Disease! Disease! Spreading the disease!\With some help from Captain Trips\He'll bring the world down to its knees" refers to the virus that destroys most of the population in the novel. The song was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series as a master track.
- The re-recorded version of "Among the Living" from The Greater of Two Evils is used as a background to the movie Clerks II teaser.
- "Caught in a Mosh" is ranked #29 in VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs." A cover version of the song is included in the game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s and the master recording of the song is included in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and in Rock Band 3.
- "I Am the Law" is about the comic book character Judge Dredd.
- "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L)" is about the life of John Belushi. Efilnikufesin is "Nise Fukin Life" ("nice fucking life", phonetically) backward.
- "A Skeleton in the Closet" is based on the Stephen King novella "Apt Pupil" from the collection Different Seasons. The novella has since been made into a movie.
- The A.D.I. in "A.D.I/Horror of It All" stands for Arabic Douche Intro or Arabian Douchebag Intro.
- "Indians" was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series as a master track and is included in the game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
- "Imitation of Life" is a reworked version of the S.O.D. song "Aren't You Hungry?", which was written in 1985. The original version of "Aren't You Hungry" was recorded by M.O.D. on their 1987 album U.S.A for M.O.D., and by S.O.D. themselves on the 1999 album Bigger Than the Devil.
|Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal||8/10|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The New Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Among the Living received widespread acclaim from contemporary and modern critics. It is generally considered the breakthrough album for Anthrax, their best and most influential, which for its merit alone propelled the band among the icons of thrash metal. The band's musicianship and the lyrics dedicated to social issues and pop-culture tributes were universally praised. On Classic Rock magazine Malcolm Dome appreciated the consistent quality of the album and wrote that Anthrax's "musicianship is on par with anything Metallica were doing at the time." J. D. Considine of Rolling Stone wrote that "Benante and his bandmates may have been regular guys in other respects, but as musicians there was no denying the technical agility that went into each aural onslaught". He also remarked how Anthrax strived to be equal to their fans in the mosh pits and "democratized (their) brilliance by attaching it to some of the band’s catchiest, most approachable material."
Greg Moffitt of BBC Music thought Among the Living stroke "a deft balance between marauding speed and judicious use of melody, a juggling feat they’d fumble on later albums." Canadian journalist Martin Popoff had the same opinion about the music and observed how the introduction for the first time of "a punk ethic" in songs like "Caught in a Mosh", "Efilnikufesin" and "One World" started to undermine "the seriousness of the band, something that was soon to cause image problems."
In July 2005, Among the Living was inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame, the sixth album overall to be featured. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2006). In August 2014, Revolver placed the album on its "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own" list. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Among the Living as 20th on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.'
|1.||"Among the Living"||5:16|
|2.||"Caught in a Mosh"||5:00|
|3.||"I Am the Law"||5:57|
|5.||"A Skeleton in the Closet"||5:32|
|8.||"A.D.I./Horror of It All"||7:49|
|9.||"Imitation of Life"||4:22|
|10.||"Indians" (Alternate lead)||Anthrax||5:39|
|11.||"One World" (Alternate take)||Anthrax||5:55|
|12.||"Imitation of Life" (Alternate take)||Anthrax, Danny Lilker||4:26|
|13.||"Bud E Luv Bomb and Satan's Lounge Band"||Anthrax||2:45|
|14.||"I Am the Law" (Live in Dallas)||Anthrax, Danny Lilker||6:03|
|15.||"I'm the Man" (Instrumental)||Joey Belladonna, Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, John Rooney||3:04|
|2.||"Among the Living"|
|3.||"Caught in a Mosh"|
|4.||"Metal Thrashing Mad"|
|5.||"I Am the Law"|
|10.||"Armed and Dangerous"|
|11.||"A.I.R./I'm the Man/A.I.R."|
- Joey Belladonna – lead vocals
- Dan Spitz – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Scott Ian – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Frank Bello – bass, backing vocals
- Charlie Benante – drums
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Songs included in this release include: Caught in a Mosh (Anthrax)
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