Spreading the Disease

Spreading the Disease is the second studio album by the American thrash metal band Anthrax, released on October 30, 1985 by Megaforce Records and Island Records. It was the band's first album to feature vocalist Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello. A special two-disc edition of the album was released in 2015, celebrating its 30th anniversary.[1]

Spreading the Disease
Spreading The Disease.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 30, 1985
StudioPyramid Sound Studios, Ithaca, New York
GenreThrash metal
LabelMegaforce, Island
ProducerCarl Canedy, Anthrax, Jon Zazula
Anthrax chronology
Fistful of Metal
Spreading the Disease
Among the Living
Singles from Spreading the Disease
  1. "Madhouse"
    Released: October 7, 1985

Background and writingEdit

After Anthrax finished touring in support of Fistful of Metal, vocalist Neil Turbin was expelled from the band. Matt Fallon replaced him, but was quickly fired because he lacked confidence in the studio. Producer Carl Canedy suggested the group to audition Joey Belladonna, who was not familiar with thrash metal. Though the band members were not pleased with Belladonna's musical background, they hired him and booked a few shows with their new frontman.[2] Spreading the Disease was recorded at the Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, New York with Canedy, while Jon Zazula served as executive producer. The album featured the single "Madhouse", for which a music video was produced, but it did not receive much airplay on MTV, because the station believed the content was degrading to the mentally insane. Spreading the Disease was the band's major label debut and was released by Megaforce / Island Records.

This was the last Anthrax album to feature songwriting from Turbin. This was also the first to feature songwriting from bassist Dan Lilker after his departure from the band, though more of his songwriting would be featured on the following album, Among the Living. Turbin wrote the lyrics for "Armed and Dangerous" and "Gung-Ho", and Lilker contributed to the music. Zazula was given songwriting credit for "Medusa", his only contribution for Anthrax. Zazula was originally credited as the sole writer of the song, but album reissues credit the rest of the band as well. Additionally former vocalist Matt Fallon who left during the recording sessions claimed in a 2016 interview that he contributed to the lyrics but was left uncredited.[3][4] The band has not commented on these accusations.

After recording the album was completed, guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante and Lilker, who had joined Nuclear Assault, founded the Stormtroopers of Death and recorded the album Speak English or Die, a milestone in crossover thrash. In his autobiography, I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax (2014: 91), Scott Ian said the acronym in the song "A.I.R." stands for "Adolescence in Red" and that it was a wordplay of his on George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal10/10[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [7]
Kerrang!     [8]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide     [9]
Record Collector     [10]
Rock Hard9.5/10[11]

Spreading the Disease was released on October 30, 1985 and received widespread acclaim by music critics. In a contemporary review, Howard Johnson of the British magazine Kerrang! recommended the album as the best example of thrash metal around and equaled Anthrax to Metallica in the craft of writing great songs.[8]

Modern reviews are also very positive. AllMusic's Steve Huey said the album was a great leap forward from its predecessor and one of Anthrax finest. He praised the lyrics for paying tribute to fictional characters as in "Lone Justice" and "Medusa".[5] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff calls the album "a shocking blast of noise from a long-haired bunch of punks that knew their own business", praising the "deceptively chaotic songcraft" and Belladonna's vocals.[6] Also Sputnikmusic's Mike Stagno liked Belladonna's vocals, as well as the tight riffs of guitarists Ian and Spitz. Stagno said Spreading the Disease had excellent sound and production and recommended the album for fans of thrash metal.[12] Frank Trojan of Rock Hard wrote that Spreading the Disease had more potential and intelligence than Fistful of Metal, as well as more differentiated songs.[11] British author Joel McIver described Spreading the Disease as " the sound of pure determination, at a point in metal history where boundaries were being pushed every day."[10]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Anthrax except where noted.

Side one
2."Lone Justice"4:36
4."S.S.C./Stand or Fall"4:08
5."The Enemy"5:25
Side two
6."Aftershock"  4:28
7."Armed and Dangerous"Neil TurbinTurbin, Scott Ian, Danny Lilker5:43
8."Medusa"Jon Zazula 4:44
9."Gung-Ho"TurbinTurbin, Ian, Lilker4:34
30th Anniversary Edition disc 1 bonus track
10."Medusa" (Joey Belladonna demo) 
30th Anniversary Edition disc 2 tracks
1."A.I.R." (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
2."Metal Thrashing Mad" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
3."The Enemy" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
4."Madhouse" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
5."Howling Furies" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
6."Armed And Dangerous" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
7."Gung-Ho" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
8."Soldiers of Metal" (Live at Sun Plaza, Tokyo 1987) 
9."Lone Justice" (Rhythm track) 
10."Gung-Ho" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
11."Metal Thrashing Mad" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
12."Raise Hell" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
13."Stand or Fall" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
14."Aftershock" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
15."Armed And Dangerous" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
16."Madhouse" (Rhythm track, 1984) 
17."The Enemy" (Rhythm track, 1984) 


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[13]



  1. ^ "Anthrax: 30th-Anniversary Edition Of 'Spreading The Disease' Detailed". Blabbermouth.net. October 19, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon. "31 Years Ago: Anthrax Start 'Spreading the Disease". Loudwire. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  3. ^ "Matt Fallon of Fallon (ex-Skid Row and Anthrax) Interview – Sleaze Roxx".
  4. ^ "Former ANTHRAX Singer MATT FALLON Says He 'Never Received Any Credit' For Lyrics He Wrote". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. February 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Anthrax: Spreading the Disease". AllMusic. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2006. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Howard (November 1, 1985). "Germ Warfare". Kerrang!. Vol. 106. London, UK: Morgan Grampian. p. 21.
  9. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 20. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ a b McIver, Joel (December 2015). "Anthrax — Spreading The Disease: Special Anniversary Edition". Record Collector. No. 448. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  11. ^ a b Trojan, Frank (1985). "Review Album: Anthrax — Spreading The Disease". Rock Hard (in German). No. 15. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  12. ^ a b Stagno, Mike (October 26, 2006). "Anthrax: Spreading the Disease". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  13. ^ Spreading the Disease liner notes. Megaforce Records. 1985.

External linksEdit