Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Why is This a Significant Album?
Among the Living, the studio album by American thrash metal band Anthrax released in 1987 is one of those albums that may not get as much attention these days but it is notable for at least one main reason. That reason has to do with the fact that Anthrax dedicated this album to Cliff Burton after his tragic death in Sweden in 1986. I decided to have a listen to this album because of how much Cliff Burton means to me. I have always heard of Anthrax but this is the very first time listening to any of their albums in 2021 which in and of itself is an interesting development. This album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on July 31, 1990. The album is a thrash metal album that has punk and progressive influences in it and what results from all this is an album that is quite a pleasant listen.
From Yonkers, New York, Anthrax joins prominent bands Prong and Suffocation as other metal bands to be originally from the great state of New York!
The Bass Guitar Play is Excellent
With all the attention that bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Exodus get for their music and fan base, Anthrax is one of those metal bands that may be forgotten by some. One aspect that may be overlooked by some fans about this album is the very solid bass guitar play by Frank Bello.
"Among the Living" Song Only
Among the Living can be considered one of those forgotten gems in heavy metal history along with Flotsam and Jetsam’s Doomsday for the Deceiver released the year before this one. “One World” has that punk and thrash metal influence and is one of those good songs late in this album. One thing that some fans may not notice is that the vocals of Joey Belladonna sound like the vocalist Rob Rock and the album definitely has a sort of angry feel to it. Even though this 3rd album by Anthrax is considered by fans to be their best album it is not as good as a Master of Puppets for instance.
Among the Living: the Songs
So let us get on with the review of this amazing album and we will do it song by song!
- Among the Living – This is the title track of this album and this song is based lyrically on the Stephen King novel The Stand. This first song is good and it is just a warm up of what is to come as the album gets even better soon.
- Caught in a Mosh – This song starts off with a very impressive bass line as the rebellious nature of the song is obvious when it speeds up.
- I Am the Law – This song is lyrically about the comic book character Judge Dredd.
- (N.F.L.) – This song is worded in a rather bizarre kind of way. The song is lyrically about the life of John Belushi. He did live a life of excess and did die from a drug related incident. The song is also trying to say what can happen if you use drugs in excess. Note: for this one, the entire title of the song is not included due to the bizarre spelling of it and the fact that it makes a reference to something that should not be included in the review.
- A Skeleton in the Closet – This is another one of those songs that lyrically is based off of a Stephen King novel. Although the chorus repeats itself this one is one of those stronger songs in the album.
- Indians – This song is about the Native Americans displacement from their lands and their extermination. We should feel sad for what happened to the people that were the original Americans until the Europeans came over to what is now North America. This kind of lyrically themed song has been done so many times that some of us may get tired of hearing songs such as this.
- One World – This one is lyrically trying to say that there is only one world and that we should all not abuse it and instead we should try to take steps to make the world a better place to live. Ignorance can lead to more unpleasant situations.
- A.D.I./Horror of it All – This song starts with a beautiful progressive guitar section as the song lyrically is a tribute to Cliff Burton as you can really tell that Anthrax was really angry about Cliff’s sudden death. It can feel like life is not fair and that it seems like it is too easy to die. This two part song is the strongest moment in this album. Sometimes in life saying goodbye when you lose such a good friend is one of the most horrible things to experience.
- Imitation of Life – This song lyrically is about what happens when we deal with the kinds of people that are these fake, plastic people. These kinds of people are not real friends but they are people that will use you in order to further their own ends.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian