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Review of the Album "Fistful of Metal" by Anthrax

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


People Should Pay Attention to This Album

Fistful of Metal is the 1984 debut album by American speed and thrash metal band Anthrax and it is one of those albums that may either be underrated, forgotten or just ignored because of all the attention that the band’s next two albums after this one receive. Listening to Fistful of Metal for the very first time in its entirety, I was impressed and somewhat in awe of the raw guitar riffs, high vocal screams, and just overall impressive songwriting.

Musical Style of "Fistful of Metal"

The album has a cover performance of the song “I’m Eighteen” originally performed by Alice Cooper. This debut from these New Yorkers isn’t 100% thrash metal because it has that New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence in it. It sounds like Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance or even Defenders of the Faith in terms of the style and even a little bit of early Mercyful Fate. For the style of this album, Neil Turbin was the correct person to provide lead vocals to match the raw power of the riffs.

Brief Commentary and Analysis About the Songs

“Panic” is a song in which the middle section sounds like Iron Maiden. It is pretty easy to notice the NWOBHM influence if you are an experienced listener. Sometimes some people will do whatever they can to make love happen even if the road to that love is one filled with pain and hardship. Initially, I am convinced that this debut by Anthrax may be the one album that I like the most. Such a sentiment will be met with criticism because of the popularity of albums such as Among the Living. The riffing of the song “Death from Above” largely is similar to the Mercyful Fate song “The Oath” so there is that 1980s black metal and or rock influence in this song. This album came out at a time when the sounds, style, and guitar sounds resembled a more raw kind of sound and this album fit well with the times. Neil Turban probably isn’t as good a vocalist as Joey Belladonna but for this debut his vocal style fits with the musical style as well. There was no need for Anthrax to mess with a formula that was clearly working. “Subjugator” with its 1984 style structure sounds like an earlier version of what we would hear in 1990 on the Painkiller album.

Final Thoughts About a Very Underrated Album by New York State's Anthrax

In spite of the mixed reception that this album gets, as of 2022 this is my favorite album from Anthrax. It is because the music with its raw thrash metal and punk vibe really clicks into place. This is a quality that I didn’t really notice with the albums that would come after this one. This debut album may not be as well-known as the albums that came after it but the bottom line is that this is very much a metal album filled with raw guitar power, good vocals for the time period, a cover song written by a famous rock star and just enough variation to keep you interested. Expanding further on this aspect, songs such as “Across the River” sound like an early Iron Maiden song because of the style so you can think about “Ides of March” for a general idea of how this instrumental song sounds. The album ends with the song “Howling Furies” and this one sounds like a later version of the song “Charlotte the Harlot.”

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.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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