Among the Living

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Among the Living
Studio album by Anthrax
Released March 22, 1987
Recorded 1986
Studio Quadradial Studios, Miami, Florida and Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
Genre Thrash metal
Length 50:13
Label Megaforce, Island
Producer Anthrax, Eddie Kramer, Jon Zazula
Anthrax chronology
Spreading the Disease
Among the Living
State of Euphoria
Singles from Among the Living
  1. "I Am The Law"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Indians"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
BBC Music favorable[2]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 8/10[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[4]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[5]

Among the Living is the third studio album by American thrash metal band, Anthrax. It was released in March 1987 by Megaforce Worldwide/Island, and was certified gold by the RIAA on July 31, 1990.[6] The BBC has described the album as "arguably their big breakthrough", and "often cited by fans as their favorite Anthrax album".[2] Drummer and principal songwriter Charlie Benante has referred to Among the Living as Anthrax's "signature album".[7]

Album information[edit]

Among the Living was produced by the noteworthy producer and engineer Eddie Kramer. The album features the singles, "I Am the Law" and "Indians". A music video produced for "Indians" received moderate rotation on MTV in the late-1980s thrash metal heyday.

The album's cover art, produced by illustrator and painter Don Brautigam, has been the subject of some 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 the character 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, denies this, claiming "It (the cover art) 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!'".[7]

The song "I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd.[8] Numerous characters, settings and story elements from Dredd's fictional universe are referenced in the song's lyrics. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" ("nise fukin life" spelled backwards) is about comedian John Belushi's drug addiction and death.[9] "Indians" and the mosh pit anthem "Caught in a Mosh" are still considered Anthrax classics today. "A Skeleton in the Closet" is inspired by the Stephen King novella "Apt Pupil".

This was the final Anthrax album to feature songwriting contributions from original bassist Danny Lilker, who, despite having left the band after 1984's Fistful of Metal, was credited as the co-writer of several Anthrax songs for the next two albums. On Among the Living, he is credited as the co-writer of the songs "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 guitarist Scott 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 on tour with Metallica in 1986 while Anthrax was recording the album.

On November 10, 2009, a deluxe edition of the album was released which 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".[10] During the Metal Alliance 2013 tour, Anthrax played the Among the Living album in its entirety.

In August 2014, Revolver placed the album on its "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own" list.[11]

Song information[edit]

  • "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.[12][13]
  • "Caught in a Mosh" is ranked #29 in VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs."[14] A cover version of the song is included in the game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s[15] 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. It 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.[citation needed]
  • "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.[16]
  • "Imitation of Life" is a remake, of the S.O.D. song "Aren't You Hungry?".

Track listings[edit]

All tracks written by Anthrax except "I Am the Law" and "Imitation of Life" by Anthrax and Danny Lilker.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Among the Living" 5:16
2. "Caught in a Mosh" 5:00
3. "I Am the Law" 5:57
4. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" 4:54
5. "A Skeleton in the Closet" 5:32
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Indians" 5:40
7. "One World" 5:56
8. "A.D.I./Horror of It All" 7:49
9. "Imitation of Life" 4:22


Band members


Chart (1987) Position
UK Albums Chart 18[17]
Swedish Albums Chart 43[18]
US Billboard 200 62[19]


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Anthrax: Among the Living". AllMusic. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Moffitt, Greg (February 8, 2010). "Anthrax: Among the Living". BBC Music. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2006. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 20. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  6. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum Search Results". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  7. ^ a b "...And Justice For Art: Anthrax's "Among The Living" - An Intriguing Painting for a Thrash Metal Masterpiece". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  8. ^ "Anthrax's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  9. ^ "Songfacts interview with Charlie Benante by Greg Prato". Songfacts. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c "ANTHRAX's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  11. ^ "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own". August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ "ANTHRAX: 'Among The Living' Featured In 'Clerks II' Trailer - Jan. 10, 2006", 
  13. ^ Clerks 2 trailers 
  14. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40-31)". VH1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  15. ^ "Gunner" (2007-08-22). "Guitar Hero Encore - Rocks the 80s". Gameplanet. Retrieved 2008-01-26. Songs included in this release include: Caught in a Mosh (Anthrax) 
  16. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-06-04). "The Curtain Rises On Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  17. ^ among the living | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company
  18. ^ " - Anthrax - Among The Living". Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  19. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard. 

External links[edit]