Among the Living

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Among the Living
AnthraxAmongTheLiving.jpg
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
(1985)
Among the Living
(1987)
State of Euphoria
(1988)
Singles from Among the Living
  1. "I Am the Law"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Indians"
    Released: 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
BBC Musicfavorable[2]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[4]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[5]

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.[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". The album was dedicated to the late Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident a year earlier. [7]

Album information[edit]

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.”[8]

“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.”[9]

The album features the singles "I Am the Law" and "Indians". A music video for "Indians" received moderate rotation on MTV in the late-1980s thrash metal heyday.

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!'".[7]

"I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd.[10] 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.[11] "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 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 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".[12] During the Metal Alliance 2013 tour, Anthrax played the Among the Living album in its entirety.

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.[13][14]
  • "Caught in a Mosh" is ranked #29 in VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs."[15] A cover version of the song is included in the game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s[16] 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.[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.[17]
  • "Imitation of Life" is a remake of the S.O.D. song "Aren't You Hungry?".

Accolades[edit]

In August 2014, Revolver placed the album on its "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own" list.[18] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[19] In July 2005, Among the Living was inducted into the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame, becoming the sixth album overall to be featured in the Decibel Hall of Fame.[20]

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.TitleLength
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.TitleLength
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

Personnel[edit]

Band members
Production

Charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Position
UK Albums Chart 18[21]
Swedish Albums Chart 43[22]
US Billboard 200 62[23]

References[edit]

  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. ^ Ling, Dave (March 2017). "Live! Anthrax". Classic Rock #233. p. 104.
  9. ^ musicradar.com/news/guitars/production-legend-eddie-kramer-on-11-career-defining-records-589730
  10. ^ "Anthrax's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  11. ^ "Songfacts interview with Charlie Benante by Greg Prato". Songfacts. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c "ANTHRAX's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  13. ^ "ANTHRAX: 'Among The Living' Featured In 'Clerks II' Trailer - Jan. 10, 2006", Blabbermouth.net
  14. ^ Clerks 2 trailers, archived from the original on 2011-09-29, retrieved 2011-10-07
  15. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40-31)". VH1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  16. ^ "Gunner" (2007-08-22). "Guitar Hero Encore - Rocks the 80s". Gameplanet.co.nz. Gameplanet. Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. Songs included in this release include: Caught in a Mosh (Anthrax)
  17. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-06-04). "The Curtain Rises On Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock". Kotaku.com. Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
  18. ^ "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own". Revolver.com. August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  19. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  20. ^ Chase, Jesse. "Anthrax – "Among the Living"". Decibel. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  21. ^ among the living | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company
  22. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Anthrax - Among The Living". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  23. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard.

External links[edit]