Anthrax – Fistful of Metal

So, do yinz* like Anthrax? I hope so because apparently, I fucking love Anthrax, otherwise, why would I have 17 records and CDs from them? So yeah, we’re going to be hanging with this band for a minute here. Fair warning.

When I sat down and started listening to this record, I planned on covering the band’s first two releases, ‘Fistful of Metal’ and the ‘Armed and Dangerous’ EP. The two records have been packaged together for over a decade now and it seemed to make sense to review them together. But I quickly found the write up for the first title was already getting too long and I didn’t want to gloss over ‘Armed and Dangerous’. So, I split the two reviews up.

My story of discovering Anthrax is best told while talking about ‘Among the Living’, so I’m not going to go too far into that right now. The song ‘Madhouse’ from Spreading the disease’ was the first song I heard by them, and ‘Among the Living’ was the first full album I was exposed to. Those titles sort of set the bar for me as far what I expect from Anthrax. Because of that I never bothered with ‘Fistful of Metal’ until nearly two decades after first hearing the band.

Back when I was a little pre-teen country bumpkin, thinking he was a metal head, I had a prejudice when it came with bands that had different singers throughout their career. Usually, it went that if I discovered a band during one vocalist era, I would have no interest in exploring any of that band’s work with any other singer. I’m not sure why that was so, it just was. I discovered AC/DC with Brian Johnson singing, so I didn’t care about the Bon Scott era. Same with Iron Maidens Di’Anno era, or even Black Sabbath’s Dio and Ian Gillian records. For better or worse that’s just how I was. In many cases, I deprived myself of some great records throughout my childhood and teenage years. Oh well, what are gonna do?

So, like I said, because of that silly rule of mine, I would just pass over ‘Fistful of Metal’ anytime I saw it at the record stores. Joey Belladonna was my Anthrax vocalist, so I had no interest in Neil Turbin’s songs. Didn’t even want to hear them.

In fact, I didn’t hear Turbin’s voice until I bought the ‘Armed and Dangerous’ EP a few years later. The label had just re-issued that EP and included the ‘Soldiers of Metal/Howling Furies/’ demo’s the band recorded prior to ‘Fistful of Metal’. I must say I wasn’t impressed with what I heard.

It wasn’t until 2006 or 2007 that I finally heard ‘Fistful of Metal’ when I bought the most recent reissue that included the ‘Armed and Dangerous’ EP. It was around this time that I was buying up as much of the records I grew up with as I could. After seeing Anthrax live in 2003 and picking up the live record from that tour, my love of Anthrax was rekindled and I was snatching up everything from them I could find. It was during this time that the lion share of the 17 titles I own now was purchased. So, to be honest I think I bought the CD just because I wanted to complete the discography and get the Armed and Dangerous songs. More so than a genuine interest in finally listening to ‘Fistful of Metal’.

After finally hearing this record I can say I thought it was a decent record, but I wasn’t blown away by it. If I were to compare it to another debut release by another ‘Big Four Thrash Band’ I’d say it’s closest to Slayer’s ‘Show No Mercy’. A solid record by a young band exploring a new form of music, but not too incredibly original. At this point, Anthrax was still wearing their influences on their sleeves and hadn’t quite found their own sound yet. But you can hear that they had tons of potential, it would take a couple of lineup changes and a shift within the politics of the band before they realized that potential. The success and longevity of the band speak for itself.

So, what does any of this mean? I honestly don’t know. I’ll admit I sort of stumbled around this write-up and I’m not sure if it makes any sense at all. But to conclude this thing I’ll just say if you’re looking to check out some good ole fashion early 80’s thrash metal, ‘Fistful of Metal’ is a fun listen. Though the band went on to write and record much stronger records through the 80’s and 90’s, their debut record is still worth checking out.

 

(For those readers outside of Pittsburgh and have no idea what Yinz means, it’s Pittsburgh dialect for ‘you’. The equivalent of ‘Y’all’.)

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About Dc3 Pratt Productions

My name is Dave and I play at being in the music business. I'm a stagehand, backline tech, musician, songwriter, producer, engineer, videographer, photographer, journalist and graphic artist. In other words, I have a low-level industry job, a few consumer based production programs, a smart phone, a decent computer, and a few other accessories for creating music and video projects and have a basic grasp of how to use all them. I mainly write music reviews of my own record and CD collection, but I occasionally produce some music with horrible videos to go along with them that I post to YouTube, that next to no one watches beside a handful of close friends and family. I've created this sort make-believe record company as a forum to house all of my artistic creations. Mainly so I can direct my friends and family to a single place to check out my stuff if they want. I have no skills or talent in any of these creative endeavors I dabble in but continue to do them anyway. Hopefully, someone will find a use for them, but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

4 responses to “Anthrax – Fistful of Metal”

  1. progbeawr831 says :

    My very first concert was the 1992 Clash of the Titans tour; Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer. Anthrax was touring Persistence of Time Lp and that was my first exposure to the band and after that I was hooked. Bought State of Euphoria on vinyl and then Fistful of Metal. There’s something about 80’s metal bands on vinyl that’s way better than tape or cd. Anthrax was truly one of those bands that HAD to be played on vinyl. AIC was showcasing Facelift, Megadeth- Rust in peace and Slayer- Seasons in the Abyss. Impressive for my 1st ever concert and at 16? Blew my mind beyond anything you can imagine. From that day on I was a card carrying Metalhead. So Anthrax helped forge that bond and of course the next best thing was happening at that time… learning to play guitar!

    Like

    • Dc3 Pratt Productions says :

      I saw that tour! I was about the same age too. All bands were amazing that night, though I must say Anthrax was probably the tightest.
      I first saw Anthrax on the ‘State of Euphoria’ tour opening for Ozzy. Their set was plagued with sound issues and their performance suffered, so I wasn’t expecting much when I saw them in 1992. I was blown away by how amazing they were that night.
      I’m not one to say vinyl is the best format and digital sucks. But I agree with you that sometimes music just seems more enjoyable when you play the record.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dc3 Pratt Productions says :

        The highlight of the Clash of the Titans show I saw was when Slayer hit the stage. It was an outdoor venue and the ground was all gravel and dirt. As soon as Slayer hit the first note of ‘Hell Awaits’ the biggest mosh pit I’d ever seen erupted and a cloud of dust came up and obscured the stage for Slayers entire set. So I didn’t actually “see” Slayer the first time I saw them.

        Like

      • progbeawr831 says :

        Yeah we lost out on Slayer’s full set because Megadeth took almost 30min to set up which was a real pisser cuz it was the Seasons album but I agree, Anthrax has always prided themselves on being tight and with many Progressive Metal elements in a lot of their music they HAVE to be tight and straight out power chords just aren’t flubbed through cuz there’s no room for error! I had a couple of bootleg albums of the Euphoria tour and yeah they got hosed on their sound. Yep vinyl is an acquired taste and a lusting format and when you want it… You want it!

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