Courtesy: Island Records
Early this week veteran metal act Anthrax announced the name and release date for its upcoming eleventh full-length studio recording. The album, For All Kings will be released Friday, February 26th, 2016. Considering that as of next Sunday, November will be halfway wrapped, it’s safe to say that February 26th is not that far off. While fans wait for the big day, Anthrax is giving audiences a special treat to tide them over. The treat in question is the re-issue of the band’s 182 sophomore album Spreading the Disease. The album will be released Friday, November 20th via Island Records. Whether or not fans already own this classic collection of songs, its new re-issue proves to be a great addition to the music library of any of the band’s fans. The main reason for that is its overall presentation. The band didn’t just phone it in per se and re-issue the original album and call it done. Along with the original album it features a complete concert that spans seventeen songs and runs for a total of an hour and sixteen minutes. This will be discussed at more length shortly. Speaking of the concert, its set list is just as worth mention in the overall experience. Last but not least worth noting is the concert’s audio mix. Considering that the concert was originally recorded in 1984 as part of the band’s tour in support of the then upcoming album, the audio quality in this recording stands well apart from so many other recordings. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather it makes the overall listening experience of this concert all the more interesting. In turn it makes the whole of Spreading The Disease’s re-issue that much more worth the listen among the band’s fans. All things considered, Anthrax’s new re-issue of its seminal 1985 album Spreading the Disease is one of the best of this year’s music re-issues.
Anthrax’s re-issued 1985 sophomore album Spreading the Disease is one of the best of this year’s music re-issues. The central reason for such honor is that it isn’t just another music re-issue. In other words, the band didn’t just simply re-issue the album and call it done. Instead it re-issued the album alongside a complete live performance recorded in 1984 ahead of the album’s original release. On the surface that might not be saying much. But in the grand scheme of things, it is in fact quite important to the record’s presentation here. The album itself was part of the movement of the rock world at the time away from the glam and hair bands that had dominated the rock community for the first half of the decade. Not only that but its brand of thrash separated it clearly from its counterparts on the west coast. It opted for substance instead of just speed and shredding. That is evident throughout the course of the album’s eleven tracks (nine of which come from the album’s original release and two that are bonuses) and forty-eight minute run time beginning with the Metallica style opener ‘A.I.R.’ ‘Medusa,’ ‘Lone Justice,’ and ‘The Enemy’ each exemplify that difference from the west coast thrash sound just as much. And they are not the only examples that could be cited as examples either. The combination of all ten tracks paints a vivid picture not only of Anthrax’s roots but those of so much of today’s thrash metal. In simple terms, it serves not only as a source of musical entertainment but as an important piece of music history, too. And it is just one part of the reissue’s whole that makes the album’s presentation so important. The bonus concert included with the record is just as important to the package’s presentation as the album itself.
The presentation of Spreading the Disease by itself is an important part of this album’s re-issue. It is just one part of what makes the album’s presentation so important to its overall listening experience. The bonus content included with the record’s re-issue is just as important to the package’s presentation as the album. The bonus material in question includes an eight-song performance that was originally recorded in 1987 during a performance by the band at Sun Plaza in Tokyo and nine isolated tracks. The bonus live material boasts songs from both Spreading the Disease and the band’s 1984 debut album Fistful of Steel. That element will be discussed shortly. What is truly important in regards to the concert’s recording is the fact that it displays the band in its younger days. This is especially important considering that front man Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello had joined the band only three years prior to the concert. That means that Spreading The Disease marked the first time that the pair had recorded with Scott Ian and Charlie Benante and at the time of the concert’s recording the group had obviously not been together all that long. Even having not been together but so long one would not know it from the band’s stage presence in the featured live performance. it is just one element of the bonus disc that makes this re-issue such a worthwhile addition to any Anthrax fan’s home music library. The bonus isolated tracks add even more enjoyment to the package’s overall presentation. That is because they give the featured songs (most of which were recorded in the sessions for Spreading the Disease) a whole new identity. They give fans a glimpse into the creative process at the time and in turn make the reissue’s overall listening experience even more interesting for fans. The combination of the live elements and studio elements together makes the reissue’s bonus disc a bonus in both name in content. They still are hardly all that should be noted in regards to the reissue’s overall presentation that makes it enjoyable for fans. The live songs included in the package’s bonus disc are just as important to the package’s presentation.
The overall collected bonus material featured in Spreading the Disease’s bonus disc is important in its own right to the reissue’s overall packaging. And while they are hugely important altogether, both elements in themselves play their own important role. Having noted the importance of the bonus disc’s featured isolated tracks the natural progression is to examine the featured live performance also included in the bonus disc. The live performance included in the bonus disc was originally recorded in 1987, three years after the original release of Spreading the Disease. And of its eight total tracks, five of those tracks were lifted from Spreading The Disease. The remaining three were lifted from the band’s 1984 debut record Fistful of Metal. The live performance paints a clear picture of the band both musically and personally at the time of the concert’s recording. In comparison to the band’s live show today it shows how far the band has come since that recording and how much its members have grown since then.
The set list featured in the live section of Spreading The Disease’s bonus disc is in itself an important portion of the disc and the performance. It is not the only aspect of the performance that should be noted however. The concert’s audio mix is just as important to the whole of the recording as the set list. What makes the audio mix so important is that unlike so many of today’s live recordings this recording’s audio mix sounds raw. It doesn’t have that, re-mastered, spit-shined sound of said recordings. Listeners will actually feel in listening to this performance like they are really there with the people who were there at the show’s original recording. This is obvious in the open, airy sound presented from beginning to end. Anyone that has ever been to a live concert in person knows exactly what that sounds like. It is different from when one hears it on disc. Even with that noticeably truer live sound, the concert still sounds surprisingly impressive. It never sounds like any of the band members are way off in the distance but that they are right up on stage. It makes for a truly interesting experience for audiences. Together with the concert’s featured set list, the performance in whole makes for a wonderful addition to Spreading The Disease’s new re-issue. The concert in whole, coupled with the album’s original presentation (and its bonus tracks), makes Spreading The Disease a great addition to any metal purist’s music library. Of course for all of the positives offered by the reissue’s noted elements one would be remiss to ignore the isolated tracks included in the presentation’s bonus disc. They play just as important of a role in the overall presentation as the album, its bonus tracks, and the bonus live recording included in the bonus disc.
Spreading The Disease’s full album presentation and its bonus tracks give plenty of reason for this re-issue to be added to any metal and rock purist’s home music library. The bonus concert gives those audiences even more reason to purchase this package. That is because it acts–together with the main album and its bonus tracks–as a complete look back at where Anthrax was then versus where it is now as a band. For all of their importance to the whole of this package, one would be remiss to ignore the isolated tracks included in the bonus disc alongside the concert. The isolated tracks add even more interest to said disc. That is because they give the featured songs new identities in whole. They also serve to give a glimpse into the work that went into bringing each song to life. From time to time, viewers get to see and hear behind-the-scenes featurettes on how bands’ albums come into being. The problem is that none of the noted featurettes give the kind of view as these isolated tracks. Rather they are typically short vignettes shot in guerilla style that do little if anything to illustrate the time and effort spent to create said albums. While the isolated tracks presented here are audio-only, they offer quite a bit more than so many of those “making of” featurettes included with so many of today’s albums. That being the case, the tracks featured here are quite the positive addition to Spreading The Disease in its new re-issue. And together with the bonus live recordings, the whole of the bonus disc proves to be a bonus in far more than just name. It is an extra that will not only entertain but enlighten fans regardless of their familiarity with Anthrax and its body of work. Together with the package’s main album and its bonus tracks, the bonus material included with the album makes Anthrax’s Spreading the Disease re-issue one of the best of this year’s music re-issues.
Anthrax’s Spreading The Disease reissue is one of the best of this year’s new music re-issues. That is because it doesn’t more than just present the original album and call it done. Anthrax, together with Island Records, has included a number of bonuses for audiences new and old alike. The main disc presents the original album and also includes a pair of bonus tracks for a total of eleven tracks. Along with the main album, the two have also included a bonus disc that is indeed a bonus in every sense of the word. It features an eight-song set recorded during the band’s 1987 tour of Asia and nine isolated tracks recorded in studio that display in-depth the work put into bringing Spreading the Disease to life. The bonus live set adds its own share of positives to the whole of the presentation. Each of the elements in their own right make Spreading the Disease’s new re-issue well worth the listen by any metal purist and Anthrax fan alike. Together with the package’s main disc the whole of this package makes it one of the best of this year’s crop of music re-issues. Spreading The Disease will be available in stores and online on Friday, November 20th. More information on this upcoming release is available online now along with all the latest updates on the band’s next new album and all of the band’s latest news at:
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