Every Anthrax Fan Will Want Band’s New “Disease”

Courtesy: Island Records

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:

Website: http://anthrax.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anthrax

Twitter: http://twitter.com/anthrax

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McDermott Discusses Upcoming Hendrix LP

Bob Merlis/M.f.h./Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

Bob Merlis/M.f.h./Experience Hendrix, LLC/Legacy Recordings

Legacy Recordings will release the brand new Jimi Hendrix rarities album, People, Hell and Angels on Tuesday, March 5th.  The anticipation is building over this upcoming compilation of previously unreleased songs.  Now thanks to musicradar.com writer Joe Bosso, audiences are able to get a glimpse into each song on the new LP.  Bosso—who previously served as editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine and ex VP of A&R at Island Records–sat down with the album’s co-producer John McDermott and let him discuss the story behind each track in depth.  The following is what McDermott had to say about each song.  It comes courtesy of Mr. Bosso.

On 5 March, Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings releases People, Hell And Angels, a new collection of previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix recordings culled from sessions between early 1968 and late ’69, which saw the guitarist assuming the producer role and experimenting with different groups of musicians outside of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio.

“It’s a really exciting and interesting album,” says John McDermott, who co-produced the set with Eddie Kramer and Janie Hendrix. “The idea on Valleys Of Neptune was to show the end of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, and with People, Hell And Angels, we moved the timeline up some. We looked at the remaining material, and the idea was to fill in the portrait as best we could.”

The recordings on People, Hell And Angels feature the first-ever studio session by the Band Of Gypsys, along with the group that Hendrix assembled for Woodstock, and also it showcases collaborations with old friends and new friends. “He was widening the net,” says McDermott. “Once the Experience were no longer going to be an effective recording unit, he got Billy Cox and Buddy Miles, as well as additional percussion and Larry Lee on additional guitar. And there’s a track where his friend Stephen Stills bass. There’s experimentation, but it’s not in a loose, unformed way; Jimi was working with really compelling song structures, and he was playing great, too.”

During this period, Hendrix worked at various facilities – New York’s Record Plant, Hit Factory and Sound Center, along with the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – and with the exception of the track Somewhere, everything was recorded 16-track onto two-inch tape. “They were mainly Scotch tapes, and they were great shape,” says McDermott. “Jimi was fortunate in that he was working at a time before tape got thinner. We didn’t have to do any baking to the recordings. Everything held up beautifully.”

Hendrix’s last official album with the Experience was 1968’s Electric Ladyland, and the tracks on People, Hell And Angels offer fascinating insights as to the musical direction he was entertaining on his planned double album First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. “Jimi was working with friends who shared a common language with him,” says McDermott. “To be able to say to people who knew Elmore James, ‘I want to get an entirely different beat to this. I want to take this somewhere new. Here’s where we’re going’ – that was exciting for him. Everybody fell right in and tore into the music.

“What’s fascinating about Jimi is that one week of his felt like a year for other artists. There was so much creativity and so many possibilities. He was really looking to challenge himself. When he had an idea, he chased it fearlessly.”

Earth Blues


     “This harks back to that first May 1969 session. It was one of the songs that Jimi showcased to Buddy and Billy. While they didn’t get it then, they certainly had an interesting handle on it. When things geared up in December of that year for 

      the Band Of Gypsys shows, this is one of the tracks that was not only in the set, but Jimi recorded it in the studio, as well.


“What’s really interesting about this one is that, unlike the version now on First Rays Of The New Rising Sun and previously on Rainbow Bridge, it shows off the stripped-down funk, without the Ronettes and a lot of the extra guitar things that were overdubbed by Jimi later. It’s a separate take entirely, and he’s got the drum break in it, which is really cool. It’s a different approach.

“There was a shared understanding between Billy and Buddy, and that made it really easy for Jimi to work with them. As great as Noel became as a bassist, I just think that the camaraderie that Jimi and Billy had was special. They worked on material before they got into the studio in ways that Jimi and Noel never did. They got together in hotel rooms or in Jimi’s apartment – they enjoyed playing together. By ’68, ’69, Jimi’s relationship with Noel was more professional.”


“It’s really Jimi and Buddy Miles, and then Stephen Stills joins them on bass, and it starts to come together. It’s a great track with something of a strange history: It was part of the Crash Landing album, but a different take of the song was used on that. To us, this is the version that has all the right pieces. It’s got the original instrumentation and none of the posthumous overdubbing.

“It’s surprising to me that Somewhere was never considered for Electric Ladyland. I don’t know whether that was because Jimi recorded it without Chas Chandler being there to supervise it – that could have been an issue. Like My Friend, it’s a really interesting look at Jimi when he was just starting to step outside the original three-man band.

“Stephen Stills was good friends with Jimi, and he was friends with Buddy, as well, so it was a great mix of personalities. Stephen acquitted himself well on the bass. I think this track was really about Jimi taking advantage of the skills his friends had and tapping into that. Today, it’s nothing to invite your friends to the studio and have them play on a track – people do it all the time, guest starring on cuts and all that. Back then, it didn’t happen so much. The Beatles, The Stones – with rare exceptions, they always kept the core.”


Hear My Train A Comin’


“One of the highlights of the record. It’s Jimi sharing a common language with Billy and Buddy. All three of them did the chitlin’ circuit together. Both this song and Bleeding Heart were right in everybody’s wheelhouse.

“Jimi’s first love was the blues, but unlike his contemporaries – Clapton or Beck or some others – who were covering blues songs that they had heard on records, he was writing new, original blues and taking it to the next level. That’s what this is – a phenomenal take on a song that he had really tried to get right with the Experience, but hadn’t been able to do it to his liking.

“Billy and Buddy understood how to set the tempo. If you listen to this recording, they play it the same way as they did on the Live At The Fillmore East album. They knew intuitively that the song should have a great, menacing groove; it shouldn’t be old-school, old-tempo, four-bar stuff. They wanted it to have a totally different feel, and that’s what makes it exciting.”


Bleeding Heart

“The Elmore James song. Jimi loved Elmore, of course, and he tried this one many different ways: as a 12-bar, slow, extended version with the Experience; as a version that’s on Valleys Of Neptune with Billy Cox and the Cherry People, which is really cool – a totally different vibe. He worked with it a lot.

“What’s so cool about this track is that, prior to cutting it again, he told Buddy and Billy, ‘I want to drive a whole different beat.’ Again, it’s Jimi reinterpreting the blues. Yes, there’s homage there, but he’s putting his imprint on it. He had a way about him in that, when he did a cover, be it All Along The Watchtower, Sgt. Pepper or Like A Rolling Stone, it became a Jimi Hendrix tune. This is a fresh take.” 

Let Me Move You


“Jimi was reaching back to old friends, including Lonnie Youngblood, and he had this idea to take what they used to do, when Jimi was a sideman for Lonnie, and bring it into the future. He was able to be free not only with his guitar part but with the tone and the attack, as well. None of that stuff had to be muted like it was going to be a little R&B recording; instead, it was a Jimi Hendrix recording.

“Given that, I think everybody stepped up. It’s a very exciting, energetic cut. Jimi put everything he had into it. If you compare it to some of the things he had done with Lonnie three years earlier, it’s like night and day.

“Guitar players should take note of him comping the changes. He really understood the value of rhythm guitar; that you really have to connect to an arrangement and bring something to it, not just for a 16-bar solo but throughout the song. He’s all over it.

“It’s really cool to hear Jimi play off Lonnie’s saxophone, and what’s especially interesting is to hear how he can add but not trample.”



“What I love about this version of Izabella is that it showcases the promise of the Woodstock band. I think what Jimi saw in that, and having somebody like Larry Lee, whom he had played with on the chitlin’ circuit, was adding that rhythm guitar and connecting with it. The band had played this song two weeks earlier at Woodstock, and it came off very well. Jimi wanted to cut it in the studio while it was still fresh.

“The solo is just fantastic – absolutely scorching. Eddie Kramer and I heard it in ’95 when we were going through the tape library, and we said, ‘You know what? When the time comes, there will be a place for that.’ It’s amazing.”

Easy Blues

“Easy Blues is a favorite. There was an edited version that came out as part of Nine To The Universe, and we’ve had a lot of requests for the extended track. It really fits here because it’s from the same sessions, and it’s the same instrumentation, the same players. Contextually, we felt that this was the place to showcase the longer extract.

“It’s right in Mitch’s pocket – he plays very, very well on this. The additional percussion, the ability for everybody to add to what Jimi was doing instead of him having to carry the weight all the time – there’s a lot here, and you can hear why Jimi felt that this band had a lot of potential. It’s a shame that it wasn’t able to grow into something, but cuts like this sound great.”

Crash Landing


“Obviously, it was a part of the Crash Landing album. We just felt that anything that had been tinkered with should be heard in its original form. This is what Jimi was actually doing with the players, and it’s really good. There was never any need for any of that overdubbing that had gone on in ’75.

“Anybody who hears this will recognize it as a precursor of Freedom, but it still stands on its own. Jimi’s playing is great, the time signatures are unique, and Billy Cox, in one of his first sessions, is terrific. You can kind of get a sense for some of the things Billy would be doing going forward. He cemented the bottom in a way that Noel didn’t.

“There is a keyboard player on the track – somebody’s on B3 – but we don’t know who it was. They cut it all live. The session was tough for Jimi because he was struggling to get the guy to play what he wanted. A more sympathetic player like Steve Winwood might have been able to take it our further, but this is what Jimi had on this particular day.”

Inside Out


“A cool track. It starts to show the concept of Jimi no longer having to work with the three-man band. Actually, it’s him looking at a really unusual way of recording, where he and Mitch would work without a bass player. Jimi would overdub the bass.

“When you listen to a track as complex as this, that’s almost hard to believe. Mitch wasn’t a straight-ahead kind of drummer like Buddy Miles. While he played in time, he would certainly add a lot of amazing accents and techniques. Yet Jimi was able to pull everything off, and as a bass player he was fabulous.

“He and Eddie Kramer worked on that great Leslie guitar sound. Ezy Rider was such an important riff in his head – he doesn’t yet have it quite together, but here he’s blending it with kind of what he did with Tax Free, and that’s what makes it so interesting.”

Hey Gypsy Boy


“The precursor of Hey Baby from the Rising Sun album. Again, it’s one of Jimi’s first recordings with Buddy Miles. It shows the direction moving out of the Experience, and it would be a key part of Jimi’s set throughout 1970 and, of course, as the great version that’s on First Rays.”

Mojo Man


“A very cool track. It was cut at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, which was the hottest R&B studio at the time, but Jimi, just by making his additions, turned it into something that those guys never could have put together. His whole approach elevates it beyond what was then contemporary R&B.

“The groove of the Fame track – James Booker on piano – is fantastic. There was some amazing talent in the room. But what Jimi brought to it really speaks to what he could do, not only as a guitar player but as a producer, as well.”

Villanova Junction Blues


“The Woodstock version with Band Of Gypsys is so ingrained in people’s minds, but here is Jimi at the very front of it, kind of saying, ‘OK, I’ve got something really great, but I have to develop it.’

“We thought it was a sweet way to bring the record to a close. Like a lot of great songs in the library, it’s one that held a lot of promise, but of course, he wasn’t able to finish it.”

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