The American heavy metal band known as Anthrax is sometimes confused with the British anarcho-punk band of the same name. However, there is no mistake when it comes to their successful career run ever since they got their start in 1981. From the Queens District of New York City, rhythm guitarist Scott Ian, and bassist Dan Lilker formed what has become one of the pioneering leaders of the thrash metal music genre. The name of the band came from Ian’s inspiration after reading up about the disease known as Anthrax from his school’s biology textbook.
The Big Four
Along with the bands known as Megadeath, Metallica, and Slayer, Anthrax was part of the title “The Big Four” as they catapulted the heavy metal music scene into new heights of popularity and success. They are responsible for the emergence of speed metal and thrash metal, according to Rolling Stone’s magazine. During the 2010 Sonisphere Festival throughout Europe, Anthrax joined Megadeath, Metallica, and Slayer as part of The Big Four. The month of June 2010 saw for the first time, all four bands performing at the exact same concert at the same time at seven Sonicsphere shows. Their Sofia, Bulgaria show was aired broadcast in cinemas and later released as a BlueRay/DVD collection. There were also a few concerts they played together in the US, including their performance at New York’s Yankee Stadium in September 2011.
Throughout the music career of Anthrax, their discography has seen the release of twelve studio albums, 7 live albums, 4 compilation albums, 7 video albums, and 4 Extended Plays (EP). The band received many nominations (and a few wins) for various metal-related music awards over the span of their 40-year career. Despite the level of success Anthrax has achieved, the band’s roster has undergone a revolving door of changes. Founding member, Scott Ian, is the only one that has remained as a constant. In the year 1984, fellow Anthrax founder, Dan Lilker, was kicked out of the band due to the rise of tensions between himself and his fellow band mates.
Many fans of Anthrax will argue their 1988 song (Antisocial), along with the album (State of Euphoria), should see the number one spot. When their most loyal, longtime fans have followed the band’s 40-year career span, most of them are in agreement they preferred their style of music during the “Antisocial era” as opposed to their newer releases. But, going with all the different music charts that recognize and appreciate the genre of metal music, Antisocial only earned a single rank. It peaked at #44 on the UK Top Singles Chart.
9. Got the Time
Coming from their 1990 album (Persistence of Time), the song (Got the Time) climbs to #16 on the UK Top Singles Chart. It is during a time where fans everywhere around the world felt the talent pool coming from the band known as Anthrax was not nearly as appreciated by the music critics, radio stations, and music video giants like MTV. Both the song and its album seem to illustrate that the patience of the band known as Anthrax was finally paying off.
8. I Am the Law
The year is 1987 and Anthrax is boldly making its mark on the music scene, blasting open the doors of the metal music genre to a highly receptive audience. From their album (Among the Living) is the song (I Am the Law). While the US music charts still hadn’t figured out how to chart this style of music, the UK Top Singles Chart had no problem as I Am the Law peaked at #32. With the Dutch MegaCharts it came in 93rd.
The song (Nothing) can be found from Anthrax’s 1996 studio album (Stomp 442) and the 1996 soundtrack (Bordello of Blood) from the show (Tales From the Crypt). It is the only song that found its way on Australia’s ARIA charts, peaking at #51. On the UK Top Singles Chart, it reached #89.
6. Breathing Lightning
The year is 2016 and the album (For All Kings) releases the song (Breathing Lightning), showing the musical talent of Anthrax hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Reaching as high as 38th place on Billboard’s US Mainstream Rock Chart, even long-term fans of Anthrax who typically prefers their earlier music style, agrees Breathing Lightning is among their best.
5. Bring the Noise
Performed with the band known as Public Enemy in 1991, the song (Bring the Noise) from the album (Attack of the Killer B’s) earned the approval of fans that hip hop and thrash metal can work well together, making it a cult favourite for both genres. With New Zealand’s official music chart the song placed 10th while it reached #14 with the UK Top Singles Chart.
4. Black Lodge
The song (Black Lodge) from the 1993 album (Sound of White Noise) is a cult classic among most fans of metal music. Even with the critics, there is a widespread agreement this is one of the best songs Anthrax has released as a single. On Billboard’s US Mainstream Rock Chart, it came in 38th and with the UK Top Singles Chart, 53rd.
3. The Devil You Know
On the 2011 album (Worship Music) comes the song (The Devil You Know), which peaks at #28 on the US Active Rock Chart. On Billboard’s US Mainstream Rock Chart, it reaches #33. With this piece, fans still find themselves in awe of Joey Belladonna’s vocal talent finding that, like wine, he improves with age.
2. I’m Alive
2011’s (Worship Music) album brings forth the song (I’m Alive) and this fan-favourite peaked at #26 on the US Active Rock Chart, and at #29 with Billboard’s US Mainstream Rock Chart. The most common description stemming from fans of Anthrax when it comes to their opinion of this song is “epic” as they explain the guitar riffs really hit home as to how talented this band really is.
From the album (Sound of White Noise), the song (Only) makes its mark in 1993 as the only one that ranked on three different music charts at a worldwide level. On Billboard’s US Mainstream Rock Chart, it peaked at #26. With the UK’s Top Singles Chart, #36, and among the Dutch, #48.