25th Anniversary re-release of the debut full-length album + first two EPs, in one set, by legendary American Heavy/Thrash/Speed Metal band.
3 Mini-LP Set contained the first full-length album "Fistful Of Metal" (1984), originally released by Music For Nations, as well as "Soldiers Of Metal" (1983) and "Armed And Dangerous" (1985) EPs, both originally released by Megaforce Records Inc.
Anthrax's first album holds an unusual place in the band's discography, owing to the sound, production, and the distinctive vocal performance. It is simple and amateur in every regard, and is often shelved by fans in favour of their later, more complex works that define the signature Anthrax sound. However, this is far from a generic throwaway, and is in fact a pioneering album of the Thrash movement.
The sound featured is not pure Thrash Metal, instead featuring heavy doses of Speed Metal from the likes of Judas Priest's albums "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders Of The Faith", or Raven's first 3 albums. There are some more mid-tempo tracks on here that take from other members of the NWOBHM, most notably Iron Maiden. The result of this heavy British influence, combined with increased muscle that was inspired from label mate Metallica and Metal Blade's Slayer, is a beefed up version of a characteristically 80's Heavy Metal sound, which proves to be part of this album's charm. It is one of the few instances where sounding dated works in the album's favour.
Despite the NWOBHM leanings, this sound almost nothing like their similarly 80's sounding follow-up "Spreading The Disease", on account of two things, one of which is the production. It is a rather unbalanced mix, that heavily focuses on the low end of the album. Sometimes the bass guitar and the drums drown out the guitars and vocals, which are relegated to fight for 3rd. They aren't inaudible however, and this odd mix actually made this the heaviest album in Anthrax's discography until their 1990 masterpiece "Persistence Of Time". Some songs on here are heavier than what was presented on the masterful debut of Slayer. Yes, there was a time when Anthrax could be heavier than Slayer. Sadly, they were not as aggressive.
The other reason for this album being so distinctive and different to their 1985 sophomore effort is the vocal work of Neil Turbin. His screams are some the most remarkable in the genre, his wails surpass even Joey Belladonna in power and duration and, as "Subjugator" proves, he is capable of some menacing mid-range vocals too.
"Fistful Of Metal" is a classic Speed Metal album, one that should be in the collection of any old school Metalhead. It offers a different perspective on a band that many people consider to be somewhat 'fun' or 'comical'. One has to wonder just how the band would have sounded had they not abandoned this approach. Either way, this is essential for Speed/Thrash fans. Along with "Kill ’Em All", "Show No Mercy", "Heavy Metal Maniac", and many others, it sets the tune for the great Thrash and Speed Metal explosion in the mid '80s. "Fistful Of Metal" is classic among these great albums. No, it’s not the best of them, but it is an excellent piece of Speed/Thrash Metal history, essential not only for the fans of Anthrax, but also for anyone who likes this particular genre, this particular sound, and this particular feeling! The feeling of fast and angry Heavy Metal!!
Special 25th Anniversary Edition 3x 10" Splatter Vinyl in a trifold sleeve.
Megaforce Records, 1983/1984/1985/2009 (MEGA1953). Made in USA.
1. Deathrider 3:12
2. Metal Thrashing Mad 2:42
3. I'm Eighteen 4:07
1. Panic 4:03
2. Subjugator 4:43
3. Soldiers Of Metal 3:00
1. Death From Above 5:10
2. Anthrax 3:29
3. Across The River 1:27
1. Howling Furies 3:55
2. Armed And Dangerous (Studio)* 6:06
1. Raise Hell (Studio)* 4:03
2. God Save The Queen (Studio, Non Lp) 3:02
3. Metal Thrashing Made (Live) 2:51
1. Panic (Live) 3:45
2. Soldiers Of Metal (Collector's Rare Track)** 3:09
3. Howling Furies (Collector's Rare Track)** 4:05
Total playing time: 62:37 min.
* Special pre-released version of these tracks;
** Rare tracks from "Soldiers Of Metal" Ltd. EP (1983).