In this post we will try to rank all Anthrax studio albums from worst to best. The emphasis is on try, because, personally, I love all Anthrax albums. I can listen to them in random order and repeat for days without stopping. Hence, this is a very difficult task for me. Please keep in mind that this list needs to be understood as completely subjective as there is no accounting for taste.
My take on the discography:
I started listening to Anthrax at a relatively young age in the 1980’s. A friend gave me a copied 90-minute cassette that had Alice Cooper’s Trash album on Side A and Anthrax’s Fistful of Metal on Side B. I listened to them both interchangeably until the tape wore off. I loved Fistful of Metal, and still do. The speed combined with the simple but clever melodies just blew me away. Death Rider, Metal Thrashing Mad, Soldiers of Metal, and the Alice Cooper cover I’m Eighteen became all instant classics to me. Discovering Fistful of Metal was definitely an enlightening experience.
My next Anthrax album was State of Euphoria. I bought it on vinyl in a second-hand shop and it became the wake-up-call music in my early days of junior high. I had a stereo with a wake-up function and it played that album for months. The riffs and melodies to Be All, End All and Out of Sight, Out of Mind are burned in my consciousness, and I think that is a good thing. Even though State of Euphoria is not ranked too high in my Anthrax Studio Album Ranking, it occupies a special place in my metal heart. I find it to be easy to listening to and I love every song on it. The cover of Antisocial is, of course, a heavy metal classic.
At some point I understood that Anthrax was a class act and my metal friends supplied the missing Anthrax albums to me, Spreading the Disease, Among the Living, and Persistence of Time. Also, I got my first Anthrax t-shirt: a vintage Judge Dredd shirt. But, for whatever silly reason, I only kept listening to Fistful of Metal and State of Euphoria and disregarded the other albums until much later.
It was the year 1993, and it wasn’t until Sound of White Noise came out that Anthrax became one of my favourite metal bands. John Bush brought something new to the band that I found very appealing. Songs such as Only, Room for One More, and Black Lodge still sounded like Anthrax but with a new, overhauled flavour. That album spun in high frequency in my CD player.
The subsequent albums, Stomp 442 and Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, didn’t move me much when they came out in the 90s. It is hard to quantify it. The albums were good, but albums from other bands seemed better back then.
But, no wait, BUT! The year 2003 marked a milestone in heavy metal history: Anthrax released We’ve Come for You All. I clearly remember buying the CD without having heard any of the songs on it and thinking, ‘Is this one going to be the deserved sequel to Sound of White Noise?’ and boy it was. In that moment, it actually topped everything. The album simply blew me away, just as Fistful of Metal did 15 years earlier. Songs like What Doesn’t Die, Refuse To Be Denied, Safe Home, Nobody Knows Anything, and Taking The Music Back rekindled my Anthrax fire and I went back to dig out their entire catalog. Now, I started understanding the beauty of the 80s albums that I had never really gotten into: Spreading the Disease with its somehow witty and smart songs, Among the Living with its iconic masterpieces, and Persistence of Time with its heavy darkness.
And then, after a handful of years where everything seemed to go well for Anthrax – and for us as fans -, a new uncertainty arose with the band parting ways with John Bush. However, when it was announced that Joey Belladonna would come back, I was very intrigued. And the result, Worship Music catapulted Anthrax to #1 in my rock bands ranking. That album moved me in ways I haven’t experienced in decades. Maybe it was nostalgia, or simply the greatness of songs such as I’m Alive, In The End, and The Devil You Know, hard to say. Because of its energy, raw power, emotions, and subtle nuances, Worship Music is an unattained heavy metal masterpiece.
And then came Anthrax’s For All Kings, a very worthy sequel to Worship Music. Breathing Lightning, Blood Eagle Wings, and the title track make the album seem more polished than its predecessor. Hence, leading the way to Metal Olympus. Here, Anthrax Studio Albums ranked «Worst To Best»:
This is my ranking. Very subjective and it considers longitudinal history. How would you rank Anthrax’s catalog?