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Armed and Dangerous

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Album Review

Before they started incorporating hardcore punk and rap into their thrash sound, Anthrax pumped out Iron Maiden-inspired metal that only hinted at their future. With the album split between vocalists Neil Turbin and Joey Belladonna, one can see why the latter got to keep his job. Turbin's high-register yelp is an acquired taste, lacking the emphasis that the material needs. He can hit the notes, but he lacks the presence that would make Belladonna more effective. Luckily, he is only present on the last two tracks, which were not originally on the album but made it onto the CD release. Belladonna's clear wail would be more suited to power metal à la Helloween, but it was his voice that also differentiated Anthrax from their thrash contemporaries. This is his first recorded appearance, and he displays more personality and range on his five songs than most of his post-1986 output. Giving the cover of "God Save the Queen" a sarcastic snarl, unleashing his banshee wail on the title track, making the remakes of "Metal Thrashing Mad" and "Panic" twice as good: these are the reasons why he was the obvious choice for their '80s material. It would be years before the band's direction clashed with Belladonna's abilities, but here they found the perfect singer for what they were doing at the time. It may not be their best work, and they may have even started the annoying trend of heavy metal Sex Pistols covers, but Armed and Dangerous was the first sign that the band was going to be one of the major forces in the emerging speed metal scene.

Biography

Formed: June, 1981 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Nearly as much as Metallica or Megadeth, Anthrax were responsible for the emergence of speed and thrash metal. Combining the speed and fury of hardcore punk with the prominent guitars and vocals of heavy metal, they helped create a new subgenre of heavy metal on their early albums. Original guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Spitz were a formidable pair, spitting out lightning-fast riffs and solos that never seemed masturbatory. Unlike Metallica or Megadeth, they had the good sense to temper their often...
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