Rock-Critic Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Anthrax’s Back Catalog?


Get ready to be caught in a proverbial mosh, New York, because The Big 4 of thrash–that’s Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax–are coming to Yankee Stadium, and tickets go on sale this morning! To all you non-headbanging SOTC readers, this event is essentially as important to metalheads as LCD Soundsystem breaking up during an Arcade Fire show while Fleet Foxes make s’mores for everyone. Plus its location means a generation of metal nerds like ourselves will finally make it to second base (boom!). We decided to see if our trusty panel of rock critics shares our excitement and asked 15 music writers:

Can you name the four Anthrax albums that feature Joey Belladonna on vocals?

This should be as easy as picking food from your goatee. Belladonna is back after a decade-plus hiatus and we couldn’t be happier. The Belladonna-era records were a perfect storm of gung-ho riffs and comic book dorkery–plus dudes had way better rhythms than Metallica ever had (lets just see you try do that Scott Ian skip dance to “Nothing Else Matters,” sucker).

We once again cobbled a consortium of 15 professional and semi-professional rock critics, all given the usual rules:

1. I will not identify you AT ALL, so it is OK to be wrong. [We will say that our esteemed panel edits magazines, websites, and alt-weeklies. They have written for pretty much every outlet you’ve ever heard of, from Rolling Stone to Spin to Billboard.]

2. You can’t use Google.

Correct answer and results below. We bet everyone’s gonna do real well on this… NOT!

The correct answer: Spreading The Disease (1985), Among The Living (1987), State Of Euphoria (1988), Persistence Of Time (1990)

Out of 15 polled:
Number of critics that answered correctly and got all four: 2
Number of critics that knew between one and three: 5
Number of critics who couldn’t get any: 8
Most correctly answered album: Among The Living
Most unguessed album: State Of Euphoria
Number of critics who guessed the John Bush-era Sound Of White Noise: 3
Some wrong answers: Violence Is Violence, Among The Dead, State Of Something, Something With the Word ‘Fist’ In It
Some excuses for not knowing this shit: “Cali metal doesn’t do much for me” [They’re from Queens!–Ed.]; “I never skated”; “I’m not a metal guy”; “I never took them seriously for some reason, I think mostly having to do with Scott Ian’s facial hair”; “This question is hard and sucks.”
Number of critics whose moms are in a book club with Scott Ian’s stepmom: 1

Well, looks like us nerds can’t properly respect one of New York’s greatest treasures–but in our defense Anthrax did name all four of these albums [word] [of/the] [noun], so hopefully they can forgive us for not being up on their particular game of heavy metal Mad Libs. Here’s a quick primer on Among The Living–recently touted by Revolver as the band’s “masterpiece.” Among The Living injected a more jovial spirit into the apocalyptic churn of thrash–adding more bouncing rhythms, songs about the Judge Dredd comic and Stephen King’s The Stand, and (of course) those colorful little skateboard shorts. When the band christened the first American Big 4 show in Indio–the biggest show they ever played–they opened with track 2, so we wouldn’t be shocked if Yankee Stadium gets a killer reprise. Props to early adopter Scott Ian for rocking the Public Enemy shirt back in ’87.