Sound — 10
Here's what you get on this album. High pitched wails, some operatic attempts, fast guitar riffs, and harmonies. From the opening riff of Deathrider you know that you're getting hit with Anthrax's best. Since this album was released in '84, it was still pretty early for thrash metal releases. I think only Laaz Rockit, Slayer, and Metallica had out albums. So for a lot of people this sound was still brand new. Much like the other of the big five's debut (Exodus not so much) it has a high New Wave of British heavy Metal influence. Neil Turbin has a high voice and does lots of screams which lets you know that their style is rooted in the NWOBHM. So again this is probably the best Anthrax album ever, and the only to feature Dan Lilker who would form Nuclear Assault and Neil Turbin who would form Deathriders.) And this album has their best guitar solos, riffs, and harmonies.
Lyrics — 7
This is where the album doesn't do perfect. The lyrics. Neil Turbin sings good enough so that lyrics don't matter. Some of them are silly and sound like they were written by teenagers, but they probably were so give him a break. This is supposedly also why Neil was fired. Unfortunately he never got another chance. But enough with that, even though the lyrics don't always display the poetic mastering of Megadeth's debut, the vocals are executed amazingly. Neil had something special. You can tell it isn't Joey. Joey (2nd anthrax singer) sounds much softer and restrained. More like a power metal singer I've always thought, while Neil sounds like a NWOBHM singer more so. He can screams, sing smoothly, and almost everything in between.
Overall Impression — 8
I think it is only fair to compare this to the other big five debuts. It is not as good as Megadeth's (Killing is my Business... and business is good.), it doesn't beat out Exodus's (Bonded by Blood), but is overwhelms Metallica's (Kill 'em All) by far, and Slayers (Show no Mercy). Actually Slayer ties with Anthrax. The best songs from this album are Deathrider, Panic, Howling Furies (for that kickass harmony), Death From Above, and Subjugator. I don't hate a thing, not even the lyrics. They fit the whole "young band making a debut" vibe, and make it a lot more fun. If it were lost I'd work my ass off to get the $$$ to buy another copy. Buy it, it beats all Anthrax's other albums.