Sound — 8
Spreading the Disease is Anthrax's second studio album, and the first to feature both Joey Belladonna and Frank Bello. Because Belladonna has a slightly more melodic voice than Neil Turbin, the voaclist on their debut Fistful Of Metal, the band also becomes a bit more melodic. Honestly, it sounds like a rougher Iron Maiden. But the style of Anthrax (specifically drummer Charlie Benante and guitarist Scott Ian) is there, from the mid-tempo bridges to the amazing drumming of Charlie Benante.
Lyrics — 8
Belladonna's style, while not radically different from Turbin's, is cleaner, if nothing else. The best way to describe it is a cross between Steve Perry of Journey and Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden. But Belladonna blends well with Anthrax's sound even when his vocals don't follow the guitar. His only weakness is to be on the thrashier songs such as Gung-Ho, where he sounds a little out of place. Keyword being a little; he still sounds good. It's just that the rest of the songs sound effortless (in the good way). Lyrically, the album is quite varied. "Armed and Dangerous" and "Gung-Ho" were both written by former singer Neil Turbin, and "Medusa" has lyrics written by none other than Johny Zazula, founder of Megaforce Records. All of them fare well. Overall though, the lyrics are quite strong, the best being "Lone Justice", a song about an old west vigilante, and AIR. However, I can't help but feel writing about the Holocaust has been done (although if anyone should, it's Ian and Spitz, who are actually Jewish).
Overall Impression — 9
Ultimately, Spreading the Disease is a logical stepping stone one the way to Among the Living, Anthrax's finest album. On Spreading the Disease, they just can't quite seem to fine the perfect blend of hardcore punk, thrash, and Maiden-like melodicness that would be realized two years later with Among the Living. That eing said, it's still a damn fine album. The finest songs on Spreading the Disease are "Lone Justice", "Gung-Ho", and "Aftershock". "Lone Justice" is probably the best performance of the album for bassist Frank Bello. "Gung-Ho" is a straight-forward thrash song about war, propelled by Benante's extremely fast double-bass work. Seriously, this dude is probably one of the most underrated drummers in metal. What makes "Aftershock" good is that Belladonna blends his melodic singing with the thrashier music extremely well. A good album from a great band. At least that's what I think.