Among the Living

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Among the Living
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 22, 1987
StudioQuadradial Studios, Miami, Florida and Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
GenreThrash metal
LabelMegaforce, Island
ProducerAnthrax, Eddie Kramer, Jon Zazula
Anthrax chronology
Spreading the Disease
Among the Living
State of Euphoria
Singles from Among the Living
  1. "I Am the Law"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Indians"
    Released: 1987

Among the Living is the third studio album by American thrash metal band, Anthrax. It was released on March 22, 1987 by Megaforce Worldwide/Island, and was certified gold by the RIAA on July 31, 1990.[1] The BBC has described the album as "arguably their big breakthrough", and "often cited by fans as their favorite Anthrax album".[2] Drummer and principal songwriter Charlie Benante has referred to Among the Living as Anthrax's "signature album". The album was dedicated to the late Cliff Burton of Metallica who died in a bus accident six months before its release.[3]

Album information[edit]

The album was produced by the noteworthy producer and engineer Eddie Kramer. “When Eddie said yes to us, it was a total headfuck," guitarist Scott Ian recalled. "And what was more incredible still was when our record label responded to my throwaway suggestion that we mix it in the Bahamas. I’d only said that because Iron Maiden had worked there.”[4]

"Their manager, Johnny Z, said to me, ‘I’ve got this band, Anthrax. They like the sounds you get – would you like to work with them?’" Kramer explained. "That’s what started it. We went to Florida and took over a small studio for about a month. We also went down to Chris Blackwell’s studio, Compass Point, in the Bahamas, and did some work there. It was a tough record for me; I’d never recorded anything quite like it. I wasn’t sure of what they were looking for initially. And it was a challenge to figure out ways to record heavy guitars with heavy drums – it was just a different process. The guys had a totally different attitude, a totally different way of thinking, and I remember it being contentious during the mixing."[5]

The album features the singles "I Am the Law" and "Indians". A music video for "Indians" received moderate rotation on MTV in the late-1980s thrash metal heyday.

The cover art, by illustrator and painter Don Brautigam, has been the subject of discussion. It was long believed to depict the character Rev. Henry Kane, antagonist from the film Poltergeist II: The Other Side, while others believed it depicted Randall Flagg, the subject of the album's title track and the antagonist from the Stephen King novel The Stand. Drummer Charlie Benante, who conceived the concept for the cover, explained: "It was just about how much evil there is amongst us. I wanted to show just the same type of person on the cover. The same type of people and then, the one person that was sticking out kind of giving you a wave, like a 'hi!'".[3]

"I Am the Law" is a tribute to comic book hero Judge Dredd.[6] Numerous characters, settings and story elements from Dredd's fictional universe are referenced in the song's lyrics, the title being the character's catchphrase. "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" ("nise fukin life" spelled backwards) is about comedian John Belushi's drug addiction and death.[7] "Indians" and the mosh pit anthem "Caught in a Mosh" are still considered[who?] Anthrax classics today.[when?] "A Skeleton in the Closet" is inspired by the Stephen King novella "Apt Pupil".

This was the final Anthrax album to feature songwriting from original bassist Danny Lilker – who, despite having left after 1984's Fistful of Metal, was credited as cowriter of several Anthrax songs for the next two albums. On Among the Living, he is credited as a cowriter of "I Am the Law" and "Imitation of Life". With Lilker's contributions gone, the album marked the beginning of a new songwriting arrangement that would see the band through their most successful period, with Benante writing the bulk of the music and Ian composing the lyrics.

The album was dedicated to the memory of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, a highly regarded figure in the thrash community, with whom they were friends and label mates at Megaforce Records. Burton was killed in a bus accident while on tour with Metallica in 1986.

On November 10, 2009, a deluxe edition of the album was released that included a bonus concert DVD. The deluxe edition featured alternate takes of several album tracks, live versions and "I Am the Law" B-side "Bud E Luv Bomb And Satan's Lounge Band".[8] During the Metal Alliance 2013 tour, Anthrax played the Among the Living album in its entirety.

Song information[edit]

  • "Among the Living" is based on the Stephen King novel The Stand. "The Walkin Dude" is Randall Flagg, the main villain in the book, and the beginning verse: "Disease! Disease! Spreading the disease!\With some help from Captain Trips\He'll bring the world down to its knees" refers to the virus that destroys most of the population in the novel. The song was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series as a master track.
  • The re-recorded version of "Among the Living" from The Greater of Two Evils is used as a background to the movie Clerks II teaser.[9][10]
  • "Caught in a Mosh" is ranked #29 in VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs."[11] A cover version of the song is included in the game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s[12] and the master recording of the song is included in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits and in Rock Band 3.
  • "I Am the Law" is about the comic book character Judge Dredd.
  • "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L)" is about the life of John Belushi. Efilnikufesin is "Nise Fukin Life" ("nice fucking life", phonetically) backward.
  • "A Skeleton in the Closet" is based on the Stephen King novella "Apt Pupil" from the collection Different Seasons. The novella has since been made into a movie.
  • The A.D.I. in "A.D.I/Horror of It All" stands for Arabic Douche Intro or Arabian Douchebag Intro.[citation needed]
  • "Indians" was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series as a master track and is included in the game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.[13]
  • "Imitation of Life" is a reworked version of the S.O.D. song "Aren't You Hungry?", which was written in 1985. The original version of "Aren't You Hungry" was recorded by M.O.D. on their 1987 album U.S.A for M.O.D., and by S.O.D. themselves on the 1999 album Bigger Than the Devil.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[14]
BBC Musicfavorable[2]
Classic Rock8/10 stars[15]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[16]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[17]
Metal Storm10/10[18]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[19]
Rock Hard9.5/10[20]

Among the Living received widespread acclaim from contemporary and modern critics. It is generally considered the breakthrough album for Anthrax, their best and most influential,[2][14][21] which for its merit alone propelled the band among the icons of thrash metal.[15][17][22] The band's musicianship and the lyrics dedicated to social issues and pop-culture tributes were universally praised.[15][18] On Classic Rock magazine Malcolm Dome appreciated the consistent quality of the album and wrote that Anthrax's "musicianship is on par with anything Metallica were doing at the time."[15] J. D. Considine of Rolling Stone wrote that "Benante and his bandmates may have been regular guys in other respects, but as musicians there was no denying the technical agility that went into each aural onslaught". He also remarked how Anthrax strived to be equal to their fans in the mosh pits and "democratized (their) brilliance by attaching it to some of the band’s catchiest, most approachable material."[22]

Greg Moffitt of BBC Music thought Among the Living stroke "a deft balance between marauding speed and judicious use of melody, a juggling feat they’d fumble on later albums."[2] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff had the same opinion about the music and observed how the introduction for the first time of "a punk ethic" in songs like "Caught in a Mosh", "Efilnikufesin" and "One World" started to undermine "the seriousness of the band, something that was soon to cause image problems."[16]


In July 2005, Among the Living was inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame, the sixth album overall to be featured.[23] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2006).[24] In August 2014, Revolver placed the album on its "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own" list.[25] In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Among the Living as 20th on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.'[22]

Track listings[edit]

All tracks are written by Anthrax except "I Am the Law" and "Imitation of Life" by Anthrax and Danny Lilker.

Side one
1."Among the Living"5:16
2."Caught in a Mosh"5:00
3."I Am the Law"5:57
4."Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)"4:54
5."A Skeleton in the Closet"5:32
Side two
7."One World"5:56
8."A.D.I./Horror of It All"7:49
9."Imitation of Life"4:22
2009 Deluxe Edition bonus tracks[8]
10."Indians" (Alternate lead)Anthrax5:39
11."One World" (Alternate take)Anthrax5:55
12."Imitation of Life" (Alternate take)Anthrax, Danny Lilker4:26
13."Bud E Luv Bomb and Satan's Lounge Band"Anthrax2:45
14."I Am the Law" (Live in Dallas)Anthrax, Danny Lilker6:03
15."I'm the Man" (Instrumental)Joey Belladonna, Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, John Rooney3:04
2009 Deluxe Edition Disc 2: "Oidivnikufesin (N.F.V.)" DVD. Recorded live in London, England, November 16, 1987[8]
2."Among the Living" 
3."Caught in a Mosh" 
4."Metal Thrashing Mad" 
5."I Am the Law" 
9."Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" 
10."Armed and Dangerous" 
11."A.I.R./I'm the Man/A.I.R." 
12."Gung Ho" 






Country Organization Year Sales
U.S. RIAA 1990 Gold (500,000)[1]


  1. ^ a b "RIAA - Gold & Platinum: Anthrax". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  2. ^ a b c d Moffitt, Greg (February 8, 2010). "Anthrax: Among the Living". BBC Music. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Martos Garcia, Ramon (August 9, 2012). "...And Justice For Art: Anthrax's "Among The Living" - An Intriguing Painting for a Thrash Metal Masterpiece". Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  4. ^ Ling, Dave (March 2017). "Live! Anthrax". Classic Rock. No. 233. p. 104.
  5. ^ Bosso, Joe (December 12, 2013). "Production legend Eddie Kramer on 11 career-defining records". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  6. ^ "Anthrax's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  7. ^ "Songfacts interview with Charlie Benante by Greg Prato". Songfacts. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "ANTHRAX's 'Among The Living' Digitally Remastered And Expanded For CD+DVD Deluxe Edition". Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  9. ^ "ANTHRAX: 'Among The Living' Featured In 'Clerks II' Trailer - Jan. 10, 2006",
  10. ^ Clerks 2 trailers, archived from the original on 2011-09-29, retrieved 2011-10-07
  11. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40-31)". VH1. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  12. ^ "Gunner" (2007-08-22). "Guitar Hero Encore - Rocks the 80s". Gameplanet. Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-01-26. Songs included in this release include: Caught in a Mosh (Anthrax)
  13. ^ Fahey, Mike (2010-06-04). "The Curtain Rises On Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
  14. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Anthrax: Among the Living". AllMusic. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d Dome, Malcolm (March 2010). "Anthrax - Reissues". Classic Rock. No. 142. p. 92.
  16. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  17. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2010. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  18. ^ a b "Anthrax - Among the Living staff review". Metal Storm. April 18, 2004. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 20. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  20. ^ Trojan, Frank (1987). "Review Album: Anthrax — Among the Living". Rock Hard (in German). No. 21. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  21. ^ a b "Anthrax: Among the Living staff review". Sputnikmusic. October 8, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  22. ^ a b c Considine, J. D. (June 21, 2017). "The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time: Anthrax, 'Among the Living' (1987)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  23. ^ Bennett, J. (July 1, 2005). "Anthrax - "Among the Living"". Decibel. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  24. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. p. 563. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  25. ^ "14 Thrash Albums You Need to Own". August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1961: A > Anthrax". Sisältää hitin / Timo Pennanen. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  27. ^ a b c "Anthrax Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Anthrax - Among the Living (Album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  29. ^ "Album – Anthrax, Among the Living". (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Anthrax - Among the Living". (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  31. ^ "Chart History: Anthrax". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  32. ^ "Anthrax - I Am the Law". (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 20 June 2020.