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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Decibel Hall of Fame: Anthrax, Among the Living

I have decided to listen to all of the albums that have been inducted into Decibel magazine's "Hall of Fame" in alphabetical order; or at least, most of them, I have yet to decide if I want to tackle a few of the death and black metal ones. I will be working as I listen, but I intend to be blogging as well as time permits.

I've started with Anthrax's Among the Living.

Obviously this is one that I already own. I first purchased this on cassette in 1987 or 1988, perhaps 1989. I'm thinking I was in middle school. I had discovered thrash metal through Megadeth's second album (still no Megadeth albums in the Hall of Fame!) and after purchasing Cream Presents: Thrash Metal Magazine issue number one because it had Dave Mustaine on the cover, I proceeded to read Don Kaye's "20 Greatest Thrash Metal Albums Of All Time" article and became enthralled by many bands including Slayer, Metallica, Overkill, Testament and so forth, and this album was, I believe, among them.

I never liked Joey Belladonna's vocals, but I liked the lyrics, and I loved the music. I still feel the same way about this album today. I have to say that Anthrax's first album with John Bush, Sound of White Noise, is my favorite album by Anthrax. It was the most angry, had the most genuine depth, dropped the gimmicks (and the Stephen King book reports) and Bush's vibe suited them much, much better. However, there's a reason that when the ill-fated "reunion" happened a couple of years ago, it was billed as the "Among the Living lineup." That's because this album shreds. The title track, "Caught in a Mosh," "I Am the Law," "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)," "A Skeleton in the Closet" (Stephen King book report), "Indians" (of course), the entire album is classic thrash with the unmistakable rhythmic crunch written mostly by the DRUMMER and played skillfully by Scott Ian, who wrote a lot of the lyrics. Did Belladonna and Spitz really ever do ANYTHING in this band? HAHA.


Ninja Turtle guitars and all.

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