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Baker's Dozen

Taking Out The Thrash: Scott Ian Of Anthrax's Top Albums From 1986
JR Moores , March 8th, 2016 10:22

To mark 30 years since 1986, a pivotal moment for metal, Anthrax main man Scott Ian talks JR Moores through his 13 top albums from that year, moving from thrash classics through to landmark hip-hop and pop releases

A lot of bad shit was going down in 1986. The Middle East was plagued by armed conflict. Relations between Russia and the West were ominously strained. North Korea was developing its own nuclear programme. We lived in constant fear of domestic terrorism. Television screens oozed with terrible shows like Catchphrase and Casualty. Duran Duran were touring the world. It's hard to imagine how horrible it was.

In those violent and volatile times, many found solace and release in the ugly sounds of the heavy metal scene, and in 1986 the genre hit a whole new level of fast 'n' nasty brutality. This was the year that Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth all spat milestone records into the cruel world. Anthrax, in fact, were the only one of the "Big Four" who didn't release an album that year, although they were preparing their own landmark opus, Among The Living. Surpassing the groundwork of 1985's Spreading The Disease, Among The Living would be awarded the number three position in Kerrang!'s albums of the year list for 1987 (above Appetite For Destruction and just behind Whitesnake) and has earned its rightful reputation as a bona fide thrash classic.

On the 30th anniversary of that thrash-tastic era, the Quietus asked Anthrax guitarist and lyricist Scott Ian to select his favourite albums, specifically from 1986. His list isn't confined to metal, as anyone who knows anything about Ian's tastes would expect. Hip-hop and hardcore have been instrumental in shaping his musical outlook and his list includes at least one further surprise.

"It was a great time to be 22," says Ian. "I listened to a lot of good music in '86. And you know what, I still listen to all this stuff." So is the spirit of '86 still alive on Anthrax's new record? "Absolutely. You can definitely hear it," he says, citing its title track, 'You Gotta Believe' and 'Zero Tolerance' as examples of that undead '80s attitude. "There's so much of that 22-year-old, or bunch of 22-year-olds, I should say. There's so much of that thrash element alive and well on this record. Maybe more so than we've had in a long time. And I tell you what, especially what I said about Bad Brains, there are a couple of Bad Brains moments on this record. I'm not going to point them out but if you listen to this record, you'll hear them."

Whether you're able to pinpoint its Bad Brains moments or not, Anthrax's eleventh studio album, For All Kings, is a remarkably powerful piece of work. It's packed with impossibly rapid, Gatling gun drum bursts, thundering riffs, virtuoso lead guitar parts that never outstay their welcome and Joey Belladonna's signature soaring singing, backed by, of course, Ian's rowdier roars. Well into their third decade, Anthrax continue to blast out heavy, catchy anthems that sound reassuringly like (current tourmates) Iron Maiden's snotty and punky New York-dwelling younger cousins.

For All Kings is out now on Nuclear Blast. Anthrax continue their tour supporting Iron Maiden at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San José, Costa Rica tonight. They play the Dublin Olympia on June 14 and The Marquee in Cork, 15, before heading to the UK for Bloodstock festival on August 14; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Scott's choices, which run in no particular order