Fistful of Metal

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Fistful of Metal
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary, 1984
RecordedLate 1983
StudioPyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, New York
Genre Thrash metal
Label Megaforce (US)
Music for Nations (UK)
Roadrunner (Europe)
Producer Carl Canedy, Jon Zazula
Anthrax chronology
Fistful of Metal
Spreading the Disease
Singles from Fistful of Metal
  1. "Soldiers of Metal"
    Released: November 1983

Fistful of Metal is the debut studio album by American thrash metal band Anthrax, released in January, 1984 by Megaforce Records in the US and Music for Nations internationally. It includes a cover of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen". This is the band's only album to feature original frontman Neil Turbin and original bassist Dan Lilker, who were replaced by Matt Fallon (and eventually by third vocalist Joey Belladonna) and Frank Bello, respectively.



Schoolmates Danny Lilker and Scott Ian formed Anthrax in 1981 in New York City. They both played guitar, but Lilker switched to bass when they could not find a suitable bassist. In 1982, after some lineup rotations, Anthrax added vocalist and fellow schoolmate Neil Turbin. Drummer Charlie Benante and lead guitarist Dan Spitz were added in 1983. [1] Anthrax recorded a five-track demo in early 1983, which led to the band signing with Jon Zazula's Megaforce Records. The label issued a seven-inch single of "Soldiers of Metal / Howling Furies", which sold 3,000 copies in two weeks. [1] Fistful of Metal was recorded in Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, New York and produced by Carl Canedy, drummer in The Rods. The album was released in January 1984 by Megaforce in the US, Music for Nations in the UK, and Roadrunner in Europe. [2]

Shortly after the release of Fistful of Metal, Lilker was fired by Anthrax. In Lilker's own words "After I was thrown out, the guys unfairly said, "Well, it took him 30 times to record the bass track for 'I'm Eighteen,'" and if you listen to the bass track, if you didn't know the whole story, you would say, "Well, that's weird, isn't it?" It's only, like, five notes.". [3] [4] The band, at Ian and Benante's insistence, hired Charlie's nephew, Frank Bello, as Lilker's replacement. Turbin had contributed song ideas, lyrics, titles and arrangements to most songs on the album, as well as three songs from the second album Spreading the Disease , but Ian and Benante, who played guitar in addition to drums, felt they needed tighter control on the songwriting. [5] Due to a songwriting partnership between Ian and Benante, with Ian wanting to be more of a central focal point he began writing the lyrics and Benante the music, Turbin was forced out of the band a few weeks after the Roseland Ballroom show with Metallica. [5] Music journalist Eddie Trunk stated: "Early on, I told Jon Zazula that what I didn't like about Anthrax was singer Neil Turbin's vocals." [6] He admits in his writing to pressuring Zazula and Anthrax into firing Turbin from the band. [6] The band did not rehire Lilker when given the opportunity and instead opted for then Anthrax roadie Frank Bello.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [7]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal 8/10 [8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [10]

Critical reception to Fistful of Metal was mixed. Xavier Russel of Kerrang! called it a great debut album, with songs played "at a hundred miles an hour" which could just have been "slightly more original." [11] Writing in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music , Colin Larkin called the cover art "tasteless", but commended the album's small, but steady commercial performance. [9] AllMusic's Steve Huey said Anthrax has not found its distinctive style yet, sounding more like a Judas Priest cover band. Huey found the lyrics utilizing heavy metal stereotypes and opined fans would find the record "off-putting". [7] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised the well-produced sound and the "almost operatic anti-thrash vocals" from Turbin, considering the album responsible for "putting New York back on the US metal map, and quality back in the books of bruising and uncompromising underground metal." [8] The term thrash metal was used for the first time in the music press by Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome, referring to the song "Metal Thrashing Mad". [12]

Fistful of Metal was released in January 1984. It was released as a double album by Music for Nations in the UK, featuring extra mixes of "Soldiers of Metal" and "Howling Furies", which were not included on the US edition. [13] Megaforce repackaged a compilation of Fistful of Metal and the 1985 extended play Armed and Dangerous in 2005, which featured a different artwork and some liner notes, but excluded any new mixes and bonus tracks. Commemorating its 25th anniversary, Megaforce reissued the album on three colored 10-inch LPs, also including Armed and Dangerous. [14]

Guitar World magazine placed the album on their list of "New Sensations: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1984". [15] In June 2019, Decibel inducted Fistful of Metal in their Hall of Fame, due to its reputation as one of the best early examples of thrash metal. [16]

Track listing

Side one
1."Deathrider" Neil Turbin, Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Dan Lilker, Charlie Benante 3:10
2."Metal Thrashing Mad"Turbin, Spitz, Ian, Lilker, Benante2:39
3."I'm Eighteen" (Alice Cooper cover) Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith 4:02
4."Panic"Turbin, Ian, Lilker3:58
5."Subjugator"Turbin, Spitz, Ian, Lilker, Benante4:38
Side two
6."Soldiers of Metal"Turbin, Ian, Lilker2:55
7."Death from Above"Turbin, Ian, Lilker5:00
8."Anthrax"Turbin, Ian, Lilker3:24
9."Across the River" (instrumental)Ian, Lilker1:26
10."Howling Furies"Ian, Lilker3:55


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes. [2]



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  1. 1 2 Dome, Malcolm (September 22, 2016). "The story behind Anthrax's Fistful Of Metal". Team Rock. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  2. 1 2 Fistful of Metal liner notes. Megaforce Records. 1984.
  3. "Dan Lilker (Brutal Truth, Nuclear Assault, SOD, ex-Anthrax)". November 6, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  4. "Ex-Anthrax Singer Neil Turbin Calls Out Scott Ian for 'Fabricating Lies' in Autobiography". October 10, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Charlie Benante Discusses The Highs And Lows Of One Of Metal's Big Four; Once our original vocalist Neil Turbin was out of the band". 2013-03-01. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  6. 1 2 Trunk, Eddie (30 August 2011). "Anthrax". Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. New York, US: Abrams. p. 240.
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  8. 1 2 Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 23. ISBN   978-1894959315.
  9. 1 2 Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2006. ISBN   978-0-85712-595-8.
  10. Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p.  20. ISBN   0-7432-0169-8.
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  12. Dome, Malcolm (February 23, 1984). "Exciter 'Violence & Force'". Kerrang! . No. 62. p. 8.
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  14. "Anthrax's 'Fistful Of Metal' To Be Reissued As 3-Record Vinyl Release". . March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  16. Tepedelen, Adem. "Anthrax - Fistful of Metal". Decibel . Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  17. Hammer, Malcolm Dome2019-03-12T12:54:44Z Metal. "Why there's way more to Anthrax's Fistful Of Metal than just a terrible sleeve". Metal Hammer Magazine.