During the frantic post-9/11 anthrax scare, Anthrax the band issued a statement saying that it was considering changing its name…to Basket Full of Puppies. Which should have been no surprise: The legendary thrash quintet has always been great at tempering social awareness with a morbid sense of humor. Formed in the early '80s in New York City, the group struggled until vocalist Joey Belladonna joined the fold for 1985's Spreading the Disease. Over the next few years, the outfit broke every metal rule by refusing to wear makeup or hot pants, having a lead singer who praised Journey, and covering Joe Jackson. But its biggest experiment proved to be its most influential; with songs like "I'm the Man" and a collaboration with Public Enemy, Anthrax paved the way for thousands of whack-rapping nü-metal acts. But don't hold it against Belladonna and crew: With their formative lineup newly reunited, they're bringing Anthrax classics back to the kids and are even involved in an activist organization that opposes the Army's injection of untested anthrax vaccines into U.S. soldiers. There might be something poetic in there somewhere.
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