The main ingredient of Anthrax's sound is the group's crunchy guitar riffs, courtesy of Scott Ian.
Funny enough, though, it has been drummer Charlie Benante who has penned the lion's share of Anthrax's music, but it's Scott who has been the lyric writer since early on. Born Scott Rosenfeld and raised in Queens, New York, Scott fell under the spell of Kiss early on, resulting in an interest in guitar, and by the early '80s, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, etc.). Looking to form a band in that style, Scott formed Anthrax. Although he would become the only original member to remain in attendance (countless musicians passed through their ranks during the first year or two alone), the group built a large local following amongst metalheads, and along with Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth, helped create the style now known as thrash metal. It was not until well after the release of Anthrax's debut album, 1984's Fistful of Metal, that the group found a somewhat stable lineup who would remain together throughout the early '90s -- singer Joey Belladonna, Scott (who had now changed his last name from Rosenfeld to 'Ian'), lead guitarist Dan Spitz, bassist Frank Bello, and drummer Benante. Anthrax would soon become one of the world's top thrash bands, on the strength of a string of classic metal releases -- 1985's Spreading the Disease, 1987's Among the Living, 1988's State of Euphoria, and 1990's Persistence of Time. Ian and his bandmates also soon became all about breaking down musical barriers previously thought to be 'off-limits' -- first merging metal and hardcore together in Ian's side project, S.O.D. (1985's cult classic Speak English or Die), and combining metal with rap (I'm the Man and a collaboration with Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise") -- two metal subgenre's that would be commonplace by the late '90s. But just as Ian and co. seemed to be ready to take the mainstream head-on, lineup hiccups occurred. Former Armored Saint vocalist John Bush replaced Belladonna for 1993's Sound of White Noise, and shortly thereafter, Spitz exited, as well. While the group's ensuing albums, 1995's Stomp 442, 1998's Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, and 2003's We've Come for You All, failed to match their earlier work's commercial success, Anthrax managed to retain their loyal cult following -- especially as a touring band. Although he still records and tours with Anthrax, Ian found himself the focus of attention for extracurricular activities during this time, including penning another S.O.D. album, 1999's Bigger Than the Devil, hosting the heavy metal TV program Rock Show on VH1, guesting on Tricky's 1998 release, Angels With Dirty Faces, and landing a bit part in the movie Run Ronnie Run. But there has been an 'accomplishment' or two he's undoubtedly not exactly proud of, such as drunkenly breaking into a training facility of the New York Yankee's and being arrested in 1997. Regardless, Ian's contributions to the world of heavy metal remain quite significant. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi