October 22, 2011
Thrash metal is alive and well. A triple pronged assault of Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel obliterated Club Nokia on Saturday night. Searing guitar solos, furious double bass drumming, long haired fans moshing, and a dose of chaos for good measure were reconstituted for a thrashing good time.
Anthrax is touring in support of their latest album Worship Music which features the return of Joey Belladonna on vocals. The ominous tones of "Worship" served as the introduction music for the band as the metal horns were thrusted into mid air by a rabid pack of fans in the mosh pit.
A jackhammer sonic blast of "Earth On Hell" kicked off Anthrax's set which was unrelenting. Scott Ian was banging his head ferociously while peeling off the vicious riff with surgical precision. "Fight 'Em Till You Can't" continued to steamroll the audience as Belladonna's vocals sounded excellent considering a lot of his peers don't quite sound as good as they did thirty years ago.
While it was impressive to see the crowd react so positively to the newer material, they became unhinged when Anthrax went back in time for "Caught In A Mosh". The circle pit spilled into the second tier which is something I have never witnessed at a Club Nokia show. The barrage of older hits continues as they whipped through "Madhouse" and "Antisocial."
Anthrax worked its way back to a double shot of new tracks by blasting out "I'm Alive" and "The Devil You Know." Ian stopped the band midway through "Indians" to tell the crowd that their moshing skills ruled which only stoked the velocity of the pit that much more. Frank Bello smacked the strings of his Fender bass for the bouncing bass line of "Got The Time".
I was skeptical of Belladonna broaching on John Bush's vocals for "Only" but admit he did an admirable job. For the encore, Anthrax came back with a ripping rendition of "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L) and "Metal Thrashing Mad". The crowd had become so incensed that an over eager patron somehow made his way onto stage which resulted in a Lawrence Taylor linebacking tackle by a security guard wh
o unfortunately tackled singer Joey Belladonna in the process.
The show was stopped for a moment as one could tell Belladonna had his bell rung. But as a true Anthrax soldier, Belladonna continued on by finishing up the evening with "I Am The Law." Judging by their performance, it looks like Anthrax will continue to build on their thirty year streak of crushing audiences with a compelling live show.
If they expanded the Big Four to Five, it is possible that Testament would qualify. Fans were just as rabid for Testament as they brutalized the audience with an hour set chock full of soaring solos by Alex Skolnick and the guttural vocals of Chuck Billy. Highlights of their set include "Electric Crown", "Into The Pit" and "DNR."
San Francisco thrashers Death Angel were also greeted warmly as they whipped through a ferocious set that included "Evil Priest", "Retribution" and a twenty second teaser of their ten minute opus "Ultraviolence."
Personal Bias: Anthrax's "I'm The Man" references one of my favorite movies Easy Money starring Rodney Dangerfield.
Crowd: Lots of long hair and black t-shirts emblazoned with a slew of metal bands that existed before the person was probably born.
Random Notebook Dump: This might be the only tour where you will see two lead singers using a half microphone stand.
"Earth On Hell"
"Fight 'Em Till You Can't"
"Caught In A Mosh"
"The Devil You Know"
"Got The Time"
"In The End"
"Metal Thrashing Mad"
"I Am The Law"